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Take Better Golden Hour Portraits | Simple Natural light Photography Tips

By Kishore Sawh on June 12th 2017

What is Golden Hour? Well, that depends on to whom you’ve asked the question – if you ask a medic of an ER doctor you’ll be told it’s that hour immediately following an injury that’s considered critical for the best treatment outcome. But for photographers and cinematographers it’s generally considered that hour just following sunrise or just before sunset where the sun is low on the horizon. At this point its light travels a further distance/depth of atmosphere which has the effect of softening the light and giving off warmer tones – all desirable qualities for photographing.

We’ve spoken at length about Golden Hour here on SLR Lounge, but primarily from a perspective of wedding photography; how to manage it, and even recreate it when it’s not there. However, for a more casual look at making the most out of Golden Hour, photographer and Sony Creative Collective member, Manny Oritz, has created a good video that’s worth checking out.

The purpose of this video is to illuminate ways to approach Golden Hour for improved results – to make the best out of the limited time you’ve got. There’s no use of off-camera lighting in the form of strobes or reflectors here, but Oritz, along with his wife, Diana, takes you through a few scenarios where the light is coming from the front, then the back, and then artistically places between buildings or off to one side for a bit more directionality.

Gear Used:

Sony A9
Sony Zeiss 55mm 1.8

Related: SONY A9 REVIEW / OVERVIEW| THE AFFIRMATION OF MIRRORLESS & WISH FULFILLMENT

Alternatives:
Sony A7ii
Sony 50mm 1.8

RelateD: SONY A7II | PROOF SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING, IT’S HOW YOU USE IT

Yes, Manny is using an A9 in this instance but I’m sure he’d agree that you don’t need something with that kind of dynamic and powerful AF system nor high frame rate ability to shoot like this. However, as he points out, there are advantages to using mirrorless bodies like the A7 or e-mount line that have electronic viewfinders. As someone who has shot in such hours of rapidly changing lighting conditions it really can be helpful to be able to see your exposure prior to clicking that shutter. If you’re also interested in lens flare, well, it can help frame that also.

A post shared by Manny Ortiz (@mannyortizphoto_) on

If you want to push deeper into Golden Hour and natural light, check out the following post:

You can find more from Manny on his YouTube Channel and his Instagram.

PS – Life advice from Manny: “Look pretty when you come up.” Indeed.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

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  1. Yana Brenar

    Would love to see more info on backlit shooting

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