Use Magic Hour Photography to Make Projects Pop

“Magic Hour” is a term used by photographers and cinematographers referring to the period of time before and after sunset or sunrise.

Because the sun is so low in the sky, the quality of light takes on a golden color and a soft and beautiful quality.   Magic hour extends to after the sun is below the horizon and ends when the sky turns black.  This time of day can be a wonderful time for photographing buildings.  In fact, buildings that are ordinary looking during daytime can look extraordinary at sunset.  While not every building can look good at sunset, it helps enormously if the building has exterior lighting, neon signage, and lit windows.  Retail properties, especially, can look quite sexy if they have colorful neon signs.  Office buildings look particularly good when they have lit windows.  Buildings with no windows or exterior lighting, such as industrial buildings, are usually not good candidates for magic hour photography.

The duration of magic hour varies according to the time of year.  It is longest during the summer, especially close to the summer solstice, and can last up to forty minutes.  It is shortest in the winter and can last as little as ten minutes.  The length of magic hour has a direct effect upon how much photography can be done in a session.  For example, if a large shopping center with many stores needs to be photographed, only a limited number of photographs can be taken if magic hour only lasts 15 minutes.  In addition, exposure times for photographing sunset scenes can range between one and thirty seconds.  Scenes capturing the headlights of passing cars can involve exposure times of one to two minutes.

Because of the long exposure times involved in magic hour photography, capturing people in scenes may result in blurred or “ghosted” figures. People can be photoshopped into shots, if necessary, but this can be a time consuming process.  Sunset skies in Los Angeles can often lack drama and are usually cloudless, taking on a deep blue color.  Photoshop can be used to replace plain skies with beautiful sunset clouds for added drama.

Please take a look at our Magic Hour Gallery

Pasadena Towers 800 E. Colorado Blvd.

Pasadena Towers – Day versus Sunset

 

 

Pasadena Towers

Pasadena Towers

 

The Shops at Crystals - Las Vegas

The Shops at Crystals – Las Vegas

 

15 & 25 Enterprise, Aliso Viejo

15 & 25 Enterprise, Aliso Viejo

 

8th & Hope apartment tower rooftop terrace - Los Angeles

8th & Hope Apartment Tower Rooftop Terrace

 

The Shops at Crystals - Las Vegas

The Shops at Crystals – Las Vegas

 

East Puente Hills Mall sunset

East Puente Hills Mall

 

PalmTerrace at sunset

Palm Terrace

 

Los Angeles Times Building and Los Angeles City Hall at night

Los Angeles Times Building & City Hall

 

5410 Wilshire building at sunset

5410 Wilshire Building

 

Aon Building Aerial - Downtown Los Angeles at sunset

Aon Building Aerial – Downtown Los Angeles

 

East Puente Hills Mall sunset

East Puente Hills Mall

 

Downtown Los Angeles - Aerial Sunset Magic Hour

Downtown Los Angeles – Aerial

 

1055 E. Colorado building Pasadena CA

1044 E. Colorado, Pasadena CA

 

Staples Center and LA Live South Park Aerial - Downtown Los Angeles

Staples Center and LA Live – South Park Aerial – Downtown Los Angeles

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