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What time is the golden hour in photography?

Photography is all about capturing the perfect moment, and lighting plays a crucial role in achieving that. One of the best times to capture stunning and dramatic photos is during the golden hour. But what exactly is the golden hour and when does it occur?

In this blog post, we will delve into the details of the golden hour in photography and explore why it has become a sought-after time for photographers.

What is the Golden Hour?

The golden hour, also known as the magic hour, refers to the period of time when the sun is just above the horizon, either in the morning or evening. During this time, the sunlight has a warm and golden hue, which provides an ideal lighting environment for photography.

When does the Golden Hour Occur?

The golden hour is not a fixed time of the day and can vary depending on the geographical location and time of year. In general, the golden hour occurs one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.

However, this time frame can fluctuate based on various factors like the season, weather conditions, and the observer’s location. In the summer months, the golden hour can occur later in the evening, while in the winter months, it may occur earlier in the morning.

Why is the Golden Hour Important in Photography?

The golden hour provides photographers with a unique lighting situation that can not be replicated during any other time of the day. During this time, the directional light is much more diffused and softer, which creates a warm and natural glow in photos.

The soft and warm lighting during the golden hour enhances the color and texture of the subjects, making them appear more vibrant and alive. This lighting also creates long and dramatic shadows, which photographers can use to add a sense of depth and dimension to their images.

Another advantage of this time is that the light is much more forgiving, making it easier to capture complex images without overexposing or underexposing them.

How to Take Advantage of the Golden Hour

If you are a photographer, you can use the golden hour to capture stunning photos that are sure to impress your audience. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of this time:

1. Plan ahead: Since the golden hour is not a fixed time, it’s essential to plan your shoot in advance. Research the local sunrise and sunset times and ensure that you arrive early to set up your equipment.

2. Be ready with your gear: Ensure that you have all the necessary equipment ready, including your camera, a tripod, and any filters you might need.

3. Experiment with different angles: Capturing the golden hour can provide you with a range of opportunities to experiment with different angles and compositions.

4. Use the environment: Utilize the environment to your advantage. Use the long shadows created by the directional light to add depth and dimension to your images.

5. Experiment with exposure: Since the light is much softer during the golden hour, you can experiment with longer exposure times, which can create dramatic and stunning images.


The golden hour is a magical time of day that provides photographers with an opportunity to take stunning and dramatic photos. Its warm and diffused lighting enhances the colors and texture of subjects and creates a natural glow in images.

With a bit of planning and creativity, you can use the golden hour to capture images that leave a lasting impression on your viewers. So, the next time you plan a photo shoot, make sure to take advantage of this incredible lighting situation that nature provides.


How many minutes before sunset is golden hour?

The golden hour is a term used in photography to refer to a period of time where the sun is low on the horizon and the light is soft, warm, and diffused. During this time, the light is perfect for photography and can help create stunning images.

The golden hour generally starts roughly one hour before sunset and lasts for about one hour. This means that the exact length of the golden hour can vary depending on the time of year, location, and weather conditions. In some cases, the golden hour may be shorter or longer than an hour, but it typically occurs around the same time of day.

To determine the exact minutes before sunset that the golden hour occurs, you can use a variety of tools such as a sun calculator or an app that can help predict the timing of sunset. However, it’s important to remember that the golden hour can be influenced by factors such as cloud cover, pollution, and atmospheric conditions, which can impact the amount and quality of light available during this time.

In general, if you want to capture the beautiful golden hour light in your photography, it’s recommended to start shooting about an hour before sunset and continue to do so until the light starts to fade. This will give you plenty of time to experiment with different lighting techniques, camera settings, and compositions, and help you create stunning images that capture the magic of the golden hour.

What is the difference between golden hour and magic hour?

Golden hour and magic hour are two terms that are often used in photography and cinematography to describe a particular time of day when the lighting conditions are optimal for capturing stunning visuals. Both of them refer to a period of time when the light is softer, warmer, and more flattering, but there is a difference between these two terms.

The golden hour is a term that describes the period of time shortly after sunrise or before sunset. During this time, the sun is near the horizon, which creates a soft, warm, and directional light that is perfect for capturing stunning photographs or videos. The light that is produced during the golden hour has a distinct golden hue, which is where the term comes from.

On the other hand, magic hour takes place after sunset or before sunrise and is a period of time where the sky has a deep blue color. This time of day is also known as blue hour. During the magic hour, the light is soft, moody and creates a dreamy atmosphere to the surroundings where it affects. The light is produced during this time as a result of the scattering of the sunlight through the atmosphere.

Another difference between these two terms is the duration. The golden hour lasts roughly an hour, while the magic hour is relatively shorter and lasts just a few minutes.

While the golden hour and magic hour have some similarities like the soft and flattering lighting conditions they produce, they refer to different times of day, with the golden hour taking place shortly after sunrise or before sunset, and magic hour taking place after sunset or before sunrise. Understanding these differences is vital for any photographer or filmmaker who wants to utilize the lighting conditions for their advantage.

How often is golden hour?

The golden hour is a term used to describe the period of time just after sunrise and just before sunset, during which the sun’s rays have a distinctive, warm glow. This happens because the sun is low on the horizon, which allows its light to pass through a relatively larger part of the earth’s atmosphere before hitting the ground. The atmosphere scatters shorter wavelengths of light, such as blues and greens, leaving behind longer wavelengths of light, like reds and oranges.

Technically speaking, the golden hour occurs twice each day – once in the morning after sunrise, and again in the evening just before sunset, each lasting approximately an hour, hence the name “golden hour”. However, the exact length of the golden hour can vary depending on the time of year and your location.

In general, the golden hour lasts longer at lower latitudes (i.e., closer to the equator) compared to higher latitudes (i.e., farther away from the equator) because the sun rises more vertically at lower latitudes. This means the sun takes longer to move through the angle when compared with higher latitudes.

While the golden hour technically lasts for approximately an hour each day, its exact duration and the intensity of its golden light can vary depending on a variety of factors like the time of year, your location and the weather conditions. The golden hour provides a unique and beautiful quality of light that photographers often take advantage of to create stunning images with soft, warm tones. So, if you want to capture a stunning photograph in the golden light, make sure to track the time of sunrise and sunset where you are and be ready to capture the moment just as the sun peaks over the horizon.

Is 4pm a good time to take photos?

The answer to this question depends on the type of photos you want to take, the weather conditions, and the intended outcome of your photos. Generally speaking, the best time of day to take portrait photos is in the couple hours after sunrise and the couple hours before sunset, which is known as the “golden hour”. During the golden hour, the sun is low in the sky, providing soft, warm light that is flattering to the subject.

However, if you’re not able to take photos during the golden hour, 4pm can still be a good time to take photos depending on the weather conditions and the subject. If it’s a cloudy day, the lighting will be diffused and even, which can be great for capturing details in photos. On the other hand, if it’s a sunny day, the harsh direct sunlight can create unflattering shadows and make it difficult to capture details in both highlights and shadows.

It’s also important to consider the subject of your photos. If you’re taking photos of landscapes, 4pm can be a good time because the light is still warm and the shadows are longer, providing depth and dimension to the scene. However, if you’re taking photos of people, the shadows can be particularly unflattering for facial features. Shooting on a cloudy day or in a shaded area around 4pm can provide softer light and avoid harsh shadows.

While the golden hour is typically the best time of day to take portrait photos, 4pm can still be a good time to take photos if the weather conditions and subject are taken into consideration. One should always think about the light, the type of subject you are photographing and decide on the time that suits the best.