Often termed the golden hour, this actually happens two times a day, at sunrise and sunset. For my purposes, I will stick with sunset as it applies more to my experience with wedding and engagement photography. The golden hour is generally the hour just before sunset. This tends to be when we photographers call the most ideal light as it can cast long shadows and showcase clouds that are defined and highlighted from horizontal light versus a more vertical light that happens in the peak of day. I find the colors can be warmer. Of course this is all dependent on the weather. Sunset is for sure something special for wedding and engagement photography if schedules can be timed right. Almost all of my sunset pictures will be taken with some sort of light modifier (flash or lighting) to accommodate for the angle of light, back lighting, and maintaining the focus on my subjects. For wedding, engagement and bridal photography the subjects are the focus and that is where my light needs to be.
I like to call it the magic 15 minutes. Twilight officially happens when the sun is below the horizon and the ambient light from the sun fills the sky with gradient light bringing out the most majestic colors the sky has to offer. There are actually two twilights everyday, right before the sun comes up and as the sun sets below the horizon. The beauty of twilight is you can never know what to expect from one day to he next. One day you might have some brilliant blues with a hint of orange and then the next day, the sky might be on fire with reds & oranges as the clouds masterfully reflect light from the sun that has slipped below the horizon.
There are many factors that impact photography at twilight. One is location. Generally the most amazing colors come closest to the horizon. If the clouds are in their creative mood, the sky can often be more brilliant higher and farther across the sky.
I grew up watching the sun set on the Pacific Ocean. Now here on the coast of Eastern of North Carolina, some of the most amazing sunsets I have seen are over the ocean sky opposite of where the sun is setting. A big influence of the color in the sky and how far it reaches are the clouds. When a canvas of clouds are present, they can perform their light dance. Like a photographers reflector, they throw light across the sky enhancing light prisms of incredible color. Twilight creates a natural palette colors in nature that we can never emulate but only participate in.
Unfortunately this does not happen everyday, so when it does, it makes for a special photography session. One thing is for sure, you have to be ready or you will miss it. I have seen brilliance in the sky last 3 minutes and then dissipate. So when you are working with people during twilight you have to shoot very differently than photographing landscapes where you can use long exposures. When making pictures with people in twilight you have to work fast and continuously change camera settings and lighting. Every minute the canvas in the sky will change.
As light changes throughout the day, so will the color, style and emotion of your pictures. Check out my gallery pages where I share in a simple non-technical way about 3 distinct types of lighting conditions and show how it changes the style of your wedding pictures.
Are you looking for your wedding venue in Wilmington or Eastern NC? I often get asked from brides planning their destination weddings about wedding venues in our area. So I started putting together a list of some popular wedding venues and great places for wedding and engagement photography. This is also a great way to see some of my photography of real weddings in some of Wilmington’s popular wedding venues. These are just a few and this list will grow over time so feel free to check back often or even share the page as wedding ideas on your facebook or Pinterest page.
River Landing Weddings is one of the most amazing clubhouse facilities I have been in. Visit our River Landing Wedding Photographer images to see this incredible wedding venue.
St. Thomas Preservation Hall may be the perfect place for your wedding and reception in the Downtown Wilmington area. Check out our St. Thomas Preservation Hall Photographers images to see the wedding venue.
Fort Fisher is about as unique a backdrop there is for coastal North Carolina. Perfect for both wedding and engagement photography. See our Fort Fisher Wedding & Engagement photographers images to get an idea of this beautiful area of Eastern North Carolina.
The Southport Community Center puts you in the heart of Southport if you are looking for a venue in the area. With scenic backdrops of the Inter coastal waterway the Southport Community Building has rich history and host to some popular movies.
Brooklyn Arts Center is a premier Wedding and Reception venue located in the Downtown Wilmington Area. View our Brooklyn Arts Center Wedding Photographers images and see why this is one of the more popular wedding venues.
Bellamy Mansion is a “Southern Classic” wedding and reception venue. Located in the Downtown Wilmington area this Mansion can do it all. View our Bellamy Mansion Wedding Photographers images and see why this Mansion might be the perfect place for your wedding.
128 South is another popular wedding and reception venue Wedding and Reception venue located in the Downtown Wilmington Area. View our 128 South Wedding Photographers images to see this staple Wilmington venue.
The City Club is another Downtown Wilmington Wedding and Reception venue that can offer several accommodations from a bridal party getting ready lounge to smaller weddings and receptions. View our City Club Wedding Photographers images to see this one of a kind venue.
Poplar Grove Plantation is becoming a classic outdoor wedding and reception venue. View our Poplar Grove Plantation Wedding Photographers images and see why this wedding venue is no longer a secret.
The Country Club of Landfall is another great clubhouse wedding and reception venue. Located in the gated community of Landfall, this wedding venue can host both your wedding and reception. View our Country Club of Landfall Wedding Photographers images to see this exquisite country club.
Wrightsville Beach offers a wide range of wedding options from the beach to hotel accommodations. Wrightsville Beach is also located close to Wilmington for easy travel to any other reception venue including Downtown Wilmington.
Topsail Island has a personality all its own. From hotel accommodations to private beach house weddings, Topsail Island is a laid back beach island sure to entertain any beach wedding.
For something really unique, check out the Battleship NC might be that special place to have either for both your wedding and reception. With incredible views of the Cape Fear River and Historic Downtown Wilmington as part of your wedding day back drop.
The Shell Island Resort is a popular destination wedding location in Wrightsville Beach. Capable of accommodating both wedding and receptions and makes for a great all inclusive beach wedding venue.
The Wilmington Hilton Riverside is perfectly located in Downtown Wilmington on the River Front. A very popular place for both wedding and reception. It has all the the facilities to be an all inclusive wedding venue and host to any of your out of town wedding guests.
Brunswick Town - Fort Anderson in Winnabow NC, is a great outdoor wedding and reception option. The historic burned down church on the grounds makes for a unique open air wedding ceremony. The landscape with the oak trees and view of the Cape Fear River make this possibly a perfect option for you wedding.
The Shoals Club on Bald Head Island is a classic east coast beach club. With elevated view of the Atlantic Ocean and a fort class club this makes for a incredible destination wedding venue.
The River Room in Downtown Wilmington North Carolina sits along the Cape Fear River. Capable of providing an outside wedding on the river deck and hosting your reception inside the River Room make this wedding venue a downtown gem.
Wrightsville Manor in Wilmington North Carolina is just minutes from Wrightsville Beach. Wrightsville Manor is capable of providing an outside wedding with Southern charm and hosting your reception inside the Wrightsville Manor. The grounds provide a lush and private feel and the inside is both beautiful for both a wedding and or reception.
Bluewater grill in Wrightsville Beach North Carolina is located on the intercostal waterway. Bluewater Grill is capable of providing space for both weddings and wedding receptions. One of the highlights of Bluewater Grill is the amazing views of the marina and intercostal waterway. It provides one of the best sunset opportunities over the intercostal waterway.