Chasing the Golden Hour: What Every Outdoor Family Photographer should know

Family Photography Sydney

All outdoor family photographers will agree that the best time of day takes photos is during golden hour. There is just simply nothing quite like the magic of the golden hour. There are many reasons why golden hour is the best time of day. Keep reading to find out why you should always aim to capture family photos during this beautiful time of day.

Definition of Golden Hour

Golden hour is the time just before sunset or just after sunrise when the light is soft and warm. It casts a beautiful glow on everything it touches, almost like a halo. It only lasts for a short period of time each day, which is part of what makes it so special. Golden hour is often associated with the most calm, quiet, and peaceful times of the day. When photographing hundreds of Sydney families over a golden hour in the past 10 years I have noticed how still the world is during this time of day.

The Importance of Golden Hour in Family Photography Sydney

The light during golden hour is simply breathtaking. It creates a warm, inviting atmosphere that perfectly complements the love and connection within a family. During golden hour the sun is low in the sky which creates a beautiful and natural-looking glow on each subject. It transforms photos from being average to incredible and breathtaking. This is why every family photographer should know that golden hour is the perfect time for outdoor family photography.

amily Photography Sydney

It is the most flattering light

Another reason it is so spectacular is because it is the most flattering natural light. If you shoot in the middle of the day in the harsh sun the family will have harsh shadows under their eyes and on their faces. However, during the golden hour it will bring out the best in everyone.  Their skin will look smooth and radiant and their eyes bright and sparkling. The hair will light up with a golden halo against the skyline. If you are really careful you will even be able to capture some stunning natural lens flares when shooting into the sun to enhance the overall look and feel of your photos.

The Magic of Golden Hour Light

One of the things that makes outdoor family photography unique and special is the natural beauty of the environment and chosen setting of the location. Whether it’s a park, beach, waterfall or mountain trail, there is something truly magical about being surrounded by nature during the most peaceful time of day. The warm, golden light illuminates everything it touches, making it the perfect time to capture the unique landscapes and natural beauty of each location. 

Understand where the sun is at the Location you choose

It is important for photographers to have scouted out their location at the same time of day in the same season that they are shooting. Understanding where the sun will be in the sky and how that will affect your photos is really important to know before the photoshoot. Family photoshoots are often very fast-paced especially when young children are involved, and you won't have time to try out the different angles during the shoot. The direction of the sun and intensity of the golden hour will differ from season to season so be prepared to adjust your camera setting and angles depending on the time of year you are shooting.

Preserving Memories for Years to Come

beach family photos Sydney

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons of why golden hour is best for outdoor family photography Sydney is because of the memories that will be created. When you book in a family photoshoot, you want to make sure that you are going to love the experience from start to finish, including the photoshoot itself. Every family will want to remember the love and happiness they shared during these moments at the photoshoot and golden hour provides the perfect opportunity to relax everyone and set the mood. It sets the tone for a happy and loved up magical shoot so that you can preserve these memories for years to come.

Love and Happiness Shared

Whether it’s snuggling up together on a blanket, throwing your children up into the bright sky or chasing them along the warm beach, the warm light of golden hour creates the perfect backdrop to capture these special moments. You will never forget the laughter and smiles that were shared that day.

Choosing the Right Location and Timing

Of course, outdoor family photography at golden hour also requires a great deal of technical skill and creativity. From choosing the right location and timing to adjusting camera settings on the fly. The light is forever changing and you will need to think on your feet and know your way around your camera to keep up with how quickly it changes at this time of day. You will also need to understand how to pose families. For example, do you want the sun behind them or to the side of them? Will you pose them straight into the golden light. As the sun drops in the sky any or all of these positions might be your favourite.

Practice to Learn How to Backlight Your Subject Correctly

Backlighting your subject with the sun requires a lot of skill so that they are not too dark, or maybe you want a silhouette look. As a photographer, let your creativity guide you and we are gifted with the ability to turn a seemingly ordinary moment into a meaningful work of art.

In conclusion, outdoor family photography at sunset and golden hour is truly spectacular. If you want your photos to stand out from the crowd and to be magic, then this is the best time of day to shoot. From the breath taking light to the natural beauty of nature at this time of day, it really is the perfect time of day.

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