If you are already a professional or still a novice photographer, the twilight hour (aka ‘golden hour’) is the best time of the day to take a photo or video. The reason this can be achieved is through the beauty of the nature which is through sunset or sunrise which is the prime time for natural light. It is excellent lighting for any subject most especially for portraits and landscapes.

When it comes to taking videos or photos at different times of the day, the twilight hour stands out as the sun provides a subtle golden light from the low-hanging sunset and a warm glow during sunrise. Golden hours also produce shadows that are dramatic but not harsh that can affect the images.

Just like any other photography style, the twilight hour has tips and tricks for you to achieve and take full advantage in the beauty it can bring in your photos. It is considered one of the easiest lights to go with but can still produce poor videos and images. It is important that we know how to apply the techniques in order to achieve the best photo.

When can you see the Twilight Hour?

The Twilight hour can be seen depending on the area where you are and what time of the day it is. The easiest way to determine the twilight hour is to check for the local sunrise and sunset. As a general rule of thumb it should be an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset.

What Are the Tips to Achieve Maximized Twilight Hour?

There are several ways to achieve a twilight hour and to truly enjoy its benefits in photography. Here are some of the techniques in order to achieve the beauty of golden hour photography.

Be On-Time: If you want to capture good images at the twilight hour, you need to be at the place where you can capture it. It is essential for every photographer to know what the exact time when the magic light happens is. The sunrise and sunset are the ones that provide the ultimate guide for you to capture this time.

Early Preparation: It is essential that we know if twilight hour will last only for a few minutes. This will serve as a hint that immediate preparation is needed for the photo shoot so as not hurry when things don’t go well as plan. Go out a couple of hours earlier so you’ll have time for your trip going to the location, get set up and ready to take a photo by the time it starts.

Choose the Right Setting with the Aperture: Aperture refers to the opening of the lens diaphragm through which the light passes.  This must be appropriately used since in golden hours there will be a lot of light to deal with. Properly setting the aperture will allow you to pick the shutter speed for you automatically. Another tip to follow is that not to let the aperture open for too long as doing so, will turn out blurry.

Be Mindful of Shadows: Twilight Hour is well-known for the long and dramatic shadows that it can produce. It is essential to pay attention to the shadows; although they appear beautiful sometimes they can be distracting and can interfere with your shot. It is also good to take a look at your images carefully so that you will have an idea of what your photos will look like.

Get to Know Your Location: Check out your location for both sunrise and sunset. The only way to do this is by actually knowing how it looks like during twilight hours.

Make Use of the Sun: In taking photos for twilight hours, there are two things that we should remember: pointing the camera towards the sun and pointing the camera away from the sun. Experiment with the sun’s ray and use it as a rim light behind your subject. You can also create dramatic effects with the sun’s light using reflectors or bounce card to make the images more dramatic.

Backlight your Subject: Backlighting means that you need to place the light behind your subject, but to do this, you need to set the proper exposure to highlight your subject. In backlighting set positioning so that the sun is directly behind the subject, illuminating their outline. The more that you use the backlight, it will let you stream directly into your lens. This will not make a desirable result immediately, but it can create a bit of magic in your shots.

How to Use Twilight Creatively

In a golden hour there are some techniques that we can make use of the sunlight creatively. Here are some of the best lighting positions that we should be aware of.

Side Lighting: Side lighting is applied when one side of the subject is exposed or hit by the sunlight. It can be creatively used to make dramatic images that were well-defined with texture and depth. Since the light is soft, the shadows that define these textures are good for the eyes thus producing great light

Backlighting: Backlit images are best created during golden hours. This is because the light falling from behind lets the photographer create artistic images. Similar to a silhouette, back lighting involves having the rising or setting sun behind the subject.

Rim Lighting: This is where you have the sun right behind the subject positioned in a way that it creates a halo around your subject. The clear areas of the subject are illuminated with a golden glow whereas the opaque regions appear darker. When doing photography in portraits using rim lighting, you get a golden glow on the hair and translucent areas of the clothing.

Final Thoughts

Twilight hour is the time for beautiful sunrise and sunsets. It takes a lot of patience because one of the things that need to be done is to arrive early at the location to make the most of the golden hour. This is because the sun may quickly disappear down the horizon. It is essential to shoot many photos as you can as the colors and the scene might change each minute with the movement of the sun.  Whether you are taking shots with a small and portable sports action camera, or a new $3000 DSLR or mirror less camera, you can be sure that this magical time of day can provide opportunity for genuinely transformative video and images.