They say the hour before sunset is the perfect time for photographers to venture out for photoshoots. We couldn’t agree more. The moments shortly before sunset spoil us with soft, warm light that creates perfect scenery for outdoor shooting. If you venture out at the right time, it will be really easy to take amazing iPhone photos. It is perfect for landscapes, skylines, and for outdoor portraits. Long story short, golden hour will make everyone and everything look better than during the rest of the day. Golden hour is a natural wonder, but it will be even more perfect when you learn some handy hacks and tricks to take better iPhone photos. Start now, it will pay back for sure. Just wait for the sunset to come…
What’s the Golden Hour hype about? What’s so special about that particular light? The explanation is easy. It’s warm, soft and a little redder than during the day. It will make the shadow less sharp and harsh. The contrast levels will automatically be more balanced. To understand the difference you can try a simple practical test – try to take an iPhone picture of the same object in a strong sunlight and shortly before the sunset. The pictures won’t probably need any further explanation. Soft and well-balanced color palette is beautiful. Shoot in the early evening if you agree! Of course, shooting around the sunrise will give you the same effect. If you are an early bird, try it out. It’s especially worth it in crowded cities. Even the biggest urban centers are quiet when the sun is rising. Early birds are lucky when it comes to photography! Sometimes getting up before the sun comes up might be what it takes to get amazing iPhone photos.
Practical iPhone photography tip: Since we are shooting when the sun is low and the light is not too strong, the iPhone camera is by default reducing the shutter speed to take a better image. And it will, if you make sure to avoid camera movements or shake. Your shots will get blurry otherwise! If you would like to regularly shoot at dawn and/or dusk, it’s probably a good idea to purchase an iPhone tripod mount to say goodbye to blurry captures and hello to truly amazing iPhone photos. If you don’t have one, try to hold the iPhone with both hands or place it on a stable surface to take your image.
If you are taking pictures when the sun is low, your objects are bathed in the soft glow. The shadows are very sharp, which gives the whole scene a dramatic, artsy vibe. Let your pictures shine in their own moody way! Look for interesting shadows to enhance the effect. Your images will look the best if you choose to photograph objects that have the light source (sun, in our case) directly behind them. Backlight is the keyword here! If you follow these steps, the sunlight will create a magical aura around your object. You can shoot both landscapes and portraits this way, a little halo is always a good idea.
I mentioned shadows in the trick no 2. They might also be a main topic of the picture taken during the Golden Hour. When the sun is low, the shadows get longer and more mysterious. It’s not only about the mood; a nice shadow will also help you achieve the sense of depth in your image. Try to play with your own shadow first. Forest is also a quite nice playground to master this iPhone photography trick.
I know that detailed, hyper realistic shots are cool. That’s for sure, but there is also a lot of magic in a mysterious dark outline against red(dish) skies. Shoot your objects with the sun behind and expose the lightest point of the whole capture. Don’t focus on the details. This time they are completely redundant. We are here for the bigger picture. It’s the outline and harsh contrast what matters now! If you want the effect to be as dramatic as possible, edit your picture adding more contrast or increasing the darkness and depth a little. This kind of images might also look very interesting if you convert them into black&white. Stay open to all the possibilities.
When someone says “Golden hour” most people think about outdoor photoshoots, but it can also add some value to your indoor images, especially if you are in a space with big windows. The larger, the better. It will let you capture picture-perfect streams on sun rays coming in the room from the outside. You will never ever get this effect during the day. This kind of magic is only happening at dawn and dusk.
The final hour of daylight is the best time of the day to capture reflection. Trees mirrored in the river? Glass and steel skyscrapers reflecting each other? The reflections taken during our favorite Golden Hour will be glowing and way softer than when the sun is high. Choosing the right time is the way to avoid overexposure and burnt colors. As we already said, soft is beautiful.
We talked landscapes and indoor shots, but there is one more topic we simply have to cover. What about portraits? Yes, Golden Hour light is quite beneficial for these as well. Why? First and foremost, soft, indirect light illuminates the skin tones evenly. In addition, the colors are warm and the contrast is not too sharp. You can try both backlighting and frontlighting to compare the effects. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and lightning. All of them might result in some truly amazing iPhone photos! Light is the key to amazing iPhone photography. Keep this in mind and don’t leave your iPhone home during the first and final hour of daylight. Give the Golden Hour a chance to make your iPhone photography perfect! Happy playing with shadows and glows! Do you have any tips to add to list? Any awesome iPhone photography tips and tricks? We are all ears!