​Magic Hour popular filming theme

​Magic Hour popular filming theme

Recently, I went out again and took some photos such as sunrise and sunset magic hour. However, I noticed that many of my film friends were taking photos of the sunset, canvas prints and many of them rushed to leave after seeing the sun set. Maybe some places were remote, so they rushed to go home before dark. If you are one of them, I believe you have missed many beautiful magic hours.

Magic Hour

Magic hour is when the light changes in the sky before sunrise and after sunset. As the sun neared the horizon, large amounts of blue light would be scattered, online canvas giving the sky an orange-red hue. You may also want to take a look at the changes in the sky in the future. Take note of the changing color of the sky from half an hour to an hour before sunrise and after sunset.

Solve light and dark contrast

When the sun is still hanging in the sky, because the light difference is very big, floating frame canvas many times the picture is taken, either the foreground is too dark or the sky is too light. Besides PS, the most effective way to solve this problem is to shake the black card. The so-called "black card" is not a function or setting of the camera, but a shooting technique. To shake a black card, the first thing to prepare, of course, is a black card. There are no special restrictions on black CARDS, as long as they are opaque, but usually a black card is used, and I shake the bag every time.

Shake the black card

Shaking a black card is simple, but it takes time to get the best results every time. When facing the sky and earth with large light difference, measure the light in the sky with the camera first, and then measure the light in the ground foreground. After measuring the light, suppose the exposure time of the sky is 1 second, and the exposure time of the ground is 5 seconds. At this time, the camera can be set to M mode and B shutter is used. Look out of the view finder, hold the black card across the sky, and remember where it is. Then press the shutter release (use the tripod and shutter release). When you press the shutter release, shake the black card up and down, slightly, but at a high frequency, then count to yourself, 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds, and release the black card until the camera is exposed. Why 4 seconds? Since the sky exposure is only 1 second and the ground exposure is only 5 seconds, we counted to 4 seconds to remove the black card, so that we can get an accurate exposure of the sky and the ground. So why keep shaking the black card? Without shaking, the image appears with distinct dividers depending on the exposure time.

Shooting magic hour

There is no special technique for filming magic hour. If the light difference is too large, it can also be solved by shaking the black card. When shooting, it is best to use the tripod and shutter release with a low iso and a narrow aperture to f/7.1 to f/16 to obtain a better image. In addition, you can gently adjust the exposure compensation to -1/3, so you can get a richer color. White balance can also be simply set to "sun" mode, or directly manually adjust the K number to get a more colorful color.

Magic Hour popular filming theme

Shooting direction

In the case of sunsets, of course, we shoot in the direction of the sun, but when the sun goes down and the glow starts to appear, we don't have to look around because magic hours are not always in the direction of the sun. A lot of times we just look in the direction of the sun, see the sunset glow and keep shooting, but ignore the fact that there is a more beautiful scene behind. This is a common problem for both novices and veterans.

Using the lens

Looking at this spectacular scenery, we all want to use the widest lens to shoot, but some people say photography is a subtraction, so don't be greedy to include all the scenery into the picture, this will only make the photo lost the main body. Shooting this kind of scenery, in addition to the wide Angle lens, can take a 70-200mm lens to shoot, sometimes unexpected effect.


Magic hour has been less frequently used in recent years, and I don't know why, but it feels corny now that I say it. As for the shake black card, not many people in Hong Kong use it. Maybe they are used to using Photoshop. In fact, modern wall art decor Photoshop has always been limited. If you can use your camera and skills to shoot the image directly, why not use this method? I often went to Taiwan a few years ago and found that most Taiwanese people would use the black card when shooting sunsets. I hope it won't be lost in Hong Kong and replaced by Photoshop.

5th Oct 2019

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