Blue Hour Photography

Blue Hour Photography

Blue hour is when the sky has a deep blue hue with a cold temperature and saturated colours. It is also an ideal time for landscape photography because of the different shades of the sky and the colour saturation.

Blue hour is around one hour before sunrise, followed by golden hour and one hour after sunset.

Settings to try for Blue Hour Photography:

  1. Aperture – Automatic.
  2. Use Shutter Priority Mode – you need a long/slow shutter speed to let in enough light.
  3. Shutter Speed – Manual. Try around one to six seconds.
  4. ISO – automatic.
  5. Use a remote shutter release or your cameras self-timer set to two seconds.
  6. Use a tripod – with slow shutter speeds, a tripod is required to help capture sharp images.
  7. Use exposure bracketing – bracket shots so you can get the most from the images in post-production.
  8. Check the histogram – check the right side is not banked up hard against the right edge and big spikes on the right or the image will be over exposed. The bright lights will tend to overexpose but you do not need detail in the lights. Be careful not to under expose the image and to check the left side of the histogram is not banked up hard on the left with big spikes on the left or the image will be under exposed. 

Composition Tips for Blue Hour Photography:

  1. You can create some amazing photos if some sort of electrical light is present for example city lights, moving traffic, a full moon.
  2. Ideal to have clear skies as opposed to overcast skies which will wash out the blue hour.
  3. Add a foreground element for sense of scale.
  4. When including electric lights do not shoot too close to them otherwise lens flares or light spots may appear in your images.
  5. Include water reflections if lights are streaming into the water – important to get an even split of the reflection from both sides and not to cut off the bottom of the frame.
  6. A moonrise or a full moon at blue hour will have warmer tones, be lower in the sky and not as bright making a lovely contrast against a deep blue sky.