ANGELA LALLY

digital + film photographer located in Austin, TX

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Why Golden Hour Is the Best Time of Day for Portraits

Helpful Hints for Clients

Feb 3, 2016

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Spring is a favorite time of year for portraits and, in case you missed Groundhog Day, we’re supposed to have an early one! There is always an increase in senior and engagement portrait session during this season, so I wanted to take a little time to explain why I ALWAYS schedule these sessions during the best time of day: Golden Hour!

Golden Hour (also known as Magic Hour) occurs both during the first hour of daylight after sunrise, and the last hour of daylight before sunset. This softer, more diffused light means less contrast in the images (super bright highlights and dark, harsh shadows), which leads to just overall prettier images! (Trust me. I’ll show you some examples here in a second!)

The angle of the sunlight also helps to show more detail in images by creating longer shadows and adding texture and depth. Bright sun coming from higher angles can cause unflattering lines and shadows – and it brings out the squinty eyes! (And we all know that no one likes squinty-eyed photos.) This lower angle of the sun makes backlighting and rim lighting (my absolute favorite) possible. Think warm, glowy backgrounds and soft sunlight coming around the edges of your hair!

Another advantage of having your portrait session during Golden Hour is that the lighting during this time of day changes VERY quickly! This means that over the course of your portrait session, you’ll be photographed in different types of light which will result in a larger variety of the look and feel of your final images simply from these changes in the light.

It is worth waking up super early or adjusting school/work schedules to take advantage of this beautiful time of day! Remember: photos last forever. 🙂

Here are some examples from a few recent portrait sessions! I included a variety of images taken throughout each session so you can get a feel for the difference in light I was talking about as well. Enjoy!

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Spring portrait dates are filling up fast! If you’re interested in booking a session (especially you 2016 Seniors!) you can contact me here.

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