Best Golden Hour Calculators & Apps – Magic, Blue, and Sunrise Times
In photography, a Golden Hour calculator finds the first or last moments of sunlight where the indirect light is evenly diffused and helps produce a softer and more warm light.
With the Sun being in a low position, the sunlight acquires warm, orange tones and the shadows become very long. This is definitely something we try to take advantage of in our photography.
Below we’ll go over its meaning, the reason it’s important for photography, and some great Golden Hour time apps to help you calculate it at any time and in any city of the world.
When is the Golden Hour time?
Although it is spoken of as a magic hour, it does not mean that it actually lasts an hour. The duration depends on the latitude at which we are and the time of year, so they are rather moments of light. That is why it is difficult to give an exact definition of when is the golden hour, but it can be roughly defined by the sun’s position in the sky:
- The golden hour time is between 6 ° and -4 °. It is just before the sun hides and a little afterward.
- The blue hour is between -4º and -6º. It is when the sun has recently gone past the horizon.
- Twilight is between -6º and -12º. It is when the sun has already been hidden for a while, but there is still a bit of light.
Although not as popular, it also applies to the sunrise times in the morning as well. Just take the previous description and apply it backward. Don’t let stupendous light escape your next photographs by checking out some of the twilight photography & golden hour time apps below!
Best Golden Hour Photography Apps
There are multiple calculators to help find what time is golden hour today in your area, but the following three are our all-time favorites to find that magical hour for photography. We use them all the time in order to set the best times for our vacation photoshoots around the world. Below are the best golden hour photography apps & time calculators:
The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a very well-known software developed by Crookneck Consulting that we personally use to help find the perfect times for photography in destinations all over the world. It helps calculate the golden hour in your city, and you can see lighting conditions at certain times of the day to schedule your photoshoots. The Photographer’s Ephemeris also has a timeline feature that allows you to observe the exact direction of sunrise and sunset, and it also tracks the moon’s movement throughout the day.
Set your location, set the date, and receive all sorts of information regarding lighting from the Sun and Moon. It helps calculate the exact sunrise, sunset, Magic hour, and Blue Hour times, and even shadows at certain times of the day! Drag & drop the location pin or select your destination on the map and the golden hour time app will provide all the information you’ll need, whether you need the time for today, tomorrow, in the future, or in the past.
To find what time is Golden Hour today, we also use the time app GoldenHour.One by Hana Kusova. It will help you find the best time for natural light based on your location. As photographers, we work with light since it is our “raw material”. Like any other element or ingredient, light has properties and GoldenHour.One focuses on these to give you the most useful information possible.
Check out their “Sky Index” which shows the probability of having a dramatic sky that day, or the “Light Index” which determines the local quality of light and temperature. It will help you find the perfect time to go out and take beautiful photos!
PhotoPills is known as the photographer’s swiss army app. It has tons of features (too many to cover here), but the most important ones are:
- Planner: Find a good location at a certain time OR find the best date & time at a specific location.
- Augmented Reality: Superimpose the position and path of the sun and moon, as well as the directions of the sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset.
- Sun/Moon: See important times such as sunrise, golden hour, blue hour, moonrise, & twilight in any location.
- Photography Calculators: calculate hyperfocal distance, depth-of-field, subject distance, or even exposure time for long exposures.
Simple Sunset Calculator
Roughly speaking, the golden hour is the one magical hour of light before sunset and one hour after sunrise. Depending on the season & your location, the time range may be a lot shorter or longer. Enter your city below to see what time is golden hour today using Google:
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