Top Tips for Blue Hour Photography

If you’re looking for intriguing and magical lighting conditions to enhance your outdoor photography, the Blue Hour is a must! The hour before sunrise and after sunset is tinged blue thanks to the sun’s position below the horizon line. Here are some ideas on how to get the best out of this magic hour, and capture some stunning photographs that are packed with atmosphere!

Plan Your Shoot

Featured Frame: Pedraza Black (Small)

Contrary to its name, the blue hour doesn’t always last an hour! Depending on where you are in the world and the time of year, this period just before sunrise and just after sunset can be anywhere from a few minutes to up to an hour. Have your location well scouted out and prepare well in advance! Look up weather information, as well as when the sun rises, making sure to arrive at least an hour and a half before to give yourself ample time.

Work in Low Light

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The Blue Hour is celebrated for its beautiful light, but shooting in low light needs a little preparation! Setting up a tripod and using a remote shutter release will help you keep your camera still and capture a clear image. Use a low ISO to reduce the image noise that comes with low light, and use the shutter speed to control the level of exposure. Start with a long speed, and shorten it if the scene is overexposed. As you get more confident, you can tweak the combination of ISO, shutter speed and aperture size for best results.

Use Other Light Sources

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Blue Hour Photography works really well with cityscapes and other scenes with artificial light sources. The orange hue of incandescent light is a natural complementary colour to the blue of the sky, plus the extra light makes it perfect for shooting in these conditions for the first time. Find interesting light sources, such as buildings, street lights, and neon signs that you can use in your shots.

Shoot Continuously

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Though sometimes it’s imperceptible, the sky is changing rapidly at this time of day! Make the most of every minute and shoot frequently to capture the full array of blues and violets you see. The sunrise or sunset that Blue Hour is connected to will be beautiful in its own right, so you can incorporate the Golden Hour that marks the first and last hour of sun in the sky to your shoot! It’s important to have plenty of memory space to shoot on, and fully charged batteries to avoid missing out due to any technical issues.

Study Light and Shadow

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A good understanding of how light works will help you get the best from your photos. During the Blue Hour, the light from the sky is ambient and soft, but you can still achieve striking affects. Here soft light from the skies, a dark silhouette from buildings, and bright light from street lamps all come together to create a lot of atmosphere!

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