What is Golden Hour anyway?

I recently took a poll on my Instagram (@bettyboyce_photo) stories for some fresh new blog ideas. I really want to start sharing more information for soon-to-be brides and couples. Instantly, a suggestions came through with “what is golden hour?” … ohhhh I got excited just seeing the phrase GOLDEN HOUR … like, let me wipe that drool off my computer keyboard.

But seriously, this brings up a very great question and one I feel I can really answer because the technical answer is super short and easy, from Wikepedia:

In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky. The opposite period during twilight is blue hour, just before sunrise or after sunset, when indirect sunlight is evenly diffused.

So let me just ask, have you ever been driving down the road before sunset when everything is just covered in the warm color of the sun? Everything a beautiful golden color and you just have to pull over and stare? no? just me!?!

But why is it so important for pictures? Well, it’s not technically “important”, but it does add an extra flair in my opinion and it is one of my favorite times of the day to shoot. Let’s visually compare some photos!

Here are some photos taken NOT at golden hour:

These are beautiful images in a beautiful location. Notice the colors and tones. This portion of the session was right before Golden Hour and then we did an outfit change and changed the direction were were facing and moved spots (same general location at Government Cove in the Columbia River Gorge).

And now … the Golden Hour Photos!

I am using my same editing flow for both of these sets, it literally is the magic of the sun coming down and warming everything up!

I have a nifty app on my phone called “Lumy”. The app allows me to plan your session around golden hour (assuming you love it as much as I do and it works for your schedule). I can go to the calendar for the date we are looking at for your wedding or session and it will give me a breakdown of the morning and evening golden hours. Ta-Da!


Below are some additional shots at golden hour from others sessions. You will notice it can look slightly or dramatically different per location. It an also look different with less sun but it still comes comes through … like MAGIC!

I hope this helps you understand what all the fuss is about and if you are now cleaning the drool off YOUR screen, it’s probably time to contact me your your golden hour shoot! haha … enjoy, and thank you so much for readying and following!