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Spring Photography Tip: Enjoy the Long Magic Hours

Techniques/ Tips

Spring Photography Tip: Enjoy the Long Magic Hours

While any given time and place may be a magical photo waiting to happen, some times are generally better for photography than others.

Photographers, you know about the magic hour. Magic hours are no secret, those mellow times of day when natural lighting all but takes great photos for you.  If you aren’t a photographer and/or haven’t heard of the magic hour, there’s a good chance you’ve appreciated the serenity and soft lighting of dawn or dusk without realizing you were basking in a magic hour.

Magic hour is defined as the first and last hour of sunlight in a day. It’s also known as the golden hour, and it’s not confined to an hour in length. It’s more of a loose term than a definition. In spring the days start to become longer, making for longer lasting sunrises and sunsets, creating longer magic hours. Friends, it’s spring. Right now is your time to relish those magic hours and give the people the magic they want in a photo.

Here’s why you should make it a point to catch a lot of magic hours this season:


–       Softer light – You don’t want the sun beating on you and your friends (your camera, your lens, etc.). Magic hour gives you diffused, low intensity light. This is the kind of light you work with instead of against.

–       Warmer colors – Magic hour light puts highly saturated colors in your photos. It’s like nature is working in Photoshop.

–       Layered colors– Other phenomena like Alpenglow, the Blue Hour and the Belt of Venus often appear, creating layers of color at sunrise and sunset, when the sun is close to the horizon.

–       Shadows, silhouettes and reflections – All of these elements work to your advantage during the magic hour. Think of how creative you can be with long shadows, a single silhouette in a vivid landscape, the sun reflecting off of water or glass, etc.


With all of the above in your favor, even typically uninspiring things (like traffic) become photo-inspiring around sunrise and sunset. Catch a magic hour and find new inspiration, then tweet us one of your best shots (@DuggalNYC) for a retweet!