Home > Advice/Tips > Golden Hour and Blue Hour

Golden Hour and Blue Hour

by Coole Photography on April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Many photographers refer to both the “golden hour” and the “blue hour” so I thought I’d spend some time trying to explain both of these terms for those of you who have heard the expressions but not fully understood what they meant, I have also included some of my photographs which will give you a visual explanation as well.
Firstly, it is important to mention that the term “hour” is used quite loosely, the amount of time for each period can be significantly less and many a photographer wishes that blue hour for example would last that little bit longer!

Golden Hour

The golden hour, which is sometimes known as magic hour, is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day, when a specific photographic effect is achieved due to the quality of the light. Because the contrast is heavily reduced during this time the shadows are less dark and the highlights are less likely to be overexposed, plus the warm colour of the low sun is often considered desirable to enhance the colours of the scene, adding vibrancy to your images.

Blue Hour

The term blue hour comes from the French expression l’heure bleue, which refers to the period of twilight each morning and evening where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness. Blue hour generally starts about 30-45 minutes after sunset; bear in mind that this will vary depending on where you are and also the time of year. The quality of light is an absolute gift for photographers and you can really use that quality of light to produce special colours in your images, it is also worth noting that many photographers find the best subjects for blue hour shots are well lit buildings or structures.

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  • Thanks for the explanations! I’d like to think I part-inspired this as I am one of the (probably many) people who asked you about this! The pictures are fantastic!

  • N.O. Photos

    Great explanation… now I just have to wake up at that time, which will be a bit more complicated…

  • Mawoui

    Wow! Thanks for the explanations!

    Yours pictures are awesome! I’m really happy to discover your blog and your talent.
    Thanks, I will follow your work for sure!

  • You did inspire this one Mark – so if you have any other questions let me know and I’ll get some more posts written!

  • Minal Mehta

    The photos that I see here are brilliant… I would love to be a part of it, please help me make it here as a photographer!

  • Amazing work. I love both your city architectural photos and some of your character portraits. Lovely.

  • שיפור בגרויות

    big like! – thanks

  • Louisa Cole

    Keep up the good work, you have a really nice blog! Looking forward to your new posts.

  • Thomas

    Awesome blog here! Thanks for sharing this very useful information. I will visit your blog again in a couple of days to check if you have some new articles!