Most of us are shooting with natural light, this implies certain things we must be aware while shooting.

Also, shooting with natural light means you’re using the sun as your lightsource, this will change the direction, quality and temperature (this will mean the color in our pictures) of the light, and will change the mood and the story we can tell through the image. Sumarizing, as the sun moves across the sky through the day the light will go from blue, to gold, white-ish, and back to gold and blue again. In this cycle, also the quality of the light will change, from soft to hard light, and back to soft again.

Why do photographers love the so called Golden hour and when is that?

We call the golden hour a brief period of time during sunrise and sunset, when the sun is low and the light has a golden colour and long and soft shadows. The soft light it is usually more flattering as it doesn’t show flaws and high contrast, also the golden colour gives a nice warm touch to the picture.

The high of the sun must be around 20º and 30º above the horizon. It is easy to tell when the golden hour is, as the light becomes orangy and the shadows start to have barely a clear edge, so no need to calculate the degrees, but might be a nice reference.

Another good thing about this type of natural light, is that it is incredibly easy to manipulate the direction! As the light gets softer, it is easy to move around and look for different angles to work around. I have taken pictures with frontal light, side light and backlight with warm orange tones. If you see my pictures, golden hour backlight is one of my favourite things ever! The rim light going around the subject is amazing and it gives such a cozy nice feeling to anything you shoot!

In case you are shooting portraits with this light, and you’re also using the sun as backlight, I would recomend you use a reflector to light your subject, as with the light behind it the face (or other features) will get in shadow and will end up quite dull. Therefore, if you just bounce some light to the front of the subject, you’ll get not only the nice backlight with the golden touch and rim, but also a nice portrait with a warm feeling and barely any shadows!

Anyway, whatever you do with this light it will probably be a complete success!

Let me know if you try to shoot with this light in the comments below!