The principle of golden hour – When is the best time in a day to take the best effective photos?

The principle of golden hour

There are many factors which can affect the photo’s quality, however, “Light” is probably the most important one that can influence and govern the performance of the photo. Taking advantage of natural light is the easiest and fastest way to get the best effective photos, especially when you are shooting outdoors because of the difficulty of using artificial light. So, how to make use of the light effectively? What time in a day can the light make the best photos? Let us get used with the term “Golden Hour” and learn how to take advantage of it in this article!

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Define “Golden hour”

Golden hour, often called “Magical hour”, is the term used to mention the first hour of light after the sunrise and the last hour of light before the sunset (the exact time changes over the season, of course). During this period, the sun locates in the lowest position on the sky and has a gentle, more diffused light than that in other period of day, especially comparing to the midday.

This is the type light that is low-contrast and can reduce the risk of loss of the objects’ components in a photo. The warm light in Golden hour gives the scenery a pleasant feeling and illuminates throughout the objects to make highlight the details, the structure and the depth of a photo.

A further advantage of Golden hour is during that period, there is usually few people around than at other times of the day, so it can give you the chance to take photos in a quiet, peaceful space.

What case should you apply the Golden hour?

The principle of “Golden hour” can be used for any kind of outdoor photography. Obviously, there are many kind of objects suitable for this case, such as landscapes, outdoor portraits, flowers, trees, city scenes and even things in life, such as house, vehicle…

Some experts in photography comply with this principle so rigidly that they reject to capture outdoors during other times of a day. You do not have to rigorously follow like them, but also do not forget that those who are called professional photographers always have their reason which is often worth.

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Calculate Golden hour

The best way to figure out 2 “golden hour” period of the day is to use the app called Golden hour calculator (you can get access to here). This app defines the Golden hour a bit more complicated than what we are discussing here, however, it is a precise tool.

Furthermore, if you prefer to work independently, you should learn how to know the time of the sunrise and the sunset, and the simplest way is to take advantage of the sunrise and sunset calculator online.

Next, you can do some simple calculations – the first Golden hour of a day will start right before the sunrise and last about an hour later. The second Golden hour will begin about an hour before the sunset and end immediately then.

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