Photographing Portraits in the Warm Evening Sun

Learn to make the most of those ‘golden hour’ moments.

Want to capture gorgeous portraits on location? You’ve probably heard of the golden hour, but there’s more to successful portraiture than simply being in the right place at the right time.

In this portrait photography class, professional photographer and award-winning instructor Karl Taylor reveals all the tools and techniques you need to make the most of your golden hour shoots, showing you how to use the soft, warm, golden-hour glow of the setting sun. You’ll learn how to achieve stunning natural-light portraits, with or without a reflector.

With this class, Karl proves once again that it’s possible to achieve beautiful results with minimal gear. It’s an ideal shoot if you’re short on time, too.

In this portrait photography class:

  • Portrait Photography: How to photograph using natural light
  • The best time of day for photography
  • Simple accessories for natural light portraiture
  • Posing ideas for portrait photography
  • How to identify good locations for portraiture
  • Creative composition for outdoor portrait photography
  • Camera settings for outdoor portraiture

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. mdphoto

    Great content and instruction Karl,

    Do you adjust your focus points depending on the picture?

    Thanks in advance.

    Manuel D.

    1. Thank you Manuel. Yes I move the focus point to the position where I will place my models eyes in the shot and then if I recompose I will move it again. Some of the modern cameras now have eye or face tracking which is amazing as it takes care of it for you. When I’m shooting medium format I’ll often focus manually because the viewfinder is bigger and brighter, although saying that on the new X2D it’s an electronic viewfinder so I move the focus point in that one too.

  2. Hello Karl. Thanks for the great tutorials. Just a quick question:
    How do you create depth in images like the first one you took in this video when the model is sticking on the background? Is depth important in all images or there’s an exceptional case?

    1. Hi Hugon, first of all good observation, it’s that type of thinking that helps photographers the most. Depth in a shot can come in several ways, if you consider much of my studio work then I’m often shooting against neutral or plain backgrounds, which esentially give you no depth in relative terms because you don’t really know if they’re right next to the subject or not, however in those scenarios depth comes from juxtaposition of high contrast standing out against low contrast or a given colour standing out from another. So depth is created through variables, where I have a model against a backgroun, not often, but again on my site see my version of Sir John Everett Millais ‘Ophelia’ I do everything I can with lighting and post production to ensure juxtaposition – separation of the hero from the supporting cast and making sure the hero remains the hero and not the other way round. In the ‘Ophelia’ in the pool shot I have high contrast on the model but I reduce contrast on the rocks and the water surrounding her provides lower contrast. I also tinted the water a little more to green to juxtapose the magenta dress (opposite colours) so the ‘depth’ is essentially that juxtaposition or separation. It can come in many forms, sometimes even through narrative as long as the message to the viewer is clear then I guess you could consider that depth. In the class above that you are referring too, I actually only took my test shots against the rock and then I moved Evie onto another rock forward from the others to create a little more depth. Ordinarily I would create greater depth by using artificial light but this series of classes is focused on what can be done with natural light only and I we get some great results but always thinking about the ‘hero’ and ‘supporting cast’ ethos.

    1. Hi Jethro, it always varies depending only on the subject, the surroundings and the composition, but for portraiture work I’m more often using it in the 70-120 range.

  3. I’m heading to the coast next week and i’ll be practicing what i saw in this video. Can’t wait to watch the other videos and learn more and more! Thanks

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