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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Nelson

Let's Talk about Lighting

Updated: Aug 8, 2018

Muffled laughter and warm sun rays surround us. The 'click click' of my shutter the only unnatural sound. Her hair is aglow with golden color, his hand clasped within hers, as the desert sun sets slowly in front of us. In this hour, the brown, dry landscape becomes tinted gold and radiates warmth. It's what we call "golden hour".

As a photographer, golden hour is what we all boast about. It is the earths gift to photography, among other things. The hour before the sun sets, the world becomes warm and bright with the lowering sun and it casts a magical, romantic glow upon the landscape. When set up just right, a photographer can capture this effect with their subjects and it is a highly desired quality that you can bring to a photo session.

With golden hour, the rule is right there in the name. The most magical and beautiful time of the day for photos happens an hour before sunset and believe me when I say, it is worth the wait. The light gets low on the horizon and in the desert, everything glows, even the couple you are photographing.

This is also an amazing time to play with the sun and create amazing silhouettes. During this couples photography session, we walked out amongst the desert bushes until we found a clear enough spot to stand. I snapped a few photos and realized that, while the light was very forgiving, the photos weren't coming out as beautifully as I wanted. I decided to change up my angle and dropped down to position them in front of the sun. BAM! Magic happened. The sun was perfectly behind them so that it created a halo of golden light as he bent down to kiss her. These are the kind of golden hour moments that every photographer wishes to capture. For me, it has been one in a million! I have tried countless time to recreate this photo with other couples, and it never comes out at perfectly as this one did!

Another form of light that isn't talked about as much, is the morning glow. All engagement and wedding photographers know of golden hour because we are constantly asked if we do sunset photos because of the awe inspiring results the sunset creates. However, the morning light can cast an exceptionally delicate glow onto your couple. In the desert, the harsh landscapes are softened by such light and therefore create a whole other experience. With the morning light, you will find that your timing can fluctuate. I have noticed that 30 minutes after sunrise can allow for some low to the horizon lighting that is similar to that of golden hour. A hour past sunrise, and you will notice that the sun is sitting higher and becoming somewhat harsher, but still lends some gorgeous light when filtered through tree shadow. Not much longer and the sun will sit too high, and I have noticed, the light can cast some unflattering light upon your couple.

No matter when you are photographing your subjects, when you take advantage of what nature has to offer, you are going to be amazed. Natural light can wield stunning results, so take the time to get to know your light.

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