The Golden Hour and Why I Love It


One of the first questions I ask my newly-booked wedding clients is if they know when sunset is gonna happen on their wedding day. This is usually followed by some blank stares - why, with everything else they need to plan for, do they now need to worry about sunset?

sunset wedding portrait during golden hour

So, I figured I’d share my reasoning for this in one place. Not only is it good to keep in mind when the sun goes down for planning your daytime activities, but it also brings the most beautiful time of day for taking pictures - the Golden Hour.

You’ve likely heard this term before, but let me take a sec to explain it here. The Golden Hour happens the hour to 45 minutes before the sun sets, and because the light is so low in the sky, not only does it have a thicker barrier of atmosphere to get through, but because it rakes across the sky, it throws a very beautiful, soft light. This is pretty much the opposite of what you see at high noon, when the light is bearing down on you. It’s also becomes much more red, which is why the colors you get are so warm and inviting. Basically, this is the only time of day where you’re going to get such wonderful light for taking pictures.

wedding frisbee game during the golden hour
bride golden hour portrait

Personally, I also believe there is something else going on at this time of day that’s a little less tangible. As the sun gets low on the horizon, it can go from bright sunshine to dusk in an instant. If you find yourself in a moment where you can stop and notice it before it’s gone, something magical happens. You pause, reflect on how the day will eventually come to an end, and appreciate where you are. There really is no other time of day for me that literally stops me in my tracks quite like this. Being in that state of mind, I find stopping to take a picture not only captures the quality of light, but the quality of people in that moment who are in that state of mind.

couples portrait by the lake after the wedding

So next time you happen to find yourself at this time of day, or life, or moment, take a beat. See where you are, where you’re going. I bet what you find out about yourself will be pretty great.

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