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Steve Sims Photography | Family Lifestyle + Portraits + Landscapes | Christchurch, New Zealand

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Happy light, golden bright!

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

A photographers, the golden light you see upon sunset is our gold. It is the perfect light. It is our holy grail. What follows the golden light is the blue tones. Both just as beautiful as each other. Why do we talk about these lights so much? I will give you a little insight....


What is the Golden Hour/Blue Hour? So golden light/golden hour is exactly how it sounds. It is the hour before sunset when the sun is almost at the horizon creating soft orange glows. This also applies to the short time after the sunrises. The blue hour is after sunset and before sunrise. Often, the golden light can happen a fair while before the sunrises but is darker compared to its opposite in the evening.


What makes this light so special? The evening light creates a perfect softened glow on the land and especially on faces for portraits. It isn't as harsh as the midday sun that creates harsh shadows on the face/objects or bright white light. Though during the day is a suitable time of day for everyone regarding photo shoots outdoors, that last hour or so are far much better and more rewarding. The light changes the whole image. Something that is difficult to replicate during post processing. The warm tones give off a feeling of warmth and love. To me, a sense of success. Freedom. There is a rush of excitement when the clouds change from their dull grey tones and start lighting up the sky like a painting. Splashes of orange, pinks, purples and yellow. The different shades of orange and pinks have the ability to stop you in your tracks and just stare what looks aimlessly into the sky. It paralyses you. Mother nature in its beauty is stunning!

For the morning light, you can create some fantastic silhouette images highlighting the powerful sky. If using reflections on water, sunrise or sunset can give outstanding mirror effect. Sunrises are a little easier to predict than sunsets though still difficult in their rights. There are so many different factors contributing to whether there will be colour or not.

The blue lights is powerful for silhouettes but offers a different perspective on the land. As for portraits, it can give off a different feeling. It can still show love with couples being closer or using flash to highlight the person among the background. The blue light gives photographer a bit more work to do as the scene gets darker.

This isn't to say a day time shoot is no good. Overcast days work well or partial cloudy & sunny days work well. For day time, it is a matter of finding some shade whilst still blending in a fantastic scenery. Don't be put off day time but sunset & sunrise really do, make memories special!


Where is best for golden hour/blue light? Anywhere is great for that last hour of sunshine if it is portraits. Even the backyard as long as the sunlight isn't blocked by anything. In Christchurch, there is no better place for a sunrise or sunset than the Port Hills. The views of the city and if in the right place, Lyttleton Harbour too. There is so many different spots on various tracks along the hills. There isn't just one perfect spot. For sunrises, New Brighton Beach is perfect. The sun rising above the horizon. The pier. Sand dunes. The waves and reflections off the water. For portraits, New Brighton Beach is magical! You can't beat a good sunrise at the beach.




So if there was a chance you can have a photo shoot in the evening or even wake in the ungodly hours for sunrise, take that chance. You won't regret the results from your photographer. If you are wanting to take images yourself. Do it. Watch a sunset or wake for the sun to rise. There is no better feeling! For me, a sunrise is so much better. The feeling of being awake before everyone else. Being ahead of everyone. Everything around you stops and you are the only one alive. Happiness and excitement fulfills you. Try it...you won't regret it!


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