Recreating "Golden Hour" for Wedding Portraits When You Don’t Have Sun [RF Video of the Week]

January 22, 2016

By Libby Peterson

Ah, golden hour. While some wedding and portrait photographers are devoted to embracing the more neglected times of day (or night) for portraits, other photographers love it, and so do their clients. It’s one of those magical lighting scenarios that many brides have seen and want featured in their own portraits.

Pye Jirsa of Lin and Jirsa Photography was shooting a wedding whose bride articulated this exact preference, but as is often the case for weddings, timing was not on their side. The bride came outside for portraits just a little too late, and though she was at first disappointed, Jirsa assured her that he would make golden hour portraits happen anyway.

Pulling this off definitely takes a helping hand and a powerful source of light. The photographer instructed an assistant to hold a Profoto B1 several hundred feet behind the couple, trees and bushes, where the setting sun would have been. On top of the light they had stacked two full CTO gels to emulate the golden hue. Jirsa was shooting on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm lens; the exposure was f/2.8 at 1/200 of a second, and his ISO was 1600. Then he fired away.

“When I showed my couple these images, they were simply blown away,” Jirsa says. “This is where being a photographer that understands lighting is such an awesome thing, because you can really go above and beyond and far exceed your client’s expectations, and make them think that you are an absolute magician—because you are.”

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