What is Golden Hour and Why Does it Matter?

NH Wedding Photographer | Amanda Rai Photography

Want to know a little secret?

Photography is so much more than good locations, flattering poses, and post photo editing. Those things are actually minor compared to what a photographer’s real skill set is. What’s most important than anything else (even more important than how expensive the camera is) is that professional wedding portrait photographers are masters of light. I’m going to let you in on a little photographer secret, and it’s called golden hour.

Soft even light on the skin and on the background is always the most flattering. This ensures there are no harsh shadows (which extenuates every flaw, oh hello wrinkles) or bright blinding spots of distraction. Sure shade or cloudy days could accomplish this, but there is a different type of light that always brings the money shots. That is where golden hour light comes into play. Every day there are two guaranteed hours that consistently give soft even light and that is within the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.

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Being on the eastern seacoast I LOVE sunrise and always jump at the chance to shoot at sunrise the moment my client seems interested, but I’ll save “why you should plan a sunrise session” for a whole other post! That being said, the hour before sunset is the most popular, for obvious reasons.

At these two times the sun is lower in the sky and the light is spread out (ever notice how long your shadow is in the evening?) and the light is well…golden. If its not an overcast day, the light that is hitting you from behind creates this almost halo effect and allows you to POP off of the background. It is a natural magical glowy effect that happens. No photoshop necessary! This golden light allows for that dreamy romantic look and I absolutely love it!


When finalizing your wedding day timeline be sure to keep this golden hour in mind! Even if it means that you two sneak away with your photographer for 15 minutes during the reception, you will not regret it. The photos taken during golden hour will have a different look and feel to them than the photos that were taken earlier in the day. You won’t want to miss it!

Take a look at the photos on this post. Do you see that subtle golden halo lining?

I hope this post was helpful! For more helpful tips and tricks visit my blog!

meet amanda


My name is Amanda and I am a Light and Airy NH Wedding Photographer serving couples and families by creating authentic and classic images that they will cherish for a lifetime. Lots of people are anxious about getting their photos taken but I create a no stress fun experience that will leave you feeling confident. 

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