How to Use the Magic Hour to Improve Your Photography

For those who don’t know, the “magic hour” is that part of the day when the sun is rising or setting. Most landscape photographers wait for this time of the day in order to get better results in their landscape shots. In this video, Corey Rich elaborates a bit on how he takes advantage of this golden light in his workflow:

Rich explains the process of layering key and interesting elements in a single picture. He says getting up early and staying out late to shoot is the key to getting a good picture.

beautiful landscape during magic hour

But it’s not just about finding good light. Rich emphasizes that utilizing the magic hour is only the first layer in the makeup of a compelling image.

How to Create a Compelling Photo

Rich credits many of his successful photos to these four steps (or layers):

  1. Be outside during magic hour.
  2. Find interesting subject matter.
  3. Build a great composition.
  4. Wait for your subject to be in the right place.
magic hour shot of a float plane

Corey Rich likes this shot because it layers multiple elements to create an interesting image.

It’s all about working the scene and putting the odds in your favor. Rich captured a great shot. He got lucky because he was out shooting during the magic hour and had the patience to wait for the perfect scene to unfold.

“If you take anything away from this episode, I hope it’s ‘Get there early and stay there late.’ Be outside. Be in your environment during that magic hour. Utilize that first light of the day and the last light of the day, because that light is one magic element in making stunning photographs.”

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