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The Golden Hour – Perfect Times for Portraits

Golden-HourToday portrait photographer Christina N Dickson looks at ‘the Gold Hour’ and why it is a great time to do portrait work. Christina’s work can be found at www.ChristinaNicholePhotography.com.

You are an admittedly talented people photographer. You like taking candid. You like taking portraits. After a few months of practice, you’ve progressed. But it seems that there is still something missing from your portraits.

If this is you, there may be one thing holding you back from getting to that next level in your portraiture.


Have you ever been through a major department store? The ones with the expensive makeup counters and free makeovers? Take a cue from these make up specialists. Often times, placed next to the “directors chair” will be an umbrella lit with a strobe light.

Why? Because light can alter the appearance of a person’s face, depending on where the light and shadows fall. The makeup companies know this. And it’s a fact that when practiced, can provide that one extra push for additional purchases.

When do you take your portraits? Taking consideration of the time of day will greatly affect the turnout of your portraits.


This is about an hour and a half directly after sunrise. While portraits at this time may be difficult to rouse you or your subject out of bed, you won’t regret your photos. Band portraits would be ideal at this time because the light will highlight the texture and shape of instruments. Children’s portraits also are great in the morning because you can spend more attention on interacting and capturing them, than on the light. You can guarantee some beautiful lighting that will guarantee big purchases.



This is the hour and a half around sunset (about 45 minutes before and after). The light at this time can be fairly bright but gorgeously directional. And it seems to be a bit easier persuading clients to meet you in the early evening. Engagement and wedding photos are gorgeous at this time, facilitating perfect rim light on a bride’s veil, or rim light on the wedding party. It also is the perfect time of day to capture some romantic lens flair. Once again, it’ll be another large purchase guarantee.

If you’ve never shot in the morning or evening golden hour, get some practice before scheduling a client at that time. Practice will enable you to understand how best to use the bright highlights, and directional shadows to your advantage. Soon, you’ll be on your way to that next level in your portraits!

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Christina N Dickson
Christina N Dickson

is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

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