I've always wondered how these pictures are taken. They have a very "bright" feel to them. And it feels that they are "bathed" in golden sun light.

I understand that I have to take this during the golden hour. But even then, I don't get the same results. Is there a specific technique? Should I try to overexpose things?

Do I need to point it to the sun at a certain direction?

enter image description here


2 Answers 2


You need to shoot at either sunrise or set (sunset is generally warmer in tone), when the sun is very low in the sky. Shoot with the sun behind the model (taking care not to look directly at it if possible). As you are shooting into the sun, you need some light source to light the front of your model: this could either be a diffused flash or a reflector.

As you will be exposing for the model, who is obviously not as bright as the sun, the sky and sun will be overexposed, creating the characteristic bright look.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's often repeated in answers to similar questions, but you don't generally need additional light or reflectors when shooting into a really low sun, the sun's brightness is greatly reduced and the open sky is usually bright enough to provide diffused light on your subject. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Jul 7, 2014 at 11:51

There's a bit of post production going on in that image that is probably clouding things somewhat.

If you look at the area at the top of the image it's clearly been blown out (overexposed) and then brought back from pure white to a dirty grey pink colour. This says to me two things - the contrast of the image has been lowered so that the blacks and whites become dark and light grey, and secondly that a red tint has been applied to the image that has made the highlights go pink.

In general you want to be shooting when the sun is low in the sky and to try an invoke flare by having the sun just out of frame.

But in a pinch you can reduce contrast and tint the image to look like flare, as was done in this case.


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