Whaaaat – you don’t like golden hour??
Ok, this seems to be a bit harsh. It is not that I don’t LIKE golden hour. But I don’t like the obsession with it.
I have photographed the most beautiful sessions in golden hour. (And have actually just written about one of them in my last blog post.) But I have also photographed the most beautiful sessions in the harsh midday sun and on gloomy days.
Being a photographer that photographs mostly families with small children, there are so many positives to not being dependent on golden hour to be able to deliver beautiful and consistent galleries.
Reason number 1 why I don’t like golden hour:
Often golden hour happens at a time of the day when most babies and toddlers are usually already in their beds and asleep.
To keep them awake after their usual bedtime can be challenging. If you are a parent yourself you have maybe experiences the glorious moods a toddler can be in when her nap time is changed. It is absolutely possible that a photo session could still be successful. But why take the risk and not just be on the safe side by scheduling a photo session around the family’s schedule? I like to take away as many uncertainties as possible.
Yes, being outside and having fun at a photo session is different than staying awake past bedtime at home. But I don’t like to take the risk because there are unlimited other possibilities that work as well.
Reason number 2 why I don’t like golden hour:
The second reason – and that is just me and might be totally different for you, depending on your location – is the changing light here in Norway throughout the year. It makes it completely impossible, or at least very, very difficult, to be consistent with locations and timeframes.
Basically, October to March, is one non-stop golden hour in this part of Norway. It is only light for a couple of hours a day, and the sun doesn’t rise very high on the horizon. So any daylight you have is, in theory, golden hour light. The problem is that there are not many cloudless days at that time of the year. That means it is nearly impossible to plan a session more than a few days in advance if you are hoping for golden sunlight. And even then the weather forecast might change again.
Contrary, in June, July, and August, sunrise and sunset are in the middle of the night. Waiting for golden hour for a summer session would mean keeping the kids awake until late in the evening or getting them up in the middle of the night for a sunrise session.
In the months in between the sun is setting at more “normal” times. In spring and autumn, it is absolutely possible to schedule golden hour sessions. And I do. However, sometimes my clients request a certain location where the sun would be in front of them instead of behind them at that time of the day. There might also be other reasons that they prefer a session in the morning or in the middle of the day, instead of at golden hour time.
So what is the solution?
My solution is to be super flexible with locations and always take time of the year and time of the day into considerations when suggesting different locations. I have locations that only work in summer in the morning, others only work in winter in the morning, others in midday during summer, and in the evening in winter. When clients suggest their own locations, this app has proven to be incredibly valuable. And remember, you as the photographer are the expert. My clients are thankful for me being clear that certain locations only work at certain times of the day – after all, that’s why they hire us – because we are the experts.
Let’s have a look at a couple of sessions that took place at totally different times of the day and I hope you’ll see that it is possible to work with any type of location and light.
Summer on a sunny day at around 6 pm
Winter on a sunny day at around 10 am
Spring on a gloomy day at around 6pm
Summer on a sunny day at around 11am
Spring at around 1 pm