One of my favorite aspects of photography is the challenge of capturing light throughout different times of the day.
My absolute favorite light is outdoor light. It’s the real deal. Whether it be backlit leaves and woods, or light touching someone’s skin, the application and touch of light in different ways is beautiful and fascinating. My favorite time of day to shoot is during golden hour. Golden Hour is known as the first hour of the sun coming up and the last hour of the sun going down.
I have pulled together a few thoughts and starting points if you would ever like to shoot during this time.
1. Get There and Be Prepared.
If you need to walk or drive to your destination, make sure you’ve arrived in enough time to get there to begin shooting. Maximizing the time to shoot the full first or last hour of daylight will be to your advantage. The light changes drastically, and if shooting manually, you will want to allow the time it takes to adjust to the light to document the light as it changes. You may want to double check and find out when the sun sets in the exact location that you’re going, and get there half an hour prior to shoot.
2. Adjust Exposure
Make sure that your shutter speed and aperture are properly set, to keep up with the changes in light as they happen. You may want to begin by setting the aperture around F8 - F22A, and setting the ISO at around 100 - 200. Experiment, adjust settings accordingly, and have fun!
3. Use Light In Different Ways
Depending on what you’re shooting, you can do a lot of different things with the light itself to create compelling images. If shooting a natural scene, the choices will be relatively straight forward, as you may only have a directly clear shot with the sun in front of you or behind you. When shooting people, you can use the light to interact with your subject in different ways. You can place the subject in front of the light, creating a halo or outline around the subject. You may place the subject in a position where the light is in front of them, illuminating the front of their figure and/or face.
A few other ideas to keep in mind are to bring a tripod, possibly using a flash for fill-lighting, and slowing down your shutter speed. You may notice some tonal changes in your images, which can be fixed in post-processing.
Shooting in RAW will also give you the capability of doing spot-edits in lightroom, if part of your image ends up being more well-adjusted than another area of your image.
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