This Is How To Take The Ultimate Golden Hour Selfie According To A Pro

A photographer's top tips for nailing that golden hour shot, plus the best make-up to wear to achieve a GH glow any time...

golden hour selfie

by Annie Vischer |
Updated on

Let's talk golden hour. You’ll have noticed it on Instagram: the stream of posts flooded with soft, warm light; selfies benefitting from just the right amount of glow. Golden hour is a photography term that refers to the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset, when the low angle of the sun casts a soft, tawny glimmer upon its surroundings. ‘I will wait days, sometimes weeks, to shoot a specific campaign or model at golden hour,’ says photographer Lydia Collins. ‘The light is super flattering. Pair this with the low angle of the sun that generates a warm orange glow and you’re in for a killer shot.’ The golden hour effect in make-up is all about luminosity and warmth. ‘The look is all about using warm tones,’ says make-up artist Adeola Gboyega, ‘and subtly highlighting your skin to impart a natural radiance.’ Get that right and, well, you’re golden.

So Why Is A Golden Hour Shot So Flattering?

According to Lydia Collins it's softer flush of the sun that transfors photographs shot at golden hour. 'The yellow and red hues of the sunlight magnify the tones and colours in images, making them appear warmer and ‘glowy’. This is the ideal setup for me when it comes to shooting fashion, especially when the images feature skin. My favourite photographs are always the ones that are taken in golden hour.'

There seems to be a particular look associated with golden hour, an ethereal aesthetic. Lydia agrees, 'It’s the time of day where you can experiment with e​ verything​. Any kind of portrait shot or movement shot, golden hour gives you the freedom to push your camera skills to the limits. The golden hour look for me is always free and dreamy looking, I often use dresses to create subtle movement or try and get some wind in the hair if I'm shooting by the ocean. The look is all about effortlessness.'

Golden Hour Beauty
©Lydia Collins

How To Get The Ultimate Golden Hour Selfie

You’re only a few tips away from the perfect golden hour selfie and Lydia Collins is here to bestow them all. ‘For selfies facing towards the light (you’ll have to count yourself in as it’s usually very bright!) you want to lift your camera up, tilt it down and then look up towards the lens – just be careful not to get the shadow of your phone or camera in shot. If you’re creating a backlit image (where the sun sits behind you), try a bit of movement, whether this be your hair blowing out to the side or lifting your arm above your head, to add to your silhouette. Most importantly, have fun and experiment with it! The more you practice your golden hour photo taking, the more you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Have fun and enjoy that golden glow!.'

So what about the make-up? You want highlighters that catch that warm light, bronzers to warm up your skin tone and and a natural-look blusher that you can use on your lips too. Shop our favourite beauty buys below.

Shop: The Best Golden Hour Make-Up Buys


Golden Hour Make-Up

Charlotte Tilbury Bronzer1 of 16

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer, £39

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand2 of 16

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand in Spotlight, £29

Code 8 Radiate Beauty Balm3 of 16

Code 8 Radiate Beauty Balm, £41

Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation4 of 16

Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Make-Up SPF 45, £36

Glossier Cloud Paint Dusk5 of 16

Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk, £15

Soap and Glory Glow And Dew It6 of 16

Soap & Glory low & Dew It Skin Illuminating Base Primer, £11.50

Becca Cosmetics Light Gleam Eye Shadow7 of 16

BECCA Cosmetics Light Gleam Liquid Eyeshadow in Golden Hour, £21

NARS Lip Balm Orgasm8 of 16

NARS Afterglow Lip Balm in Orgasm, £22

Pat McGrath Labs Eyeshadow Corrupt Copper9 of 16

Pat McGrath Labs EYEdols Eye Shadow in Corrupt Copper, £23

L'Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water Cream10 of 16

L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water Cream, £10.99

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color Matte in Bondi Bae11 of 16

Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color Matte in Bondi Bae, £28

Trish McEvoy Cream Blush12 of 16

Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Lip and Cheek Colour in Rose, £29

Veronique Gabai Highlighter13 of 16

Veronique Gabai The Goldie Highlighter, £59

Victoria Beckham Moisturizer Golden14 of 16

Victoria Beckham Beauty by Augustinus Bader Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer in Golden 30ml, £92

BECCA Zero No Pigment Glass Highlighter15 of 16

BECCA Zero No Pigment Glass Highlighter Face + Lip, £19

Dolce and Gabbana Golden Highlighter16 of 16

Dolce & Gabbana Beauty Baroque Lights Highlighting Powder in Precious Gold, £53

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