Why You Really Should Set Aside Time for Golden Hour Wedding Photos

If you’re not a photographer, you probably have no idea what I mean when I say “golden hour” wedding photos. However, when you see them you’ll probably know exactly what I’m referring to. Golden hour photos are those photos that almost look magical, like they have come straight out of a fairy tale. Some of them do have a golden hue, but others do not. Instead, they might feature a cotton candy pink sky or just soft, beautiful colors with amazing backlighting.

In photography, the golden hour refers to the hour (or so) right before sunset where the lighting is extra favorable for great photos. I love taking photos during the golden hour. It’s my first choice for engagement photos, and when a couple is willing to schedule wedding portraits during the golden hour I get super excited because I just know they’re going to get great images out of it.

Golden Hour Photos Versus Traditional Afternoon Photos

When you schedule your wedding photography right after the ceremony, there’s just so much going on! You have all the family members nearby who are eager to get photos taken with you, and it’s so easy to feel like you’re caught up in a bit of a whirlwind. After all, you just got married! The moment you’ve been planning and dreaming about for months has just happened and you haven’t even had a moment to process it.

It definitely makes sense to utilize the time between the ceremony and the reception to shoot portraits, especially family portraits. But if I can, I love to do most of the couple portraits during the golden hour. It gives you a little more time to move past any lingering nerves from the ceremony, plus the lighting and colors are a dream. come. true. You never know what you’re going to get, but you’re guaranteed to have MUCH better lighting and fewer shadows than you do at two or three o’clock in the afternoon!

How To Plan for Golden Hour Portraits

This is where it can get a little tricky. Golden hour usually happens right in the middle of the reception, but depending on the time of year, it actually can time out pretty perfectly. Once you finish the cake cutting and the first dance, it’s usually just about 7pm which is just about when golden hour starts for most of the “traditional” wedding season.

I don’t like to take too much time, so even if you can only sneak off for 20 minutes, it’s enough time to get some really great shots. That way, you can get back to your reception with plenty of time left to dance the night away! Just let your DJ or other hired entertainment know that you’ll be gone around that time and ask them if they wouldn’t mind playing some songs that your guests can dance to while you’re out getting your portraits taken.

While it’s important to think about setting up a wedding day timeline that makes sense and makes the best use of your time, it’s also important to consider the memories you want to hold onto from your day. Wedding photography isn’t just about snapping a photo to document the occasion. It’s about creating a beautiful heirloom that you will love and cherish and even show your children and grandchildren someday. It’s something that’s important enough to sneak off for a few minutes to get just right… and I’m not saying that because I love photography!

If you have questions about golden hour wedding photos or want more tips about working them into your timeline, just let me know! I am always happy to help!

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