How to Master Blue Hour Photography

master blue hour photography

One of the most important aspects of every photo’s composition is lighting. As a photographer you probably already heard about the golden hour of photography, but have you heard about blue hour? Blue hour refers to the time when the sun is below the horizon and the sky turns a shade of blue. Usually before sunrise and after sunset. Shooting during blue hour will create a calming and emotional tone in your photos. ew mistakes one can make.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the top mistakes Lightroom beginners make and help you learn how to avoid them.

So power up your Lightroom app or on your computer, and read the rest of this article to help you make your photos stand out.

Why Take Photos During Blue Hour

For beginners or those looking to develop and create their own style, most likely you will be using natural lighting for your photos. Natural light is great for soft, even lighting but depending on the weather and the season, you need to consider how long you will need for your photoshoot. 

Shooting during mid-day will cause your photos to be overexposed and the light will be very harsh. Having an outdoor photoshoot with a model during mid-day may cause them to squint because of the harsh light. 

Shooting during golden hour will create a warm glow and offer soft lighting. In comparison, shooting during blue hour will have a much cooler color temperature and the natural light will be very soft. As the light falls, shooting during blue hour can offer a calmness in your photos that you wouldn’t get shooting at any other time of day. 

Blue hour photography takes advantage of the soft lighting when the sun is below the horizon and the sky appears blue to contrast any light source in an image. 1 brightly illuminated subject against a blue sky will pop and emphasize the subject of your photo.

Blue Hour Timing

Timing can make or break the perfect blue hour shot. Make sure that everyone from the clients, to your assistants, know that the photoshoot will take place during blue hour. This way everyone will be set up and ready to start the shoot on time. You can find the exact time of blue hour in your city here.

What to Shoot During Blue Hour

Landscapes! The moody, calming effect that comes with shooting during blue hour will make landscape photography stunning. Blue hour can really emphasize outdoor scenery or a bright object. Skyscrapers, cities, forests, water, mountains, architecture, anytime you have a light source to contrast with the blue sky, blue hour will make the magic happen.



When shooting vacation photos or for general tourism, blue hour can highlight the beauty of a location.

Camera Settings

While shooting during blue hour can be magical and moody, every camera and lens will treat light differently. Generally while shooting during blue hour you want to set a low ISO to minimize noise and reduce grain in your photos. Between 100-400 maximum ISO should work for most cameras. 

The low light during blue hour may cause your camera to go out of focus. To counteract this, try setting your camera to manual focus. Shutter speed and aperture depend on what you are shooting. If you are photographing a moving object, start at a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 of a second and work your way up depending on motion blur. Shooting with a smaller aperture will help create a twinkling effect on the lights in your shot. If you aren’t too familiar with shutter speed, ISO and aperture, you can learn more about them on our blog.

Finally, we highly recommend shooting in RAW during blue hour. This will make editing in post much easier. Exposure and brightness can be adjusted to your preference in post much easier when shooting in RAW. Shooting in RAW will also give you the highest quality, and clearest image. 

Practice Shooting during Blue Hour

Blue hour is an amazing time to shoot that every photographer should know. For landscape photography, there is no better time to capture a moody, calming moment. Blue hour is 1 way for a photographer to get the perfect composition and over time and with practice you will find what works best for you.