Who needs the sun? How to make your own golden hour

Who needs the sun? How to make your own golden hour

Golden HourWhat if you could create beautiful Golden Hour portraits without the sun? Well, you can. All it takes is a few strobes and a little know-how.

Golden Hour, also known as Magic Hour, is the time just before sunset or just after dawn during which the natural light given off by the sun is softer and warmer than usual. While this is a natural occurrence, a recent video from Profoto shows how you can replicate the look even without the sun.

The process is fairly straightforward when it gets down to it – you try to recreate the soft, warm light of the sun during Golden Hour using a light source behind the subject. In this particular video, Pye Jirsa of Lin & Jirsa Photography shares how he accomplishes the task with a pair of Profoto B2 strobes and a set of CTO gels.

Golden HourII

The strobe placed behind the couple is given a warm tone with the help of CTO filters. Once the filters are on the strobe, it’s a matter of placement. You’re going to want to place the strobe(s) in a position where the sun would naturally rise or fall, pending on the time of day you’re shooting.

As you can see from Pye’s results, the artificial setup works wonders, almost perfectly replicating the Golden Hour light that he just barely missed.

YouTube video

Of course, you don’t need a thousand dollar set of strobes to get the job done. A gelled speedlight could get the job done almost as well – you just wouldn’t have the reach of the more powerful strobe.

If you’d rather take the natural approach, you can do that too. Sundroid for Android and Magic Hour for iOS will help you know exactly when Golden Hour starts and ends.

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