GOLDEN HOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
SOFT,WARM DIFFUSED LIGHT
Golden hour holds a special place in my heart as a photographer. I have a deep appreciation for capturing moments during this enchanting yet fleeting time. Naturally drawn to shooting backlit, I almost always position the light behind my subjects because I find it produces the most flattering results. Capturing moments during the golden hour elevates this lighting preference to a whole new level. So, let’s explore the allure of golden hour together! What defines it? And can you harness its magic?
WHAT IS GOLDEN HOUR?
Golden hour is a specific time of day that occurs shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the sun is low in the sky and the light is soft, warm, and diffused.
The unique quality of light during golden hour creates a warm, gentle, and flattering light that enhances the colours of the surroundings. Shadows are longer and softer, and the overall atmosphere is characterized by a golden or rosy hue.
This time of day is particularly favoured by photographers for its ability to add a magical and romantic touch to images and scenes, making it an ideal period for capturing stunning golden hour wedding photography portraits.
IS GOLDEN HOUR ONE HOUR?
Golden hour is quite brief actually and for photography purposes, there is probably a window of about 30 minutes where the light is just magical for portraits. Before that, the light can be too high, too harsh and too hazy, and if you wait too long, the light fades very quickly and you lose it all together.
This photo on the right (below on mobile), the light is a little hazy as we were pressed for time to get the portraits done before speeches, so we took the best window we had. I still absolutely love this photograph, but had I waited a little longer, the light would have been lower and ‘softer’.
WILL WE GET A GOLDEN HOUR?
This depends on two things. Weather and Location play a vital role in whether you will get golden hour wedding photos.
The best opportunity for golden hour involves having a sunset to begin with. The sky should be clear with no clouds that will cover the sun as it is setting. A cloudy day will often prevent golden hour.
Location effects golden hour. A wedding venue that has tall buildings surrounding it or tall, dense tress will obstruct the sun as it is setting. Ideally, you need a clear view of horizon. Having said that however, the photo on the left (above on mobile) was taken in a more urban setting but I managed to find a little gap between the buildings where the gorgeous golden rays of the sun were poking through.
CAN WE PLAN FOR IT?
Yes, if you love golden hour photos, and your venue is one that lends itself to these gorgeous portraits, then working them into your timeline and chatting to your photographer beforehand, is a good idea.
If you are having a summer wedding then golden hour will be much later and could be anywhere between 7:30 – 8:30 pm depending on the month. This may be during your speeches or your dessert or even your first dance. If you think the weather conditions are right for it, and it may happen, then have a chat to your photographer and try and find a gap where you can take off for 15 minutes.
In Winter, golden hour happens much earlier, possibly around 4pm. This may be just as you are sitting down for your meal or about to have speeches, so plan ahead and chat to your photographer (and venue) if you are hoping for a window to capture photos during this this magical time.
DO ONLY SUMMER WEDDINGS HAVE GOLDEN HOUR?
No, a Winter wedding can be blessed with the most incredible breath taking golden hour. These photos on the left are from a Winter wedding…pure magic :) The juxtaposition of the white frost covering the ground against the backdrop of the warm, golden light is something I truly love.