Golden Hour Wedding Photography

Golden Hour Wedding Photography

During golden hour the sun is at a low angle in the sky creating longer shadows and flattering lighting situations that wedding photographers can use to create dreamy photos and creative effects. It occurs twice a day—shortly after sunrise and before sunset—and the results are gorgeous, with the sun being redder and softer than the daytime sky. We love this magical time so much that we’ve selected 20 of our favorite golden hour wedding photos for this week’s Editor’s Picks, all taken by our esteemed members. Get ready to be impressed! 

Here are just some of the lovely effects that can be achieved during the golden hour so you’ll want to schedule your wedding photo sessions accordingly.

Warmth and Beautiful Skin Tones
The sunlight is softer and warmer, casting a flattering, golden glow over everything it touches.This soft, diffused light can make skin tones look radiant and smooth, creating a romantic look that is perfect for your wedding photos.

Face to face couple portrait Angela Nelson Photography
Photographed by Angela Nelson Photography - Hawaii wedding photographer
Sunset silhouette couple with shadows in Estonia M and J Studios
Photographed by M & J Studios - Estonia wedding photographers
Face to face brides portrait Clewell Photography
Photographed by Clewell Photography - St. Paul, Minnesota, wedding photographer
Sunset kiss Carolina Rivera Photography
Photographed by Carolina Rivera Photography - Clifton, New Jersey, wedding photographer
Bride in circle of light Wes Shinn Photography and Film
Photographed by Wes Shinn Photography and Film - Outer Banks, North Carolina, wedding photographer

Beautiful Backgrounds
Whether it's a field of wildflowers, a beach at sunset, or a forest bathed in golden light, the scenery during golden hour comes alive like no other time, adding depth and beauty to your wedding photos. 

Backlit couple against trees M. Hart Photo Los Angeles California
Photographed by M. Hart - Los Angeles, California, wedding photographer
Elopement couple walking portrait Glacier National Park Lake with reflection Carrie Ann Photography
Photographed by Carrie Ann Photography - Montana wedding photographer
Bride and groom silhouetted under dark cloudy sunset Liam and Bee
Photographed by Liam and Bee - UK wedding photographers
Couple portrait under beautiful tree at sunset Ben Connolly Creative
Photographed by Ben Connolly Creative - Sunshine Coast, Australia wedding photographer
Orange sunset couple pose in mountain lake Carrie Ann Photography
Photographed by Carrie Ann Photography - Montana wedding photographer

Emotional Impact

This type of light is perfect for evoking a sense of timeless nostalgia and romance, thus enhancing the emotional impact of photos.

Couple on sunset tropical beach Poptelecan Ionut Photography
Photographed by Poptelecan Ionut Photography - Romania wedding photographer
Golden hour couple walk Michael Freas
Photographed by Michael Freas Photography - Asheville, North Carolina, and Key West, Florida, wedding photographer
Silhouette couple holding hands Garrentee Photography
Photographed by GarrenTee Photography - Vermont wedding photographer
Landscape couple walking toward sunset Joe Payne Photography
Photographed by Joe Payne Photography - North Carolina wedding photographer
Silhouette couple under big red sky J. La Plante Photo
Photographed by J. La Plante Photo - Denver, Colorado, wedding photographer

Flattering Light
Casting soft shadows and minimizing harsh contrasts, the golden hour brings out the best lighting scenario for natural-looking photos without the need for flash.

Couple walking in fields of gold Amy Sampson Photography
Photographed by Amy Sampson Photography - UK wedding photographer
Long shot of couple in epic waterfall at golden hour Miguel Ponte
Photographed by Miguel Ponte Wedding Photography - Portugal wedding photographer
Couple at sunset with reflection in water Talitha Tarro Photography
Photographed by Talitha Tarro Photography - New Mexico wedding photographer
Golden hour kiss on country road Ruan Redelinghuys Photography
Photographed by Ruan Redelinghuys - George, South Africa, wedding photographer
Sunset against sea silhouette couple portrait Sicily Nino Lombardo
Photographed by Nino Lombardo Photography - Sicily, Italy, wedding photographer

If you’re getting married, chances are your photographers will suggest shooting during the golden hour because the soft, diffused light is a natural retoucher—erasing blemishes, blurring imperfections and giving subjects a gorgeous glow!

Overall, golden hour wedding photography offers a perfect combination of natural beauty, emotional impact, and flattering lighting, making this time of day the most popular choice for couples looking to capture magical looking portraits and moments.

To see all the ways our member wedding photographers stand out from the crowd, check out our world-class directory. When your wedding means the world to you, this is where you’ll find your photographer!