Photography challenge II| Shooting a male model during golden hour | 5 Tips to learn

In this post, I am going to be sharing a few tips that I learned during this photo shoot. It was not my first time photographing a male but since I took a long break from using my camera, I felt a readjustment had to be done on my approach towards photography. This is why I am using this PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE series to improve my skills.

Now, let’s get right into this post!

I tweeted (@blackprowriter) last week about needing a male who is willing to let my photograph him while he wore some makeup. I got responses and I eventually picked someone – Oreoluwa (@blvck_topia) mainly because of his willingness and the fact that we have been following each other and admiring each other’s work for quite sometime.

The model was picked, the location was chosen, the day was arranged. I had this idea to shoot during golden hour; for those who don’t know what that means Golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.

“Golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset…”

Shooting during this period is quite common among photographers because of the glow it brings to the images and the absence of sunlight harshness when compared to shooting during the midday. Golden hue complements the skin of your model and you get that beautiful hue from your images.

I did this shoot using my Beginner friendly camera CANON rebel T3 with a kit lens (18-55mm). It is quite affordable and really great for someone who is starting photography. I bought this last year after I got paid ghostwriting a novel. Read here!

At 5pm on Thursday, the shoot began. And here are 5 tips to learn on how to shoot during golden hour.


Because the sun is setting, it tends to hide very quickly. You will realize after a few minutes during the shoot that the sun is not your friend. This means you have to hurry up! Make sure you have set your camera (if you are using manual mode) before you begin the shoot so as to save time. Sometimes you’ll have to change location just to get the perfect shot! During this shoot, we had to move forward to different place because the sun was hiding behind the trees and that’s not good for a photographer. So hurry up!


I wish I used a reflector when I did my first photography challenge. It would have been helpful! A reflector helps to redirect the light towards your subject. I recently purchased this from an instagram vendor last two weeks. Using it during this shoot was so helpful. It helped me even out the light on my model’s face and also accentuate the glow I was looking for. If you are going to use a reflector though, it might be better if you had someone helping you hold it. It can be stressful handling a camera and holding a big round thingy in your hands. You can’t kill yourself. My boyfriend was my photographer assistant during this shoot and he made things easier for me.


Sometimes you might not be shooting a professional model. Sometimes you can be like me shooting a person who is not really experienced with posing. So what do you do? You have to direct them! You are the photographer who has the idea of the photoshoot; you know what you want. Your model probably does not. Direct them!

Oreoluwa and I had fun during this shoot because we were talking while shooting. My Bluetooth speaker was playing Ari Lennox’s album and so he was vibing to the tunes and somehow got lost in the music. Which was helpful because I was getting the images I wanted. And when we changed location, I told him how I wanted him to pose. After a little adjustment, your model will get the hang of it.


While I did not use a makeup artist during this shoot, I wished I did. It would have made the images a little more colorful. The idea was to have the model wear eye makeup but I soon discovered my eyeshadow palette was too mild for my model’s skin tone. And so the colors did not pop like I wanted it to. So sometimes you have to sort out a makeup artist help. This is what I learnt during this shoot. Perhaps next time I would opt for a make up artist.

“I have to tell you that you have to start with what you have…”

REAd below


Look, as a true advocate of “think big, start small” I have to tell you that you have to start with what you have. You can be lucky and be able to afford expensive gears on your first year of starting photography but if you do not want to wait till you are boxed up to create images, then you have to learn how to use your camera well!

Learn how to use the manual mode and practice. This photography challenge is for me to practice my skills. I am learning as well. And while I wish I can afford a better camera like my dream camera (Canon 5D Mark iv) i can’t. However, it does not mean I can’t make do with what I Have because the truth is while you are whining about your “less expensive” camera someone out there is wishing they had yours. Be creative with it! That way you can work your way up!

And that’s it!

I hope you learnt a thing or two. I’m really excited about bringing my photography journey into my blog because I know many Nigerian creatives are going to learn to just start with whatever gear they have.

A behind the scene video is on my Instagram page. You can check it out Here 👇🏼

What photography challenge would you like me to do next?

NOTE: I do not retouch my pictures. Retouching is a fantastic part of photography however I enjoy photography when it is raw and unabashed. I enjoy seeing the people through my lens just the way they are in real life.


If you came from suzanwrites, Welcome! Susanah Ajiboye was born and raised in Osogbo, Osun state. It took her years to finally discover her full potential as a writer. Now, she knows she understand you can use words and visuals to tell powerful stories that can make a differences. And that is what she is doing, one post at a time.

Let me know what you think!



I blog on photography and how to make the most out of your beginner friendly camera. My blog posts focus on budget friendly ways to create images through photography. Subscribe to my mailing list and get informed of my latest Post!

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