The Golden Hour: Definition from Wikipedia - In photography, the golden hour is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is soft and even with a warmer color temperature. This is also commonly referred to as the "magic hour."
What's all this talk about the Golden Hour? See the definition, above. Light is one of the most important aspects of photography! Light can make or break an image. Does that mean you can only shoot during those times of day? No - of course not! However, the dramatic light that's often present during the Golden Hours adds so much dimension to your image. The warmth of the light enhances just about every subject. Dramatic light adds depth and shape, shadows and highlights to your image.
Just for fun, go out and shoot a scene or object in afternoon light - you know, when the sun is high overhead. Then, shoot that same subject in early morning or late afternoon light. Which image is more expressive or impressive? Odds are, it's the image with the more dramatic light - the one you took during the golden, or magic, hours.
What to do when your subject is in shadow and there IS no light on it? Reflect light onto your subject. You can use flash, but it can be harsh. Using a reflector with either the existing sunlight or bouncing a flash off of it can be an effective way to simulate the light of the Golden Hours.
Experiment with light the next time you are out shooting. Don't always be a "harsh-light" shooter! Get up and out early to capture beautiful light, or stay out a little later. Either way, I think you'll get better results and images you'll be proud of!
Now, get up, and get out and shoot!