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Shooting during the golden hour is something that many photographers want to master. It consists in capturing the very natural golden light of the sun, at sunrise or sunset, when a magical, mystical and in some way even unearthly effect is created. It would seem that difficult in such a shoot? In the end, you just need to make time for a photo to take when the sun rises or sets, right? However, this is not all. There are many factors to consider when doing this.

First of all, inappropriate weather can interfere with your shooting. There will be days when you will not be able to have a photo session on the street due to ordinary rain or, possibly, even a storm warning. And sometimes the weather conditions may be ideal for your plans, but already at the moment when you get to the desired location, clouds will begin to gather.

Secondly, there may be options when you will be constrained by clear time frames and simply will not be able to meet them. Thus, you won’t be able to wait for the perfect weather to shoot at the golden hour.

These are the cases when the sun, which, after all, is the main character of the golden hour, will be inaccessible.

Do not worry, as there are actually a few tips and tricks that will help you if you are stuck in the most adverse conditions while shooting or just do not want to depend so hard on time.

Tips and tricks for creating the illusion of lighting the golden hour

The golden hour has its own specific characteristics. Each photo should show warm and soft light, golden skin tones and good backlighting (the brighter the better). Even without going outside, without taking off early in the morning or at dusk, this can still be achieved. And here are some simple tips for creating such an illusion.

The basic equipment for simulating golden hour lighting is as follows:

gels of golden, yellow or light orange color (CTO gels can also be used, and then adjust the white balance);
external light source (monoblock or remote flash; any option is suitable) as the main source of lighting;
a “light” lens for soft background focus (most often used in portrait shooting to create a bokeh effect);
various neutral density filters to avoid overexposure of images if you use a wide-open aperture, for example, f / 2.8 or more (the ND filter helps to balance the exposure of the image).
Below are more detailed tips for capturing a recreation of golden hour lighting.

Decide whether you will shoot indoors or outdoors.
In this case, you can shoot both inside and outside the house. Taking pictures in the room will be easier, because in this way you will have more control over lighting and gels. All the tips and tricks in this material are aimed at shooting indoors.

Use multiple flashes and various gels.
You will need a powerful flash for the background, use a golden gel filter. If you can’t find a gel of exactly this shade, use alternative colors, for example, light orange or yellow. Remember to place the flash in front of or behind the window. Light refraction can be achieved by directing the flash to the window.

Another thing to keep in mind when creating lighting to simulate the light of a golden hour is the loss of flash power depending on camera settings. High Speed ​​Sync (or HSS – High Speed ​​Sync) doesn’t work very well when it comes to re-creating the golden hour lighting due to inconsistent recharge times. For example, if you use the flash at full power with a shutter speed of 1/1000, aperture of f / 1.4, and ISO 100, you lose 5-8 steps of light.

Use an ND filter to avoid high speed sync.
One solution is to use a 3-5x ND filter that reduces all light by 3-5 steps and allows you to use slower shutter speeds to keep the flash at normal sync speed. As a result, power will increase by 5-8 steps.

Consider increasing your ISO. For example, you can set the shutter speed to 1/60, the aperture to f / 1.4, and ISO to 200, at full flash output you will get a power of 1 step (or 200%). However, if you increase the ISO to 640 with a shutter speed of 1/200 and aperture at f / 1.4, this will be equivalent to 2.5 steps or 600% extra power. Ultimately, we get more energy from our equipment using an ND filter, increasing the ISO speed and accelerating the shutter with each ISO step.

Outline the foreground using a weaker flash.
Use a weaker flash for the foreground and make sure it is coated with gold, orange, or yellow gel. Put the gel on the flash.

It is important to use light scattering – this way you can achieve a soft glow.

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