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  • Writer's pictureFiona Bielby

THE GOLDEN HOUR SESSION, on your wedding day.

You may have heard photographers talk about golden hour, as a photographer we just assume everyone knows when it is and what it is. Last year, I was asked on several occasions by couples what it was, so I thought I'd write this to help my future couples, that way you can decide whether or not you'd like to prioritise this as part of your day.

Golden hour in the woods at Camp Katur

The couple are walking and laughing at golden hour, they're at Deepdale Farm Wedding Venue

At Bunnyhimm Weddings, the couple are forming a silhouette under the tree, the golden rays are peeking out from behind the bride.

Deepdale Farm, the couple embrace in the golden sunrays

A walk along York City Walls with the bride and groom, as golden hour hoits the city

When the Sun is close to the horizon on a sunny day, its light appears warmer and softer. This makes the golden hour, it can happen twice a day (sunrise and sunset) if we're lucky; I'm not going to lie, I generally only see one of them in summer. Golden hour can also be known as the magical hour, the very fact that I'm writing this should let you know, this time of day is popular with photographers and filmmakers. I absolutely love it. The colours, hazes and tones are pretty intense and incredible.

Given you can't really appreciate them with the naked eye, photography has given us chance to experiment and freeze this time of day, so we can finally see it for ourselves.

The term golden hour can indeed be a little misleading, with golden hour not generally lasting a full hour at all, in fact it can be a very small window of time depending on the weather conditions on the day. If you like the idea of portraits at golden hour it's a good idea to chat about this with myself or indeed your chosen photographer ahead of time. Depending on the time of year, the window of time in which you're going to achieve the most incredible photos changes, as you now know golden hour coincides with sunrise and sunset.

To plan ahead, take a look at this golden hour calculator to get a rough idea of what time it will be when you get married.

On the farm in north yorkshire, the couple kiss in the golden rays of the sun, their combine harvester in forming a silhouette in the background.

Walking hand in hand across the stubble field at the Normans, near York. The sun is setting in the distance.

At White Sykes Fields, the couple are stood enjoying the golden sun on their skin.

The the meadow at Camp Katur at sunset, the image still looks good in black and white.


*If you think golden hour is for you, bear this mind, when it comes to planning significant events in your day, if you're having a winter wedding, golden hour can be anywhere between 3.30pm and 4pm which can very often collide with either your speeches or dinner. Photographers can get a bad name for disturbing you during this period of the day; even so, we know how incredible these photos can be and because not everyone is blessed with the right conditions, we feel passionate about trying to get the best for you on your wedding day. *Communicate with your caterers or venue coordinator, if these photos are important to you, it's your wedding day, these are your memories, so stick to your guns and tell them you might be diving out for 10-15 minutes as the puddings comes out or just before the speeches. That way they'll know exactly what we're up to and will be totally, on board with our actions. 🙈😂

Sunset in the city of York


-Do you always get a golden hour?

Sadly, we don't always get the benefits of golden hour everyday of the year. If it's dull and over cast, you will unfortunately not always get the amazing sunset you desire, but if I know it's important to you, I will keep my eyes peeled and grab you when the time is right, even if we only land 5 minutes it could be worth a try..

-Should we schedule a time for these photos?

Not necessarily, we don't alway get the light we want at that given time. We can check the calculator and say roughly between X and Y times, but I'll grab you when I'm happy with the intensity.

I like to let my couples know that I'm watching and then grab them when the time is right, be aware that when I come and grab you you need to be as quick as you can, (depending on the day) all too often I have couples who say they want these and they they get caught up talking and end up missing it.

If they are important to you, you must be prepared to up and leave, talk about the photos with your guests and pre-warn them, that way they'll be more understanding at that given time.

-How long will the session take?

If we get the right conditions on your day, the session doesn't have to take forever. I usually recommend between 10-15 minutes, that way we should be able to get you a nice variety and I will have already scouted out a good location for them, so we can get straight to it.

-Do you think we should have them?

Of course! But it's totally up to you, these are your photos, not mine. Do what you want to, but also look to your future self and think will I regret my choice if I decide not do this?

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