Shoot Better Golden Hour Portraits by Harnessing the Sun

The golden hour is popular amongst landscape photographers, but it is definitely worth utilising this for outdoor portraiture. By positioning the sun behind or in front of the subject, the lighting is changed dramatically. It’s just like having a giant light on in the studio, but it is golden and delicious in the evening.

In this instructional video, Manny Ortiz runs you through his process when lighting his shot outside at sunset. With the model looking in the direction of the sun, she’s flooded in light which gives the photo a rich, warm tone.

Ortiz also shoots portraits at the moment his model opens her eyes to minimize squinting in the pictures.

Placing the sun behind her, the model becomes backlit with rim-lighting highlighting all the edges. Her hair because incredibly crisp in the shot, with each strand lit up in gold.

Ortiz notes that he doesn’t use a lens hood for the shots, giving rise to some flaring. He uses this creatively to add another dynamic to the photo.

This simple setup, a camera and the sun, produces some fantastic shots. Try it out, but make sure you don’t have your model squinting into the sun!

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