Can You Tell The Difference?

Below we have three different shoots, a maternity session, day-after wedding session and a wedding day portrait session. One was shot at Golden Hour with the sun above the horizon, and two were shot when the sun had already set. Can you tell which is which? (Answers are at the bottom of the article).

[REWIND: GOLDEN HOUR BY EXPOSURE | THE ELEGANT, FREE APP TO ALERT YOU TO ‘GOLDEN HOUR’]

Scene One: Maternity Portrait Session

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Scene Two: Day After Wedding Portrait Session

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Scene Three: Wedding Day Portrait Session

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Like a Magician

Now you would think recreating a giant 432,474 mile diameter ball of gas that’s 93 million miles away would be difficult, but it’s actually quite simple. All you need is a powerful strobe, move it up 92.999 million miles closer, and viola, Sun galore! Check out how Pye does it in the video below!

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The Pledge

During a wedding mood board review, the bride told Pye that she really liked “golden hour” shots. So when they began planning their wedding day, the bride and groom scheduled a 30-minute Golden Hour photo session. But like most weddings, things didn’t run on time.

The Turn

Although there was an epic golden hour on that wedding day, the bride had missed it. She had an outfit change for the reception, and because of an unfortunate turn of events, she was late to the planned photo shoot and the sun was gone.

The Prestige

I’ve worked closely with Pye for a few years now, and he is no slouch when it comes to his clients’ vision. He could have easily thrown his arms up in the air and said “we can wait another 23 hours for golden hour, but I will have to add another 24 hours of additional coverage to your package,” but he didn’t. Instead, he used the powerful Profoto B1 to bring the sun back.

How He Shot It

The Gear

Pye had his awesome lighting assistant Karen set up the Profoto B1 and put two Color Temperature Orange (CTO) Gels on it. Why make the light so orange? Because as the Sun sets, its color frequency shifts to more orange and reds hues because of how far the light travels through the atmosphere (if any scientists would like to correct or expand on this, please do so in the comments below). Pye then instructed Karen to take the B1 about 200ft away behind some trees, identical to where the sun had just set from their point of view. Why so far? Because the strobe had to light everything the sun would have lit if it were still above the horizon. That means all the trees, architecture, and every significant object in the frame had to have a natural “sunlight” on them.

Did It Work?

Yes, and convincingly so. See for yourself.

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Did You Guess Correctly?

If so, let us know what gave it away in the comments!

Scene One – Maternity Portrait Session: Artificial Golden Hour w/ Profoto B1
Scene Two – Day After Wedding Portrait Session: Authentic Golden Hour
Scene Three – Wedding Day Portrait Session: Artificial Golden Hour w/ Profoto B1

For more Lighting tips and tricks be sure to check out our Lighting 101 and Lighting 201 Workshop DVDs, now 30% with the code: happyholidays30