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Blue Hour Photography Tips

blue hour photography tips
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If you want to create atmospheric, ethereal photographs with natural light, then this is the blog post for you. We’ll guide you through what blue hour photography is, plus share some blue hour photography tips to help you make the most of this special time of day.

What is blue hour photography?

Also known as ‘blue light photography’, blue hour photography makes use of the period of time where the sun has dipped below the horizon, but still emits a light. This then leaves a serene blue cast over your images.

What is it used for?

Blue hour photography is used to create cool, tranquil looking photos by optimising the natural light. For example, it’s ideal for capturing cityscapes, as the deep blue sky enhances the bright lights of the city.

How to use the blue hour for a great shot

blue light photography

When is the blue hour?

Although it’s known as the blue hour, you actually only get around 20 to 40 minutes to take your shot. The time of the blue hour also depends on where you are geographically and what season it is. As a rule of thumb, the blue hour is generally around 30 minutes before sunrise and 15 minutes after sunset. We’d recommend getting to the location of your shoot an hour early so you have time to set up without rushing!

Tools to use

If you’re planning on taking some blue hour photos, you need to have the right kit, including a camera with the right settings.

  • A tripod. Using a tripod will stabilise your camera and reduce blur in the low light. It’ll also reduce the amount of time you spend on stabilising your camera manually, so you can focus on capturing your perfect shot.
  • Manual exposure. Auto mode is more likely to detect too much bright light or too much shadow.
  • Self-timer/remote shutter release. A self-timer will trigger the shutter without moving the camera, avoiding blur and distortion.
  • Shutter priority mode. This allows you to adjust your shutter speed when shooting your blue hour photos. We recommend 1 to 6 seconds to get the best results.

Shoot ideas

The blue hour provides a variety of creative opportunities. Here are a few to help you get started:

  • Cityscapes: The lights emitted by buildings and structures combined with a gentle silhouette proves a perfect scene for the blue hour. Why not head to your nearest city to capture some urban beauty.
  • Landscape: For a more natural take on blue hour photography, try shooting some landscapes. Vast landscapes are ideal for capturing a quiet mood. Using the moon or another light source as a focal point will really draw the eye and highlight the blue tone in the image.
when is the blue hour

Tips for the best blue hour photography

Take a look at these essential blue hour photography tips to help you make the most of this photo opportunity.

  • Planning: It’s a good idea to set your camera equipment up an hour before the blue hour begins. This will give you time to choose exactly where you want to shoot without being rushed. Check the blue hour times in the location of your shoot in advance so you know what time to arrive. We’d also recommend wrapping up warm as it tends to be pretty chilly!
  • Testing: Take some test photos during the day. This way you’ll get a feel for the composition you’re aiming for and you’ll have time to set up your camera settings in advance.
  • Experiment: Feel free to experiment with your blue hour photos! Play around with colour, exposure and shutter speed for a variety of interesting shots. Maybe test out some different filters on your photo editing software post-shoot. Either way, you have the opportunity to create something amazing.

Feeling inspired?

You can’t beat the feeling of seeing your finished photos in print. Transform your photos into a professional quality photo book – perfect for displaying those landscape shots.

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