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© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

How to Take Pictures During Golden Hour | Beach Edition

  • 3 min read

How to Take Pictures During Golden Hour

You may have heard of this moment of the day. For me, it's one of the most magical times to take pictures. It is that moment of the day when the sun is about to hide, the sea becomes dark, and the sky becomes golden, orange, or even fuchsia!

I love photographing this moment of the day, playing with the sun's rays to create a dreamy landscape. We can get different effects or even spectacular flares by simply selecting the right time and place to shoot.

When is Golden Hour?

Golden hour is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset that produces a warm natural light.


What should we consider during the "Golden hour" at the beach?

  1. Sunset. When exactly will the sun set?
  2. Tide. Where is the tide? High or low?
  3. Movement. Is there a subject? How do they interact with the environment?

Lensbaby Sweet 50 | ISO 100 | f2.8 | 1/320


The first thing is to get hold of an app that tells us exactly what time the sun will set and about the ever-changing tides. Here are some apps to use:

My Tide Times

Sun & Moon Calculator

Or check out your phone's weather app

I usually take pics before, during, and after the sun hides. Because each of those moments is special, showing us a different angle of light. You can capture Golden Hour anywhere, personally I love the beach. With the beach as my setting, I can play with the sun's light reflecting on the shore. In addition to time, you should plan to go during low-tide. This way, you can capture the light reflecting off the clean, smooth coast. High tide, waves can spoil those reflections.

Lensbaby Sweet 50 | ISO 100 | f2.8 | 1/320


For these photos, I used a Lensbaby Sweet 50 mm. This lens gives the images an ethereal quality. As the boy runs, it looks like he's in heaven or maybe on some other planet. I usually use a relatively open aperture because I like to achieve that background blur effect and exaggerate the child's movement.


Lensbaby Sweet 50 | ISO 100 | f2.8 | 1/320


Lensbaby Sweet 50 | ISO 100 | f2.8 | 1/320


"Get low, even on the floor...!"

Move around to capture different positions of the sun. Get low, even on the floor to capture how the shore and the sky reflect, almost becoming one!

Allow your subject to play with the waves and interact with the space. Run, jump, be free, do what all children do! Since the Lensbaby Sweet lens, enhances movement, authentic interaction and spontaneous snaps will create the best final shots.

Lensbaby Sweet 50 | ISO 100 | f2.8 | 1/320


Can you hear the seagulls and smell the salty air?

At other times I like to use luminous colors to highlight the person in the background. But this time, I opted for neutral colors because the intention was to give importance to the orange light, not necessarily to the boy.

I hope these ideas help stir some inspiration when you go out to shoot next! I'd love to know, what are your favorite ways to frame your subject?

Manuela Ortega

Manuela Ortega Landajo comes from a long line of photographers. She is a fashion and weddings photographer. Often she works with different fashion designers such as Alicia Rueda. Manuela uses photography to document the day-to-day life of her family to create a diary of emotions.


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