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Golden Hour Photography by Erin Morrison

Top 5 Reasons to Schedule Golden Hour Photography

If you look at your Pinterest Board of all those images you want on your wedding day, I guarantee you that you’ve pinned many photos that happened at golden hour. What is golden hour? It’s the magic hour. The light-perfection hour. It’s the best time to take photos on a wedding day. But it doesn’t last long. This short window of pretty light occurs about one hour before the sunset (depending on the venue). Whether you are planning on doing a First Look, or all your photos after the ceremony, this is a time that you don’t want to miss on your wedding day. Below are the Top 5 Reasons to Schedule Golden Hour Photography.

Golden Hour Photography in field with bride and groom

1. The Light

Light is the single MAIN thing we look for when shooting on a wedding day. Where is it? How do we get more of it? Or less of it? How do we use it to make you look freaking amazing? So, think of golden hour as nature’s perfect filter for photos as it creates an amazing, soft light that is perfect for photos. And it’s perfect for virtually any type of photography. Such as portraits or landscape settings. Shooting during this timeframe always provides fantastic images. Even a non-photographer can see the appeal of taking photographs during such a beautiful time of the day!

Now, despite it’s name, golden hour doesn’t necessarily have to mean a nice sunset. Even if the day is cloudy, the light is still ideal at this time. The shadows are soft, and the subjects (AKA the amazing wedding couple) are basked in an even glow. Don’t be bummed by a cloudy day! Embrace it!

2. Back-Up Portrait Time

Let’s be real here. Weddings are messy and things don’t always go as planned. Having additional time scheduled on your wedding day is always a plus. If for some reason the timeline gets pushed back and portraits are cut short (due to hair and makeup or weather), this time is already scheduled in as an extra bonus.

This back-up time is particularly more common in the summertime when sunset isn’t until 8:30pm or later. For winter wedding couples, work with your professional wedding photographer to create a timeline that works well with an earlier sunset. This may be an earlier ceremony time or scheduling your couple photos right before you walk down the aisle.

Golden Hour Photography at Riverview Family Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee
VENUE: Riverview Family Farm

3. Additional Portrait Locations

If you are considering an Aisle Look for your wedding then ALL of your couple photos will be during this time. Which is great! For the couples that chose a First Look, don’t worry. You can definitely schedule golden hour photography to your wedding day timeline. It is what we would prefer! That way, you get so many different location choices on your wedding day.

There are some places on a wedding day that we just don’t want to photograph couples at. Why? Because the scene is just not the best. It may be too bright, too hot, or just too inconvenient. Those East Tennessee fields are beautiful, but you will roast in them at 3pm. Instead, the perfect time is at golden hour where it’s cooler and the light is softer. The quarry overlook at The Quarry Venue is a perfect place for photos. But, it is really difficult and time-consuming to get to. Scheduling that time after the ceremony when your guests are happily eating cake is a win-win for everyone.

4. Alone Time

Golden hour photography can be some of the most romantic and beautiful keepsake portraits for couples from their wedding day. It’s also a time for the wedding couple to take a moment to reflect. Pause. Soak up the wedding day. At this point, much of the hustle and bustle is complete. Take this small window of time to be truly grateful for your day. Love on each other a just a little bit more, and to soak in some gorgeous, warm sunlight before going back to your reception. I promise you will not regret it. And once it’s over, we will send you back into your reception to kick off that dance floor!

Golden Hour Photography at Meadhaven Wedding Venue

5. Consider Blue Hour

Shoot! Did we miss golden hour? No worries! Even after the sun has set, there is still enough light to take some awesome photos. Blue hour is something that isn’t talked about, but it’s definitely a real thing. Blue hour is when the sun is below the horizon, and the surroundings take a predominately blue shade. Photos during this time are low-lit and intimate. Think about bringing a candle or a sparkler to get a few kissing photos of you and your new spouse. The photo-taking opportunities at this time are endless!  

Golden Hour Photography at Hiwassee River Weddings
VENUE: Hiwassee River Weddings

Pro-Tips for Golden Hour Photography

Work with your photographer and coordinator to actually plan for this time of your day. Depending on your sunset and ceremony time, golden hour photography can occur at any time! This includes before or after your ceremony, before your reception, or in–between toasts or cake-cutting.

Allot enough time for these photos – if you are able to sneak away while guests are enjoying the reception make sure that you schedule sufficient time. Do you need to travel out to an area or can you get those photos just outside the venue? 15-20 minutes is usually enough time to make these photos happen.

Freshen up!  Yall, it’s been a busy day. So take a few moments for you both to freshen up and touch up those drinks and head on out for golden hour photography.

Grab that bouquet! You spent a hella-lot on that bundle of flowers. Bring them!

smoke bomb golden hour photos at wedding

Knoxville Wedding Photographer

Thank you so much for hanging with me for a blog post on golden hour photography. Make sure that you check my Just A Tip page where we talk about engagement photos, timelines, special events, and more! In my seven years as a Knoxville wedding photographer, I have learned a thing or two about wedding days. If you are interested in me hanging with you on your big day, please feel free to contact me at any time!

Top 5 Reasons to Schedule Golden Hour Photography


Natural light + honest photographer for all humans.


Knoxville, Tennessee



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