10 Tips & Tricks for Capturing the Magic Hour
By Severin - 7 min read
The magic hour creates soft and warm light, which can turn practically anything into a beautiful photograph.
The magic hour (also known as golden hour) describes the first and last hour of sunlight during the day. It makes the light soft and warm and can turn practically anything into a beautiful photograph without using any filter. We’ve put together 10 handy tips & tricks to get you started.
Now here we go:
1. Work those silhouettes
The fading sun is perfect for creating silhouettes of people, objects and landmarks. Face the sun, look for a nice colorful backdrop (sometimes keeping the sun just out of the frame) and then try to incorporate interesting silhouettes into the foreground, which adds a graphic element to the image.
2. Expose for highlights
Make sure to expose for highlights during golden hour as the directional light can sometimes make it difficult to retain the bright areas. This can be done with EyeEm by touch-exposing for the lightest/brightest part of the photograph.
3. Use your sunglasses to make your own neutral density filter
A ND filter is a filter you put in front of your lens to reduce the intensity of wavelengths and colors, thereby giving you more flexibility in very bright light settings. Just hold your sunglasses (best with Polaroid lenses) in front of your lens and you’ll capture the natural colors much better against the sunlight.
4. Shoot with the sun, not against it
If you’re not facing directly towards the sun, look for subjects that are standing “in the spotlight” of this rich warm light. You’ll get beautiful warm shots that don’t need any more filters to look awesome.
5. Play with shadows
The last hour of sunlight during the day gives you the longest shadows you can possibly think of. Look out for them and play around with interesting compositions.
6. Dare to shoot black & white
A sunset is a thing of beauty and color but don’t be afraid to turn it black & white for a dramatic effect. Use the kCe filter to push the tones even more or go all classy with the Gundlach filter.
7. Use clouds for dramatic effects
Watch for interesting clouds when the sun is setting. These will add a dramatic, often multicoloured backdrop to your golden hour photos.
8. Shoot people in the scenery
The magic hour is a particularly good time to shoot people in context of the scenery. The last moments of the sweetest light tends to come along with people shedding their day jobs and shifting into their true selves. It’s great for travel imagery.
Keep your colors rich and silhouettes black by stepping down your exposure by 1 or 2 stops. This is great for landscapes and big sceneries. Use ProCamera or Camera+ to control your exposure and try out the Golden Hour App (for Android & iOS) to calculate the best sunlight for your shoots.
10. Play with sun flares
Since the sun is near to the horizon it is easy to play around with sun flares. You can position the sun between 2 striking objects, behind leafs or branches, a person or even at the edge of your camera.
Got any other tips for capturing that magic light?Let us know in the comments below!