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Blue Hour Photography is Best With These Wonderful Lenses

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You only have a little bit of time to get the blue hour look.

The Blue Hour doesn’t get as much play as the Golden Hour. But nonetheless, it’s a lovely time to photograph. If you’re using a flash, it’s a great time to shoot portraits. If you’re walking around, it’s the best time to shoot cityscapes. And if you’re by the sea, it can lead to some really moody seascapes. Instead of shooting flat, it’s best to go super vivid. 

Editor’s Note: This piece is presented in partnership with Tamron. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the lenses in this roundup already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you.

Pro Tips on Photographing the Blue Hour

Here are a few pro tips on photographing during the Blue Hour:

  • The blue hour is incredibly short. It happens right around the Golden Hour. It’s defined by the overall light being a deep, bright shade of blue. During sunrise, it transitions into Golden Hour. During sunset, it transitions into night time. You can also associate it with twilight or dusk.
  • If you’re in a big city, be ready. During the blue hour, city street lights come on. But they’re not as effective as they would be during the night.
  • This is a tough time to shoot portraits. The blue tones aren’t the most flattering for skin. 
  • Fix your white balance. 3200K will make the world a whole lot bluer. 5500K will give a bit more warmth to the scene. What feeling do you want in your photos?
  • This is around the time when higher ISOs are necessary. Start at ISO 400 and work up from there.

Tamron 28-200mm f2.8-5.6 Di III RXD

The Blue Period: This Tamron lens is one of the most versatile we’ve used. It’s perfect if you’re photowalking because of its range. If you’re shooting at the wider end, then you’ll get more light gathering for the blue hour. One of the big keys here is Tamron’s vivid color rendering.

In our review, we state:

“Here’s where I’m maybe most impressed by the Tamron 28-200mm f2.8-5.6 Di III RXD. It’s got fantastic image quality. No matter the focal length, it’s super sharp. You’re also able to get some beautiful looking bokeh at the telephoto end of this lens. And even better is the serious lack of distortion problems that I ran into with this lens. Some of the company’s prime lenses were riddled with distortion issues. But this one zoom doesn’t have any of those problems. Sounds backward, right? Indeed, this is the case.”

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Tamron SP 35mm f1.4 Di USD

The Blue Period: The Tamron SP 35mm f1.4 Di USD is one of our favorite 35mm lenses in the past few years. It’s lightweight, well built, durable, and has beautiful image quality. Because it’s a Tamron lens, the optics deliver saturated images. During the Blue Hour, you can expect the deepest and most Cerulean blues.

In our review, we state:

“The Tamron SP 35mm f1.4 Di USD and the Canon EOS R are a match made in heaven and joined by the oddest of connections. This statement rings especially true for image quality. Photographers who use the Tamron SP 35mm f1.4 Di USD will be ecstatic not only with the colors but also the quality of the bokeh. The bokeh is super creamy and well complemented by the colors this lens produces. In addition to that, it’s also very sharp.”

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Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD

The Blue Period: The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD lens boasts some of the same pillars all other Tamron lenses have. Those include the optical quality, the lightweight design, the weather resistance, etc. If you want a constant aperture lens, this is the one to get. You can go from portraiture to vast scenes really quickly.

In our review, we state:

“Here’s where I really like the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD: the colors are vivid and punchy. When combined with the Clear or Deep color profile on the Sony a7r III, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD can deliver super punchy colors that make editing in Capture One Pro after locking your white balance even less of a chore.”

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Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD

The Blue Period: The cool thing about this lens is the focal length range. 35mm is a very usable focal length. And when you want to capture candids during the blue hour, 150mm might be more of your jam.

In our review, we state:

“Tamron has gone through a lot of effort to make this lens great, though from a marketing perspective, this lens should really be targeted at the hobbyist. Best of all, Tamron gave this lens the same level of sealing they do their other lenses. This matters more for the hobbyist than anyone else. Let’s be honest,”

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Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD

The Blue Period: This lens is one I bought. It’s so incredibly versatile. Best of all, it’s really small. So it’s a lens you could bring along on a photo walk everywhere you go.

In our review, we state:

“The Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD is a fantastic lens when it comes to image quality. This overall makes it a stellar performer. I’m positive that if photographers weren’t specifically pixel peeping that they’d be incredibly happy with the sharpness results the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD offers.”

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