Photo Tech An Easy Guide on The Magic Hour Photography for The Newbie

An Easy Guide on The Magic Hour Photography for The Newbie

We usually come across the terms the Magic Hour, The golden in case of photography. These are not too harsh terms, again not that simple unless you have less knowledge about this. My experience says many photographers are still an amateur but have wrong ideas about the magic hour. Some of them very often amalgamate between the Magic Hour and the Golden Hour. The golden hour is one type of the magic hour. Today I shall take an endeavor for the amateur photographers who have less idea about the magic hour so that they can utilize this precious time in their photography.

The Magic Hour Puzzle


In this article, I shall try to explain the topic easily so that the new photographers with less knowledge can understand the basis of it and thereby become able to solve the puzzle of this hour. At the same time, I take as a learning session for me too because telling someone about something is another kind of study. So, Let’s start with it.

the light distribution

Light Family


Different kind of light is available in different time of the day and night. The vocabulary of these times is done basing on some criteria like color, contrast, temperature, tenure, etc. Before jumping into the magic hour, we should know what the other hours in the light family are. Usually, in 24 hours, we get a whole six kinds of lights or light hours. They are:

  • Night Time
  • Morning Twilights
  • Morning Magic Hours
  • Daytime
  • Evening Magic Hours
  • Evening Twilights

There are subdivisions of some of them which I shall mention later. But These six light time/ hours come in cyclic order. The cycle is as such:

light cycle and the magic hour

The Magic Hour


Now we come to our primary business, that is the magic hour. This hour comes twice a day. Once in the morning as Morning Magic Hour and once in the evening as Evening Magic Hour. However, both of them have the same behavior. It has got two categories, the blue hour and the golden hour. So, We can say that the magic hour is a time where two types of colors (blue and golden) appear in the sky twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening for a certain period depending on few factors. It can be kind of a definition for the magic hour.

Deeper Into The Magic Hour


For understanding the magic hour, we need to understand it’s two component which otherwise makes the magic hour. Already I have mentioned that the golden hour and the blue hour together makes a magic hour. So, let’s dig deeper into the magic hour by knowing more about the golden hour and the blue hour. I have already discussed the golden hour in my article An Ultimate Guide For Shooting The Golden Hour Photography even though I am going to touch upon both the golden hour and the blue hour.

The Blue Hour


The blue hour is that time of the day when the light color becomes light blue to dark blue, which comes twice a day and usually sustains from 30 – 40 minutes more or less depending on few factors. The factors which determine the tenure of the blue hour the geographic location, season, amount of particles in the atmosphere, pollutions, etc. During this hour the sky has a deep blue hue with cold color temperature and saturated colors. You will see a mixture of blue and orange glow in the sky where the whole atmosphere will be blue, and the skyline will be orange.

the magic hour and blue hour

The blue morning hour starts when the sun is at -6° and terminates when the sun is at -4°. In the case of the evening the blue hour begins when the sun is at -4° and ends when the sun is at -6°.  This hour of the magic hour is good for Urban Photography, landscape photography, Architectural Photography, Long Exposure Photography, Light Trail Photography, etc.

The Golden Hour


The Golden Hour is that time of the day when the light color becomes yellow, orange or golden, which also comes twice a day and usually sustains from 30- 40 minutes more or less depending on few factors. The Factors on which the tenure of the golden hour depends is the same as the factors of the blue hour. During this time the sky ranges color from yellow, orange, red or even golden. The hour is not only golden by color, but this is also a golden hour for photography due to its magical effects on the reproduction.

the magic hour and golden hour

The morning golden hour starts when the sun is at -4° and terminates 6° while the evening begins at 6° terminating it at -4°. The golden morning hour starts after the blue hour and the golden evening hour starts after the daytime. LIke the blue hour, the golden hour is also good for Urban Photography, landscape photography, Architectural Photography, Long Exposure Photography, Light Trail Photography, etc.

For more about The Golden Hour read: An Ultimate Guide For Shooting The Golden Hour Photography

Extract of The Magic Hour


Now we can say that the blue hour is an hour when we can see the primary colors like blue, sky blue, deep blue, yellow, orange, golden. These are closer to the colors of the rainbow. In the morning it starts with the start of the blue hour when the sun shines at -6° and terminates with the end of the golden hour when the sun is at 6°. In the evening it starts with the start of the golden hour when the sun shines at 6° and terminates with the end of the blue hour when the sun is at -6°.

the magic hour chart

When it Starts and How to Understand?


It is straightforward nowadays to find the starting time of the magic hour and the golden hour. There are numerous apps for both android and ios which will allow you to know the magic hour. They not only tell you about the magic hour but also say the hours specifically. You can identify the golden hour of your location using http://www.golden-hour.com/ site. I use an app named golden hour which tells me all the hours of a day of own position.

the magic hour app
An app which will show you all timings

the magic hour app for it
In One Page it will show you all the schedules of your location

Final thoughts 


For any photography, we need light. We always search for the best light for any photography. From a long time, it is proved and agreed by all that the magic hour is one of the best time for any photography. So, we must utilize the magic hour for doing better photography. But, before that, we need to know about it accurately. I hope this article will help you to get the basic ideas about the magic hour.

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