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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Photo Recipe: Faking the Golden Hour

You've heard of it, The Golden Hour, that magical time of day just before sunset when the light is warm and bathes your subject in the most flattering light.  Perhaps you've even had the skill, or luck, to capture it beautifully.  I've been lucky once or twice.  My very favorite golden hour photo is actually of my daughter, in the softball dugout, with a giant welt on her shoulder after she wore a pitch.  Is it wrong that I love it?
Two weeks ago, my son had his first baseball game of the season and it was beautiful (a bit windy, but hey, it wasn't snowing.) As the sun set, and I realized there were no artificial lights, I was giddy about the quality of the light.  By the way, I am fairly certain the other parents think that I might just be certifiably insane, but whatever.
I got home and looked at the photos and was kind of disappointed.  They weren't nearly as golden as I had hoped they would be.  (Um, it would probably have helped if *some* people didn't leave their white balance on auto all of the time, but it was too late to deal with that issue.)
I was disappointed until I remembered my most favorite Love that Shot photo veil ever.  It's called "Fire" and it's found in the Simplicity Collection.  I pulled it up and added it to my two favorite shots of my son from the game and I fell in love.

Here are the before and after of my son at bat:



And one of my son after he caught a fly ball (the center fielder is ducking down so as to not take a baseball to the face.)



Isn't it amazing how that single, simple veil changed the photos?  They now look like they had looked in my head.  And the slight vignette does a great job of placing the focus on KJ.

I first fell in love with Fire back in the fall when editing some senior photos.  It was another case of the photos not matching what I had remembered.  They just weren't as warm as they had been in my head.  I added a little fire (and some other senior-type edits) and voila!



So, to test my theory that Fire is amazing and can give photos that nice, warm glow, I tried it on a photo that I took of my daughter's softball team at about 11:00 am.  No warm glow from the sun at that time of day.

Here's what I started with:



Then I added the Fire veil from the Simplicity collection, in Overlay mode at 50% and here's what I got:



The shadows give it away that this was not taken at sunset, but I love how warm it makes the photo.  I may just start putting it on every photo I take. ;)



P.S.  I tested it again today on my daffodil.  I still love it.

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