I have spent my entire career chasing golden hour. That moment during the day when everything is bathed in gold, and the light is magical and dreamy. Yet I didn't wait for the magic that happens directly after. Blue Hour.
Blue Hour starts the moment the sun sinks below the horizon. It isn't dark yet, as the sun is still lighting up the atmosphere. And that's the moment when the light is the easiest to work with. It is soft, directional, and it lasts between 10 to 20 minutes. More and more, I have scheduled my sessions to end 20 minutes after sunset. My clients are always surprised when I tell them the time. "We won't have light!", they say. "Can we do it a little before?" But I tell you now: Trust me! Here is why!
The Light is super Soft
As soon as the sun sinks bellow the horizon and wishes us good night, the ambient light becomes very soft. That is because as a light source, the sun is quite a harsh light.
So anyway... no direct sun = really soft, magical, and perfect light to work with. It is flattering on EVERYBODY. In these conditions, I can also shoot from every angle, so it allows you a lot of movement and freedom. Best thing is: whatever we do, it is going to be beautiful!
What I always suggest to my couples is to start the session just before the golden hour peak starts (for 1h sessions that would be 40-30 mins before sunset), so we can have the dreamy light. Then we end when the sky is dark and it's not possible to shoot without doing long exposure.
The Sky is Colourful
You will wish for a little bit of clouds in your sky that day. That is what creates those beautiful colourful sunsets. The more humidity or fog in the air, the more colourful it'll get. Sometimes the best sunsets happen just after rain or a storm, when there is a gap between the clouds and the horizon. That is when the clouds get these pink and orange tones. So even if the weather is bad during the day, if the forecast is a clearer sky at sunset, don't postpone your session!
THE CITY IS MOST MAGICAL AT NIGHT
The best time to do a city session, is when the lights turn on. It just creates that perfect atmosphere. It is romantic, whimsical, and different. Plus, there might be less people in the streets, so it's a little less intimidating. Vienna is the perfect city to do an evening session in. With its gorgeous architecture, you'll find beauty in every corner.
You can add lights
Fairy lights, lanterns, candles, car lights, sparklers, name it! It creates cozy a cocoon of light around you. A little comfort nook! It adds so much romance to your session, and you feel protected somehow! I sat once in the set up I did for my couple (view photo bellow), and I was surprised at how otherworldly it felt to be there. I was within the light in the darkness. Protected, warm, and safe.
I have several options for you to choose from if you are interested in this. And I offer special sessions where I build a set for you to enjoy. That really helps bring the deeper connection between the two of you, and a real night photo session is included in it. It starts before golden hour and ends when the stars come out!
We Can Be Creative With the Sky
It is hard to photograph the night sky and expose the subject right at the same time. Plus, the stars make an appearance quite late during the evening, so it isn't practical to wait that long before doing the session. Doing a night photo session is possible, but it has it's challenges. So sometimes what I do is take a photo during the end of blue hour, when it starts to be dark, and add the sky later in post production. I have tons of photos of stars and moon, I'll be happy to use them.
YOU CAN GO STARGAZING
With a flash, or lanterns, car lights, or hiking lights, it is possible to do a real night session. First, you need a clear sky. Clouds will block the view. Plus, they will be blurry since we need to expose longer for the stars. It can be pretty, but it's not ideal.
Second, if what you want to see are the stars and the Milky Way, then you need to have a moonless night. Why? The moon is just too bright! Expose long enough and it will light up the scene as if it was day. It is gorgeous though! I would suggest to try it if that's what we have! The only downside is that a lot of photos will be posed, because you will have to stay still for a few seconds during the long exposure. We can do artistic blur and dance under the moonlight, but you'd want your session to have clear shots as well.
That said, blue hour sessions are my favourite kind of sessions! And know you can see why! So, are you ready for night time magic? I am well prepared for these kind of sessions, so don't hesitate to contact me if you want something different!