The name Golden Hour is a little misleading as it refers to the time right after sunrise and right before sunset when the light is softer and redder than at any other point during the day. The term hour is figurative because the timing depends on where you are in the world as well as the season. For example, in the summertime (eastern hemisphere) the golden hour is around 8 pm to 9 pm.
How does this relate to photography? It's the best time of day for photography. The lighting is perfect if you're going to shoot landscape, portraits, or nature photography.
Golden light is soft, it will allow you to have your subject facing the light without them squinting and the light will be flattering on their face.
The color temperature of golden light is warmer than regular sunlight bringing out the red/gold colors more. This is what gives the photos that warm glow. Golden light is also diffused, the sun is on the horizon because of this the atmosphere acts as a diffuser. The diffuser creates so much soft light that it is easier to get a good exposure. The light is also directional it creates long shadows. You can also create texture and details with the golden light.
A want to start this post off by apologizing for being away for a few weeks, as the fall event season gets underway my blog update may not be as constant as I would like them to be due to busy nature of my work.
Now for the good stuff, to fully understand how your camera works you have to understand shutter speed. The simple definition of shutter speed is how long the shutter is open but there is so much more to it than that. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second to be more accurate. When annotating shutter speed, it is written as a fraction for example 1/60sec. is one sixtieth of a second. You can have a shutter speed of 1sec. or slower but generally you will be working with faster shutter speeds. The farther away from one second you go the faster the shutter speed for example 1/60sec. is slower than 1/125 sec.
There are three basic principles of photography, one of which we talked about a few weeks ago. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed are often called the holy trinity of photography because they control almost everything needed for the composure of your image. I already talked about how aperture affects depth of field and the focus area of a photo. Today I will teach you about ISO and later we will go over shutter speed.
ISO is how sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is. It originally meant how sensitive film was to light, when digital cameras came around the principle was applied to the sensors in them. Smaller numbers (ISO) have a lower light sensitivity as where higher numbers have a greater light sensitivity. ISO affects how exposed your picture will be and it works in conjunction with shutter speed and aperture to do this. If you want to use a small aperture and fast shutter speed changing the ISO will allow you to get a proper exposure. A lower ISO level gives you a darker image due to the sensor being less sensitive to light. A higher ISO level gives you a lighter image due to the sensor being more sensitive to light. So say you're shooting at a concert and you're using f1.8 and a shutter speed of 1/200sec then the only way to make sure you get a good exposure is to use higher ISO levels 1600 or higher.
The rule of thirds is one the basic photography rules every photographer should know. The rule of thirds is a composition rule that helps to make an image more pleasing to the eye. The idea is that you want your subject in either the right or left thirds of the image.
To illustrate let's divide an image up with 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines. Your subject should be positioned along where the lines meet. Look at the photo below, notice how the person in the photo is lined up with the intersecting lines. He is off center, this is done to make the photo look natural. It looks natural because the 4 points where the lines intersect are the strongest focal points of an image. You want the viewer to focus on the most important part of the photo, using the rule of thirds helps you to do that.
Having the right aperture is very important in capturing that perfect shot. Aperture can make or break a photo depending on what you're trying to achieve. Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about here's a quick refresher on what aperture is:
Aperture refers to how open the hole in your camera lens is. Think of your lens like an eye, the aperture can be thought of as the pupil. As the aperture wheel (the part of the camera that sets the aperture) is turned the aperture (or pupil) gets bigger or smaller. The smaller apertures allow a lot of light to gets into the lens, the larger apertures allow less light into the lens. The larger the opening the smaller the aperture on the scale and vise versa the smaller the opening the larger the aperture. The diagram bulleted points explain this principle further:
*f-stop or f is is the ratio of how open the lens is, it refers to relative aperture to lens size. An f/1.8 means the aperture is completely open, because it's smallest f-stop on this lens (the one pictured) and the hole is largest here.
*When trying to show a range of f-stops we write them like this f1.8:4 that lets you know the smallest is f/1.8 and largest is f/4
*These are just commonly used f-stops there are more in between for example you could take a photo at a f/2.
Ashley is a Virginia based photographer living her dreams of shooting concerts & interesting people. When she's not shooting or writing for the blog you can find her curled up with a good book and a latte (coffee keeps her going).