A little sun flare and back light during golden hour is fantastically beautiful!
How many times have you seen that beautiful warm light that can cast a beautiful golden glow on hair or make the landscape look so amazing you just can't stop staring? That would be what photographers call "golden hour"! It is one of most popular times to shoot portraits or really, any photo! The time of day matters way more than people realize, in the quality and overall aesthetic of an image!
Whereas this is a most incredible time of day to shoot, it CAN be a little tricky! There are a few things that you need to think about to really achieve that look that you are hoping for!
Where is the light?
This picture has the sun more on the side of my subject, and this angle can be tricky if you don't manually set your camera.
I would say the majority of people, when I tell them to stand where the sun is behind them, look at me in disbelief...or even straight up ask me, are you sure? lol Actually you can have the sun on either side of your subject, but each way will yield a different result!
I like to put the light BEHIND my subject mostly. That will give you that glow around the hair and still allow the face to be evenly lit and flattering! The tricky thing about this kind of lighting however, is you will have to have the ability to tell your camera to adjust it's exposure for the face versus the bright sun behind them. This is why most people question why the sun should be behind the subject, because if not done right, the person and their face will be completely shadowed and dark, and the proper exposure will be set for the background. The work around is, if you are using a SLR, meter for the face area of your subject, and if you are using a point and shoot or a cell phone camera, tap the face to allow your camera to expose the shot! You still risk the background being "blown out" when you do this so try to be ok with the exposure not being too light on the face, if that makes sense!
In the image above, my subject is sitting with the light to her side. The look is really gorgeous and creates a really great mood and cool shadowing that ads depth and emotion to an image. For side lighting, I would recommend metering a little more on the lighter areas of the subject and allow for the shadowed areas to be just that, a more shadowy part. You don't need to see every detail of her side and having the face look good is the most important thing here!
For the above image, I kept the sun on the side of my subject, but used her hair to create a shadow on the face for more of a pleasing portrait look. Again, if you have a camera that is able to, select the face to be the part of the image that is exposed correctly!
Do you notice how different the top picture in this series looks from the lower 3? Even though she is facing the sun in both, I achieved a different look in both because of where I was standing when I took the shot.
The top image I love because it has more of a spontaneous feel to it, more fly on the wall. The 3 images below I love because they are very evenly lit with rich colors!
The difference is, I had to decide on the top photo, what was most important to me to have looking "good". I chose the light hitting her face. It does make the colors a little more muted and less vibrant since I had to pick and choose my main area of focus and the cameras cannot make everything in the image perfect with a side light. The lower 3 pictures are very saturated and full of color because the light was very evenly displayed on my subject and allowed for that golden aura to fully engulf everything without having to make choices! haha This is one of the only times of the day that I would ever have my subject full on facing the sun!
I hope that this gives you a few tidbits on how to make your golden hour photos look more beautiful! Light can be beautiful but it also presents challenges! If you are equipped to tackle those challenges head on you will end up with beautiful images that really stand out!!
Reach out and connect with me! I LOVE it! I really do!
I've made some fun new friends by conversations started from them reading a simple blog post! That makes me feel warm and fuzzy so know that if you want to say "hey", we could chat!!
Until next week.....