Everything You Need to Know About Golden Hour in Photography

Max Motamedian
3 min readJan 20, 2022

You’ve probably heard of golden hour photography, yet you may not fully understand the concept behind it. Mohsen Motamedian, one of the most talked about Photographer from USA, talks about this magical moment of photography in details.

As per him- When you ask any photographer what time of day creates better light for an image, they nearly always say golden hour!

What is Golden Hour, exactly?

Golden hour is a brief period of time just after dawn and just before sunset when the air is saturated with a beautiful golden color that is ideal for photographing landscapes and portraiture.

Max Motamedian says that due to needing to be filtered for a longer distance via the atmosphere, the sun is lower in the sky during these hours and more diffuse (and redder) than usual. You won’t receive the strong shadows that you see at high noon during golden hour.

Because the sun is low on the horizon, the light is directional, resulting in long, soft shadows that add depth to your images. You may create artistic effects with that soft dimensional light that aren’t feasible at any other time of day.

When does the Golden Hour begin?

The duration of golden hour , as per Mohsen Motamedian export, varies based on where you are, the time of year, and the weather. You can use an online golden hour calculator to figure out the precise time, but the most straightforward option is to look up the sunrise and sunset schedules in your area. Golden hour is around an hour after dawn and an hour before sunset, according to a conventional rule of thumb.

Fortunately, golden hour occurs twice a day every day! Keep in mind that 60 minutes isn’t much. Here Max Motamedian USA suggests some pointers to help you make the most of golden hour shooting:

1. Prepare ahead of time

Because you only have a limited amount of time to shoot, plan ahead of time, arrive early, and set up before golden hour begins. This could mean setting up your camera first thing in the morning in the dark, or starting a shoot in the afternoon before the sun is at its best. You won’t have enough time to visit several different places.

2. Adjust the White Balance

If you have your camera set to Auto White Balance (AWB), it will compensate for all of the lovely warm tones you’ve come to see. If you leave your images on AWB, they may turn out much bluer than you want.

Mohsen Motamedian recommends that even if you’re shooting in RAW, where it’s very easy to adjust white balance in post, it’s a good idea to choose a manual white balance setting so you can get a better idea of what the scene is supposed to look like when reviewing. Setting it to “shade” or “cloudy” for those gorgeous golden hues is a good starting point for beginners.

3. When photographing people, use a wide aperture.

Most people agree that the most flattering natural light for portrait photography is warm, golden hour light. Golden hour’s diffused light gives the skin a soft look, and your subject can face the sun without squinting, bathing them in lovely light.

Mohsen Motamedian USA suggests that to increase that dreamy effect, shoot your subject with a small (shallow) depth of field by using a larger aperture opening of f/5.6 or wider. You’ll create lovely bokeh while keeping the focus on your beautifully-lit subject.

If you’re new to photography, put your camera into Aperture Priority mode. This is a setting that lets you to choose your aperture and the camera will automatically find the ideal shutter speed for you (and ISO if your camera is in Auto ISO mode) (and ISO if your camera is in Auto ISO mode). If you’re unsatisfied with the results but don’t want to change too many things at once, utilise the Exposure Adjustment dial to tweak.



Max Motamedian

Max Motamedian comes as one of the most sought after professional photographers in USA and currently working under the supervision of recognized photographer