What is the Golden Hour, and Why Should You Care?

© Nicole Bradshaw Photography 2017; What is the Golden Hour, and Why Should You Care?; Flagstaff Wedding Photographer, Albuquerque Wedding Photographer, Pagosa Springs Wedding Photographer, Durango Wedding Photographer, Farmington Wedding Photographer

Even before I knew that this special time of day had a specific name, it was my favorite part of the day. Simply put, the Golden Hour is the 30 minutes before sunset and the 30 minutes right after sunset each day.  This is the time of day when the sun is at an angle to the spot you are at on the Earth. Specifically in New Mexico, it's the time of day when we get all those pretty skies and colors. You know- the pinks and purples and blues that have made our sunsets famous. 

So, why is this important? It's important in photography because it's the time of day when we photographers have the best light outside. It's light that's flattering to just about every skin tone. It's soft light, so that harsh shadows aren't falling all around the people in your photos. It's also directional light, giving us photographers something to play with to create different looks for your photos. And, it's usually the time of day when people are the most relaxed and happy, which helps generate more natural smiles and reactions in photos. 

Why should you care about this? Simple. You want the best photos possible, and scheduling your photo session or a specific part of your wedding (either the ceremony or your couples photos) during this magical Golden Hour will help to create the best photos possible. And here's the thing: Photographers get excited when you specifically ask us to photograph you during this time of day! We absolutely love it- or at least I do.

There's one catch though (I know, there HAD to be a catch, right?!): Golden Hour changes on a daily basis because of how the Earth rotates around the sun. Generally speaking, in Winter the Golden Hour goes from about 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and in Summer from 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. (at least in New Mexico), and anywhere in between during Spring and Fall. All this means though, is that you have to ask your photographer when the Golden Hour is during the time of year you're planning to schedule your photo session or wedding, and for all of my clients, I have an app for that! So, let's get your wedding or photo session scheduled!