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7 Amazing Tips To Unlock The Secret Of Blue Hour

Getting there at the right time is all that matters! It simply pays you off with great colors and amazing shots. And just like you all might have experienced the rewards of photographing in golden magic hour, it is worth experimenting photography in the Blue Hour.

The Magical Appeal Of Blue Hour

Many photographers including me, love to photograph during the golden magic hour. The setting sun, the orange, pinkish hues, low intensity, diffused light, unusual angle and dramatic effects certainly make up for fantastic shots. But have you tried out shooting at twilight? The tints of blue and purple hues at this hour, i.e., after the sun sets gives opportunity to make the most of dramatic lighting. This is what blue hour is all about.

The blue hour comes from the French expression l’heure bleue, which refers to the period of twilight each morning and evening where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness. The time is considered special because of the quality of the light at this time of day.

The sky filled with gradients ranging from faded blue to navy blue just looks awesome and makes for the perfect backdrop for most of the scenes. And the glowing city lights and artificial lighting is icing on the top. The blue hour makes the scene pop out in the photo and look more appealing when photographed as compared to the usual eyes. This is so because the cameras are more sensitive to colors in dim light as compared to the human eye. Therefore the photographs made at dawn and dusk retain the vivid colors and make up for exquisite shots.

Hey wait, did I say Blue Hour. Well, it is referred to as blue hour, but generally doesn’t lasts for long. It lasts for only 20-30 minutes and you have to act quick to make the most of it.

Are you already tempted to give it a shot? Check out the following tips to experience the magical appeal of the blue hour.

Tips To Make The Most Of Blue Hour

The best thing to do is to start with photo inspiration. Check out interesting blue hour photographs over at Flickr, follow the tips below and get ready to employ the creative ideas for making the most of the magical hour of the day — the blue hour.

  1. Plan The Photo Shoot

    Depending upon the season, weather conditions and time of the year, blue hour lasts for only about 20-40 minutes; before sunrise and after sunset. The light, colors and the dramatic effect change dynamically, leaving no time for you to think for the shot too long. The simple thing to do is to go out for a photo-walk, mesmerize in the visual appeal of the blue hour, observe the nuances of lighting at this hour and experiment with lot of shots. This test shot drive will help you in planning a professional shoot, if you are looking forward for one; like an outdoor model shoot or an awesome photo-shoot for a newly launched car.

  2. Keep The Tripod Handy

    Low light conditions, mixed lighting and longer exposures necessitate the need for a sturdy surface. While you can make decent hand-held shots, having the tripod handy will allow to make the settings and quickly capture dynamically changing colors and light.

  3. Choose The Appropriate Camera Settings

    As the light gets tricky during the blue hour, shooting in manual mode allows you better control over the exposure. The second best option is to turn on the aperture priority mode; choose the greater f-number say f/8 or f/11 to bring foreground and background in sharp focus. The high DOF shots offer a good chance for you to create sparkling sun-stars off the street lights or the lights railing across the bridges. Using wide-open the aperture on the other hand will fill the frame with beautiful bokehs. Imagine beautifully scattered lights amidst the blue sky. Awesome!

  4. The Subject

    There is no dearth of ideas when lighting gets at its best. Just pick up anything and you are good to give it a try. Be it landscapes, portraits, waterfalls or cityscapes, everything look awesome when bathed in mystical glowing twilight light. However, urban shots, fireworks, cityscapes and seascapes are amongst the best scenes to be shot during the blue hour. Check out the examples here:

    • Fireworks: Incredible colors, bursting lights and an amazing blue backdrop makes up for a perfect recipe for shooting fireworks.
    • Urban Shots: Architectures, bridges, cityscapes, wow! The fading ambient light, the glowing artificial lights and amazing sun-stars make up for the wow effect in the photograph.
    • Seascapes: Blue hour lighting fosters surreal environment which add to the calmness and serenity of misty coastal waters.
  5. Try The Evening Blue Hour

    The artificial light is at its best during the twilight. The saturated blues balance well with the artificial lights lighting up the architectures, bridges, trees, streets, cityscapes and urbanscapes. That is why evening blue hour is preferred over the morning blue hour — bustling city, lots of activity and incandescent lights. While you do so, choose to shoot in RAW or better yet RAW+JPEG. The mixed lighting gets tricky, shooting in RAW will provide you an edge to tweak the exposure and correct the white balance to match up with the feel of the scene.

  6. How About Photographing The Silhouettes

    When researching for the post on captivating examples of silhouette photography, I realized that the best silhouette shots are made during the blue hour. The shapes of the object pop out against the shades of blue in the backdrop. Check out for yourself!

  7. Shoot As Many As You Can

    The light in the Blue Hour is all natural. And it waits for no one. Out of the 20-30 minutes of blue hour, it will only be a few minutes when the light is at it’s magical most. Shoot as many as you can. Better try your luck than miss it.

Tried photography in the Blue Hour? Post your pictures in the comments.

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