How to Take Golden Hour Selfies and Why You Should

Golden light gently kisses the landscape, casting a warm hue that softens features and illuminates with a subtle glow. This elusive time, when the sun hovers near the horizon just after sunrise or before sunset, is known as the golden hour. It creates a magical environment perfect for capturing stunning selfies. The soft light minimizes harsh shadows, emphasizes details, and flatters your skin tone, making for an impeccable photograph. Let’s dive into how you can harness this ethereal light to snap that picture-perfect golden hour selfie.

how to take golden hour selfies and why you should

Master Your Timing

Before you can take a golden hour selfie, you need to know when the golden hour occurs. It’s that special time just after sunrise or just before sunset when the light is at its most flattering.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Find out the golden hour: Use a golden hour calculator or app that provides the golden hour times based on your location.
  2. Plan ahead: Remember that golden hour doesn’t last long—typically less than an hour. So, check the time and plan to set up your selfie session in advance.
  3. Monitor the weather: Clear skies are ideal for golden hour photography. Keep an eye on the weather to make sure conditions are optimal.


Planning ensures you catch the perfect light, but remember that the exact timing can vary based on where you are and the season. No golden hour? No problem – although the unique lighting won’t be replicable, you can still take good photos at other times with the right techniques.

Scouting Your Location

Choose an environment that complements the golden light. A good location can make your selfies pop with vibrance and depth.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Seek open spaces: Open fields, beaches, or high vantage points can be great.
  2. Consider the background: Look for locations that add aesthetic value to your selfies without distracting from your figure.
  3. Check for obstacles: Ensure there’s nothing to block the golden rays from reaching you.


A well-chosen location enriches your selfie with natural beauty, but beware—it shouldn’t overshadow you, the subject of the photo. And always be aware of your surroundings for safety reasons.

Camera Settings

Using the right camera settings is crucial to capture the soft, warm hues of the golden hour.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Adjust the exposure: Slightly underexpose your photo to maintain the richness of the golden hues.
  2. Work with white balance: Use the ‘shade’ setting to enhance the warm tones.
  3. Use HDR mode: If your phone has an HDR mode, enable it to balance the contrast between light and dark areas.


Tweaking your camera settings can help you retain the beauty of the golden hour light. Practice these adjustments beforehand, so when the golden hour arrives, you’re ready.

The Right Pose

Your pose can capture the mood of the golden hour perfectly. A good pose will look natural and not forced.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Strike a natural pose: Avoid looking stiff. Natural and relaxed poses often look better.
  2. Use props: Occasionally, a prop like a hat or sunglasses can add flair to your selfie.
  3. Play with angles: Try different angles to see which one captures the light and your features best.


Your pose can tell a story, especially with the golden hour’s dramatic lighting. However, don’t let the search for the perfect pose make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable.

Selfie Equipment

Although not necessary, selfie sticks, tripods, or even reflective panels can significantly improve your photography experience.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Selfie stick: Expand your reach and find new angles with a selfie stick.
  2. Tripod: Use a tripod with a timer or a remote shutter for steady shots.
  3. Reflectors: Hold a reflector to bounce light onto dark areas if one side of your face is too shadowed.


This equipment can take your selfie game to the next level, although it means extra gear to carry. Keep it as simple and light as possible for your comfort.

Editing Apps

A little post-processing can turn a good selfie into a great one. There are many apps available that can enhance your golden hour selfies.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Choose the right app: Look for an editing app that’s user-friendly with a good set of features for enhancing light and color.
  2. Limit edits: It’s easy to overdo it with filters and adjustments, so strive for enhancements that look natural.
  3. Learn how to use it: Spend some time getting to know the app before your shoot, so you’re ready to edit afterward.


Post-processing can enhance the beauty of golden hour lighting, but overly edited selfies can look artificial. Aim for subtlety in your adjustments.

Using Shadows Creatively

Shadows during the golden hour are softer and can add depth and interest to your selfies. Use them creatively.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Find interesting patterns: Use shadows cast by trees, window frames, or other objects creatively in your composition.
  2. Experiment with shadow play: Try different poses that interact with the shadows to create artistic effects.
  3. Keep an eye on facial shadows: Ensure the shadows are flattering and do not obscure important facial features.


Shadows can be your friends if used with intention. They add a storytelling element but beware of unwanted dark spots—particularly across your face.

Dress for Success

Your attire can either blend beautifully with the golden glow or clash and distract.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Wear colors that complement the light: Earth tones and pastels often work well with the golden hour’s warm palette.
  2. Avoid busy patterns: Simple designs tend to be less distracting in the soft light.
  3. Reflective accessories: Subtle, shiny accessories can catch the light in interesting ways—but don’t overdo it.


What you wear will greatly affect your picture’s outcome; choose wisely to harmonize with the golden light. However, comfort should still be your priority.

Interaction with the Environment

Your interaction with your surroundings can bring life to your selfies, making them dynamic and interesting.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Engage with your surroundings: Lean against a tree, play with sand at the beach, or simply let the breeze catch your hair.
  2. Be aware of colors and elements in the environment: Use these to create a cohesive composition in your selfie.
  3. Natural movements: Allow for spontaneity in your shots by capturing candid moments.


Interacting with your environment brings authenticity and can evoke emotion. However, don’t let the environment dominate; the focus should remain on you.

Embrace Imperfections

Sometimes imperfections add character to a photo. Don’t discard a selfie just because everything isn’t perfect.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Accept spontaneous moments: A stray wisp of hair or an unexpected photobomber can add uniqueness.
  2. Flaws are natural: Embrace and celebrate small ‘flaws’—they often make for a more engaging selfie.
  3. Share with confidence: Own your selfie as it is, without overthinking the minor imperfections.


Imperfections can make a selfie more relatable and interesting. While striving for a good shot, remember that authenticity often trumps flawlessness.

Experiment with Angles and Perspectives

Experimentation can lead to surprisingly great selfies. Don’t be afraid to change things up.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Change your level: Try shooting from higher or lower than eye level.
  2. Play with distance: Find your camera’s sweet spot for sharpness and depth of field.
  3. Mix it up: Don’t just take a straight-on selfie; angled shots can be more dynamic.


Trying new angles can produce stunning effects, especially with golden hour’s soft light. Yet, ensure clarity and focus so the subject—you—remains the main attraction.

The golden hour lends a touch of the ethereal to the everyday, making it an opportune time for photography enthusiasts and selfie aficionados alike to capture glory. The amalgamation of the right timing, location, pose, and equipment will set the stage for a mesmerizing shot. Editing apps can refine and shadows can define, while attire and interaction add to the narrative being spun. Each shot, its own story; each imperfection, an endearing quirk contributing to the uniqueness of the moment. But remember, while tips and tricks refine, your authenticity shines brightest.

In conclusion, the golden hour is a photographer’s dream, offering a natural filter that makes for beautiful, memorable selfies. By following these guidelines, you can capture the beautiful, soft light that this time of day provides, turning a simple selfie into something spectacular. The key is to use the warm, flattering light to your advantage while keeping things authentic and true to yourself. Experiment, have fun, and don’t be afraid to let your genuine self shine through.


Q: Why are selfies during the golden hour so popular?
A: Selfies during the golden hour are popular because the light is softer and warmer than at other times of the day, creating a naturally flattering and visually appealing effect on the subject.

Q: Can I still take a good selfie if it’s cloudy during the golden hour?
A: Yes, cloud cover during the golden hour can diffuse the light even more, resulting in a unique and soft illumination. While it won’t have the characteristic golden hue, it can still make for a great selfie.

Q: How long does the golden hour last?
A: The golden hour typically lasts for roughly the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. However, its duration can vary depending on your geographic location and the current season.

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