Tristan Parker Photography


The Golden Hours and Street Photography


What is the golden hour? Its that first and last hour of light each day when the light is at its best. If you are a photographer you will know what I mean.

There is a glow in the light, and this will be reflected by your subjects.

How does this impact artists when they are working on the street?

There are other things that happen during these hours in the street that need to be take into account as well. For the golden hour of the morning there will likely be less people around, and the same could be true for the afternoon as well depending on where you are in the world. This does impact the street work, I for one would find this to be a positive at times. I have written a blog post on shooting street photography in crowds from my perspective, and its something that I find a challenge.

Shooting in these golden hours might be something that would both maximise the quality of the light, as well as the situations that are available to someone like myself.

Although the golden hour does produce the best possible natural lighting solution for any photography, and this is not something that can be argued against. I dont think that its importance is as high when working on street photography. I have also written a post on the rules of photography applied to the street, and the fact that they may be able to be bent and stretched a little more than in other genres. This might be one of those situations.

Street work often tells a story. Its that moment that is captured and what it tells the viewer about. Not only the quality of the image, but the quality of the moment in time that was captured. This is the point that other genres of photography may not have to fall back on when their light isnt right.

In Street, its possible to capture and amazing moment in time, but in slightly less desirable light, and still have a winning image on your hands.


Shot during the middle of the day when the light is much harsher

So as you can see, both the images have strengths even though one of them was taken at a time of day that is not seen as 'perfect light' for photography.

Street photography is a different breed. We dont have to play by all the rules. We have to work within the limitations of the available light. Or use a flash to give youself the light that you need... We dont have the same sense of control that studio photographers have over lighting... We dont have the ability to sit and wait for the light to perfect itself while an unchanging landscape sits patiently waiting for us to click that shutter.

We are driven by that moment. We are forced into capturing the image if and when it happens, not matter what light is available at the time. We have a whole new set of skills to develop in order to use our equipment in times when others wouldnt dare... This is a skill in its own right!

I love what I do for the fact that it requires a different skill set. However, be mindful of the fact that you will be more successful in the street if you already have an understanding of the technical aspects that make up our craft, and what aspects you are able to bend and stretch to your will. And what the result of bending and stretching will be.