Growing up I remember the BIG TRICK to taking great pictures was to stand with the sun behind you, and make sure your subject is looking straight into the light. I remember having to keep our eyes closed while the photographer/family member counted down to take the picture and then we'd all open our eyes - with tears running down our cheeks and squinty squinty faces!
So, let me let you in on a little secret. This big trick is not a trick at all! It's the complete opposite of what you should be doing to take a great photograph. No one takes great pictures staring into the sunshine, because everyone's eyes water, and it just isn't flattering!
That's why shooting during magic hour is one of my absolute favourite things - it's that perfect hour around sunrise or sunset when all the elements line up perfectly and the light is beyond majestic. This is because as the sun gets low down to the earth it breaks through the trees and surrounds, which diffuses it and fills the air with a warm, gentle glow.
It means that there's no need for squinty faces, and your skin looks soft and beautiful, no matter your age!
First up though, I need you to TRUST ME! So so often I have clients checking in to make sure that a 7pm shoot won't be in the dark (and granted, I do have my crazy moments, so I get it!), but the LIGHT is my number one factor that I consider before scheduling any shoot. It is the number one factor I consider before taking any single photo!
To give you an idea of what I'm on about, I've selected a few of my absolutely favourite magic hour pics to truly demonstrate this time of day.
This below session was at Delta Park, for a big extended family shoot - you can see how the sun (which is low in the sky to the right of the family) brings in a stunning warm glow as it gently breaks through the trees behind them and then catches on the grass surrounding them. This is a feature of my style of photography, and is quite possibly the reason why you've chosen to book with me, even if you don't realise it :)
Even in the below photo shoot - which was mostly indoors as we were in the winter months, and the new baba was VERY new - you can see how gorgeously soft the evening light is - have a look at the glow coming through the mom's hair, warming the very space between the couple where the baby is - that's what happens during magic hour:
Below are some lovely wintry examples of this gorgeous light that I just CANNOT get enough of! Even in the winter, when the early mornings and evenings are colder, so slightly less appealing, it is worth it to get all wrapped up in cute beanies and scarves and head on out into that wonderful light.
The below two pics included some gorgeous bubbles which are catching the light just perfectly.
Time and time again when I stick to my guns it shows in the final results and the pictures are just that much better!
Soft, glowing skin and some incredible lens flare.
I even got this little explanation off Wikipedia:
"When the sun is near the horizon, sunlight travels through a greater depth of atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, so that more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky (Thomas 1973, 9–13), reducing the lighting ratio. More blue light is scattered, so if the sun is present, its light appears more reddish. In addition, the sun's small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows."
Still don't believe me? Then maybe you need to hear it from the experts:
Lindsay Davenport is an incredible wedding photographer from New Mexico. Here is her take on the do's and don'ts of finding the perfect time of day to shoot.
Jasmine Star is an all-round expert on taking photographs, and an amazing resource when it comes to learning more about photography (check out her blog!). In this post she outlines the four considerations she makes before deciding on the time to start a photo shoot session.
Wanna know how I know when magic hour is? I have an app on my phone for that (there's an app for everything these days right?) - it's called Magic Hour, find it in the app store. Easy as pie.