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‘Twilight’ Photography: The 3 Phases Explained

Real estate photography at twilight can turn the most basic-looking home into a spectacular and welcoming abode. There are three phases of twilight that are applicable to real estate photography, with each phase being suited the shooting the interior, exterior and certain views (i.e. city lights in the distance). If it is overcast/cloudy the twilight the three twilight phases will occur much faster, so in these conditions it is important to have the property ready for your photographer to shoot.

The ‘Civil’ Twilight Phase

As the sun sets and the center of the sun is approximately 6 degrees below the horizon, this is called ‘Civil Twilight’ and is officially the start of the twilight window when the horizon is flooded with the warm red colors of the sun.

The civil twilight phase lasts approximately fifteen minutes; however this phase can appear much shorter depending on the amount of cloud cover over the horizon. During this phase, it is the best time to capture interior real estate images.

The 'Civil Twilight’ Phase

The ‘Nautical’ Twilight phase

Once the center of the sun reaches approximately 12 degrees below the horizon, this is called the ‘Nautical Twilight’ phase and can last up to thirty minutes. During this phase, the warm red sunlight disappears and is met by a very dark blue light as the horizon transitions to the darkness of the night sky.

The ‘Nautical Twilight’ phase
This image was the subject of this week’s ‘Workshop Wednesday’ composition analysis. CLICK HERE to read the analysis of this image.

The ‘Astronomical’ Twilight phase

The ‘Astronomical Twilight’ phase is the final phase of the twilight when the center of the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. When this phase is reached, the sun sets for 60 minutes as the sky transitions to night, and it is the perfect time to capture views of city lights.

The ‘Astronomical Twilight’ phase
This image was the subject of a ‘Workshop Wednesday’ composition analysis. CLICK HERE to read the analysis of this image.

Interiors at Twilight

Interiors are photographed using the same composition techniques as daytime photo shoots; however, to retain the ambiance of the available lighting, the flash is not usually used. This enhances the colorful soft glow in the sky after the sun has set and also allows the artificial light to saturate the room. The interior lights are used to light the room, and the camera shutter speed is much slower than daytime shoots.

Interiors at Twilight

Exteriors at Twilight

Exterior images should be photographed in the nautical twilight phase after the interior of the home has been photographed. If the property has city views, these ‘view shots’ should be left until the end of the nautical phase or the start of the astronomical phase when the city lights stand out from the background.

Exteriors at Twilight
This image was the subject of a ‘Workshop Wendesday’ composition analysis. CLICK HERE to read the analysis of this image.

Note:

This article is an extract from the resources on the Education page on the Real Estate Photographer Club.

For more articles about real estate and real estate photography, or to find a photographer for your next twilight real estate photo-shoot visit the HauzPhotographers website.