Have you ever wondered what the perfect time of day to capture that perfect shot is? Ever wished that you could have had someone tell you when that time was? Well have no fear, Golden Hour One is here!
What is the “Golden Hour”?
The golden hour is one of the most exciting situations for photographers. Essentially, it is the period of time after sunrise or before sunset where light is softer and more saturated than midday. Whether you’re capturing landscape or portrait photography, this is the ultimate rule of thumb both professionals and amateurs abide by.
Despite its many benefits, golden hour photography can still be a challenge to master, especially in regards to timing, location, and weather. If you don’t check the weather, you could end up arriving on-location lugging equipment and driving long miles for an overcast day. If you don’t give yourself enough time to arrive and set up, your window of opportunity could fade away before you begin shooting. Although golden hour photography can be tricky, the end result is rewarding. To help you persevere, you may want to look into this incredible app.
What is Golden Hour One?
Golden Hour One is an iOS app that helps you find the best time, place, and weather to go out and take photos. As I navigated the main menu, I noticed four categories: Clock, Maps, Weather, and Reminders. Take a look at each of the categories below.
The clock feature is comprised of four elements. This feature will tell you how long the golden hour lasts and when exactly it begins. The indexes will tell you how favorable the weather is and how the lighting will be. The quick reminders aspect is a fast and easy way to set a reminder to get out and shoot! You also have the option to access a variety of settings through the controls panel.
The maps feature has quite a few handy sections. This part will show you the golden hour at any location you choose. It also allows you to add your most frequent locations to your favorites for a quick reference. The maps aspect can also help you find the right light depending on where you are. Any photographer knows this is a vital component of a successful golden hour.
For all of us that have caught in the rain with a camera in hands, we know how unpredictable the weather can be. When shooting, it is imperative to find the right amount of sun, cloud cover, and know the rain chance. The Golden Hour One app gives you all of this, coupled with a 5-day forecast as well as a sky and light index to help you plan your shoot.
This feature is perhaps the handiest part of Golden Hour One. The reminders section ensures that you will never miss the perfect lighting again. Through this app, you are able to set reminders for specific dates in the future. You can also set them for a determined amount of time before the golden hour to give you enough time to gather your equipment and head out for the perfect picture.
How does it work?
For a proper field test, I decided to utilize these features for a photoshoot with a friend of mine (Cassie) who graciously offered to model for some photos. We opted for an early morning shoot at Clearwater Beach, Florida.
I prefer to capture portraits where the natural light falls on my subject evenly and softens their skin tones. I also love the blue and red saturation in the skies that won’t be overexposed or blown out as long as I’m shooting at the right time.
Overall, I loved using Golden Hour One. I had an exact time to work with (7:06am – 7:51am), and the weather feature also gave me an accurate forecast through the sky and light indexes. Simultaneously, it was refreshing to have an exact timeframe for blue hour* from the app’s clock.
*Blue hour is the rough 8-10 minutes of light scattered from the sun shortly before it rises above the horizon or immediately after sunset. The light is even softer and more diffused than golden hour. It’s a tricky part of the day to shoot since your window of opportunity is very small and you normally have to shoot with an f1.4 or f1.8 lens, but it’s worthwhile if you can catch it on time.
The map feature was also very helpful in determining where exactly the sun would be rising over Clearwater and in some aspects this proved to be more helpful than anticipated. Clearwater Beach is located where large hotels and restaurants overlook the gulf. Any morning shoot can face problems if your light is being obstructed by buildings. Since I wanted to achieve backlit-style portraits, knowing where to shoot at the beach was also of vital importance.
The only tool I never made use of was the reminders. Since my photoshoots are planned with set dates, the only factor I need to monitor is weather. However, I can easily see it’s use employed in landscape photography, especially if you’re into shooting sunsets or star gazing.
With this app, you’ll have a notification on when golden hour will begin. This is especially useful for sunset photos. If anything, you never want miss the perfect golden hour photo. Having a friendly calendar-like reminder set in your iPhone/iPad never hurts.
Should I get this app?
Whether you shoot portrait or landscape, this app is a game changer. If you rely on weather apps to predict golden hour timeframes, you’ll find something refreshing and helpful about Golden Hour. You can download this app for $3.99 directly from the iOS App Store.