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I capture the unspoken — the glances, the silences — drawing from New York's pulse and the richness of global cultures. Every wedding is its own intricate narrative. Rooted in theatre and life's everyday rhythms, I document moments both transient and timeless. 

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How to Capture Incredible Golden Hour Wedding Photos

While all wedding photos are amazing and tell the story of such an incredible day in a couple’s lives, golden hour wedding photos are special. They feel so romantic and grand, even if it is just capturing the most intimate moment between you and your partner. 

As an NYC wedding photographer, I have taken thousands of golden hour photos and they are such an incredible addition to any wedding album. While it is definitely easier to capture them at some weddings than others due to many different factors, if you can get them for your photos, I would highly recommend doing it! 

Let’s take a deeper look into what golden hour actually is and how you can get the best golden hour wedding photos on your big day!  

What Exactly is Golden Hour? 

Radiant couple laughing together, the bride in a lace-detailed gown and the groom in a sleek black tuxedo with a boutonniere, against a vibrant floral backdrop

Before we jump into how to get the best golden hour photos, let’s talk about what golden hour is exactly. A lot of times, people will use golden hour and sunset interchangeably, but there is actually a difference between the two (although both of them are amazing times to get wedding photos). 

Golden hour refers to the hour before the sun actually sets. This is the time where the sun can still be seen on the horizon and everything is washed with a golden glow. Now, even though we say “the hour before,” it’s never really guaranteed that this will be a full hour. Most of the time, golden hour will last for about 45 minutes so it is not the biggest window of time to capture photos. 

Sunset, on the other hand, is when the sun has actually set, but the clouds and the sky are still lit up. This is also an amazing time to capture some portraits and can oftentimes help to create a beautiful contrast between you and the sky! 

Tips for Golden Hour Wedding Photos 

Scout out locations ahead of time 


One of the best tips I can give is to scout out locations ahead of time. Since the sun often can set very quickly, you don’t want to miss out on these photos because you are trying to find the perfect spot. 

In general, the best places for golden hour photos are going to be spots where you have an unobstructed view of the sun. If you are having an outdoor wedding or something in a more rural area, this may be a bit easier to find. 

If you are planning a wedding in the city, a great way to get this view is to find a rooftop where you can be above some of the other buildings in the area that may be blocking the horizon! 

Know exactly when sunset is going to take place 

Couple sharing a quiet moment, with the bride leaning on the groom's shoulder, both smiling joyfully, dressed in elegant wedding attire amidst a sunlit grove

Knowing when sunset is going to take place is crucial to these photos. Obviously, sunset is going to be at a different time every day and will be much earlier in the winter months than in the summer months. 

Be sure to check when sunset is actually going to be on the day of your wedding so you have a better idea of when golden hour is going to take place and when you should head out for your photos. 

Keep in mind, too, that because sunset does happen much earlier in the winter than other months, it may be more difficult to capture golden hour photos. For example, if the sun is setting at 5pm and your ceremony is at 5pm, you may not be able to get them. 

However, there are still so many amazing photos you can capture year round regardless of when and where your wedding is! 

This is also important when it comes to the actual scheduling of your wedding timeline. You want to make sure that you are not having things happen (like toasts or cake cutting) during this time so that you and your partner can slip out for a little bit to catch these photos. 

It is also a great idea to let your DJ know when you are going to be leaving to take these photos just in case they need to fill any time as you are gone! 

Head out for the photos well before golden hour actually is 

Joyful bridal party posing on a rooftop, with bridesmaids in gray dresses holding bouquets of pink peonies, and the bride in a lace gown, smiling widely

Like I said earlier, you’d be surprised at how fast the sun can set until you are trying to capture a photo of it. If you can, head out well before golden hour actually is so that you and your partner can get ready and find the perfect spot before that time hits. 

This will definitely depend on your schedule, but if you can plan to head out to take these photos at least 10-15 minutes before golden hour actually starts, you will definitely feel way less stressed and rushed when it comes to actually taking the posts. 

Be sure to also know how long it is going to take you to get to the location(s) you scouted out ahead of time and account for that in your timing as well! 

Have anything you want included in the photos on hand 


Just like any of your other photos during your wedding day, be sure to have anything you want included in the golden hour wedding photos on hand. This may be something as simple as just some flowers or anything else that is important to you. 

While this may seem like an obvious thing, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to misplace something like your bouquet during your wedding. You may put it down somewhere to talk to a guest and completely forget where you put it. 

If you can, I would suggest having someone (like someone in your wedding party) hold onto anything you need for these photos so you don’t have to go around searching for something before you can actually head out to take the photos! 

Make sure anyone else involved in the photos is in the loop

Large wedding party standing on a lush golf course, with bridesmaids in cream dresses and groomsmen in white suits with orange accents, embodying a chic, coordinated look

Finally, make sure that anyone else involved in the photos is in the loop. Most of the time, golden hour wedding photos will just be portraits between you and your partner. But, at the end of the day, your wedding is your wedding and you can include anyone you want in these photos. 

You may want to take this time to capture some beautiful photos with your parents, your wedding parties, or anyone else important to you in your lives. If you do plan on having them be a part of the photos, be sure they know exactly when and where they are needed. 

I would definitely recommend having someone else be in charge of getting these people together. You will have enough going on during this time, so it is definitely easier to have someone else handle this. 

Also, keep in mind that golden hour is very short. Although you may want to include more people, you will have a pretty strict time frame for these photos so the fewer the people the better. 

And, if you choose to just take these photos with your partner and no one else, that is perfect too! It will give the two of you a bit more time and allow you to capture even more dreamy photos during golden hour! 

Final Thoughts on Wedding Photos at Golden Hour

Hopefully these tips help you and your partner get the most amazing golden hour wedding photos. If you are able to capture them at your wedding, I promise you, you will not be disappointed by what you get. 

This is also the perfect time to get portraits if you and your partner want to focus on spending more time actually enjoying your wedding. Since this is only about 45 minutes or so out of your wedding day, you’ll be able to spend the rest of the time with your friends and family and still get stunning photos to look back on for years to come. 

If you and your partner are still looking for the perfect person to capture these golden hour photos and all of the moments during your wedding day, I’d love to chat! You can click here to learn more about my wedding photography services or you can head over here if you have any questions or want to get in touch about your special day! 

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