No matter what the time of year, I always plan portraits around golden hour. What is golden hour? It’s the hour right after sunrise or the hour leading up to sunset. Because the sun is lower in the sky, faces are more softly lit without harsh shadows. And, the light cast holds more of a warm glow during these times of day.
Weddings are obviously all-day events that can’t just be shot during this magic time. Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to work around the sun directly overhead for flattering photos. BUT, this little blog is about why we should plan your engagement session, couple’s portraits, or a little sneak-away around golden hour. Let’s talk about how to get that bomb lighting.
Looking up your sunrise or sunset time is super quick and easy. Simply type into Google, “sunrise and sunset, your city, the date.”
This is how I determine things like your engagement session time frame or when we should plan some portrait time on wedding day. With engagement sessions, all of my wedding packages include a 2-hour engagement session. So, I plan for the first two hours after sunrise or the last two hours before sunset. This example above would mean a session should run from 6:30-8:30 am or 7-9 pm. I’ll often round off the time so we have a little wiggle room for if the very edge of sunrise or sunset will be too dark to shoot.
With wedding days, it depends on the time of year how we incorporate golden hour into your day. If you have a later golden hour, you can incorporate a “sneak away” during your reception. I usually recommend only doing this as you finish eating dinner before toasts or after the dance floor has been open for a bit. I like to keep these 20 minutes max so you’re back to your guests quickly. Important people to include in this conversation are your wedding planner and dj. While I’m there to take all the pretty pictures of you guys, they’re there to make sure it’s a seamless night!
When the sun sets earlier in the day, a lot of couples will have their ceremony earlier in the day. In this case, you might have a 4:00 – 4:30 ceremony, leaving you the next hour to take all of your family portraits and some couple’s portraits during golden hour.
And that’s it! Utilizing golden hour during your engagement is kind of a no-brainer and including time for these portraits on your wedding day can be an awesome add. Not only do you get pretty, glowy photos, but a little time for just the two of you on your wedding day.