Golden Hour Fooled - Susan Locke

Golden Hour Fooled

July 29, 2018

I hate it when this happens..... We spend hours planning, scheduling, and coordinating for a beautiful golden hour photo shoot only to have our plans foiled by weather or other late clients or what ever. Maybe the conditions are perfect when you leave for the shoot, but by the time you get there, clouds are hovering above. Or it could be that you just can't shoot at the ideal time. No matter what the issue, this blog post is going to show you a couple ways to get that golden hour look at any hour!


Ok, you got me. Maybe not any hour, but any hour within reason.


So here's my disclaimer.....I can't take credit for coming up with these techniques. I have a premier membership at SLR Lounge and I watch a ton of YouTube videos.  As for SLR Lounge, among the many awesome workshops there is one on Recreating the Golden Hour.  And YouTube videos, I really like videos by PHLEARN.  After watching videos from both, these tricks are very easy to execute and takes minimal gear. The main element in images shot during golden hour is obviously the sun. When we run into a circumstance in which the sun is MIA, the only logical option is to just make a fake one! 




There are two basic ways to pull this off....


Firstly, you can add a flash behind your subject during the shoot .... or Secondly, you can backlight your subject with natural light during the shoot and add a flare in post production.


For the first option, when adding a flash during the shoot, start off by choosing what look you are going for. If you are going to want the actual flare in the image, I use a bare bulb Speedlight for the light. And position it behind my subject pretending to be the sun. To add warmth to the flash add a CTO gel. A 1/4 CTO should be just enough to give it a slight orange tint. Once you have your light set up, go ahead and expose your image without the flash. If you are going to be using flash in front of your subject, go ahead and set it to your liking as well. Once you have a proper exposure, place your subject between you and the flash and slowly bring up the power until it gives you a sun flare type look. If you want the flare on the edge of the image, you can use this same technique with the flash out of the frame and just behind the subject....



For the second option, when adding this effect in post, I back light my subject during the shoot and after I bring the images into photoshop, I add warmth by changing the white balance and softening the look by lowering the contrast. Then I add light rays behind the subject on the side where the subject is rim lit. A good method to do this can be found in the PHLEARN collection of YouTube videos. I like this one: How to Create Light Rays in Photoshop


And viola .... Golden Hour at any hour!


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