I’ll bet that 90% of the great outdoor photographs you’ve seen were taken within half an hour of sunrise or sunset. Photographers rhapsodize and coo over the subtle hues and tones of the golden hour. Here’s a photo of Sunrise from the Dallas Divide in Colorado.
And here’s a sunset image from the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Photographs taken five minutes earlier or later just didn’t have the color, the drama, or the charm of these examples.
So what is the golden hour? Some photographers define the golden hour as fifteen minutes before to forty-five minutes after sunrise and forty-five minutes before and fifteen after sunset. Others have different time spans in mind. I’ve gotten satisfying results with the sun as much as an hour below the horizon.The corollary to this tip is that you can double your chances of getting great outdoor photographs by shooting at sunrise as well as at sunset. So, … yank out your iPhone, tap the Clock app, and set an alarm.