WHAT IS THE RIGHT TIME OF YEAR TO HAVE A FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT OUTSIDE?
Well the simple answer is anytime is the right time to capture family memories but if you are longing for a beautiful shoot on location with your tribe then it does take a little more consideration.
I’ve been an on location family photographer for 15 years and I’d love to share with you my advice that will ensure you get the best possible results from your shoot and achieve the look and feel of images that you have been dreaming of.
DO SOME RESEARCH
Booking a professional to take beautiful images of your family is an amazing experience that many families only do once in a while so it’s important to make sure that you get it right.
For many people it’s not just about recording a likeness but more about capturing a mood, showing emotion and atmosphere. Everyone has different ideas about the feel they want to capture in their images so it’s important as a first step to really understand your preferred style.
My first step advice is to do some research. Find out what feel of image that you love.
Pinterest is a great way to start. Put together an inspiration board showcasing all of the images you adore – images that pull at your heart strings and make you go WOW! It doesn’t necessarily just need to include family portraits, to can be any type of image; look at light, clothing and setting. Once you have collated your board, see if there is a common theme. This could be a season, a colour pallet, lighting – anything at all. This will give you much more information to play with and set the scene for your perfect photo session.
Another great way of doing research is to ask your friends. Perhaps they have had a professional shoot and you really love the results. Find out what time of year they had their session and even what time of day. What was the location?
PICK YOUR SEASON
On location family photography is VERY seasonal. Each season brings with it different light, backdrops, flora and weather. If you are lucky you will be able to identify your preferred season from your inspiration board.
Is everyone wearing light clothing such as floaty dresses and t-shirts? You guessed it, summer is probably your season. Lots of colourful layers and a rustic look? Autumn. Beautiful bluebells, snowdrops, daffodils and a crisp light? Spring is probably your thing. Do you love beautiful golden evening light? Well this can be achieved at any time of year but it typically hits it’s best in the summer months.
To make this easier I am going to break this down season by season for you…
Spring is when everything starts to come alive. From March through to May is a wonderful time for a photo session. It’s starting to get a bit warmer but still nippy enough to need an extra layer at times. Spring is beautiful with a fresh crisp light, making it one of my favourite seasons to photograph in.
This is the time for an abundance of daffodils (March) and also the stunning bluebells which are always such a popular backdrop. Bluebell season is typically only 2-3 weeks long. When it happens very much depends on how mild the beginning of the year has been but as a guide I usually look at the end of April to the beginning of May.
Light is such a key part of any photo session and in spring the sun is still quite low in the sky throughout the day. This means that it is quite possible to schedule a photo session at anytime but I would typically avoid the middle of the day especially if it’s particularly sunny. The light can just be loo harsh then and it’s very unflattering and lacks atmosphere. It’s all about the light!
If you would like a evening sun beach session then it is totally possible in the spring. The great thing about the spring is that the sun sets much earlier in the day. As evening beach sessions happen just before sunset then this is a great time to book especially if you have little ones who you don’t think will make it to sunset in the height of summer (typically 8pm onwards in the summer months).
This is typically my busiest time of year and it’s easy to see why. Long days and warm weather add up to a great time of year for a family photo shoot on location. Think beach shoots, wildflower meadows, our stunning sand dunes as just some examples. Floaty dresses, texture, colour and beautiful light are the name of the game.
Many people assume that bright sunshine is the perfect weather for a photo session outdoors. This isn’t necessarily the case. The harsh sunshine we often get (if we are lucky in the UK!) in the middle portion of the day can be very unflattering for portraits and harsh on tiny eyes. For this reason, in the summer moths, I tend to complete sessions either early in the morning or last thing in the evening – avoiding the middle portion of the day altogether.
Shooting at the end of the day, just before sunset is one of my favourite things to do. This is when we get golden hour. When the sun is setting on a sunny day and is low in the sky, the results are that beautiful backlighting and ward feel you will see in many of my images. This doesn’t come without it’s complications. To get this wonderful effect it is necessary to shoot from 8pm onwards. Many parents feel that it is a bit too late for their little ones but it is really worth making an exception and keeping them up a little later if this is the feel for your images that you adore. I have shot MANY very small children at this time and very rarely do I have a problem. Often little ones are so excited and distracted by doing something new that they totally forget it’s well past their bedtime. I work fast, take breaks often so they aren’t too overwhelmed and go with the flow of the child always. They tend to crash out in the car afterwards on the way home. I’ve even had parents who change their kids into their PJ’s before they get in the car so they can just pick them up and pop them straight into bed! Now that’s clever thinking!!
If you really think your kids wouldn’t be up for a late night (and you know your children best) then you might want to opt for a session in Spring or Autumn when the days are shorter and the sun sits lower in the sky.
If you’re looking for colour and your mood board is full of rustic tones, textures and colourful jumpers and hats then autumn is definitely something for you to consider.
Autumnal leaves, deep reds and golden tones, and plenty of leaf throwing. Autumn wraps you up like a big hug.
This is the time for a woodland adventure and the kids just love it. You can also schedule a session at any time of the day too as the sun (like in spring) sits much lower in the sky giving that beautiful back lighting and golden hour effect.
This is always another busy time of year for me as parents are often thinking about unique gifts for family at Christmas. what better gift than one of beautiful, natural images of the people they love?
There you have it. Your guide to each season in a tiny little nutshell.
I am so excited for this year. It will be so refreshing to get back to normal and to continue to capture natural images for my clients. Images that they will treasure for many years to come.
A you may already know, I only take 5 mini sessions and 5 full adventure sessions per month. This is so that I can ensure my diary flexibility if I am faced with rubbish weather and also to ensure a consistency of quality service and product for each of my families. I’m not a fan of the cookie cutter approach can you tell? You guys are all different and each and every shoot can, will and should be different.
I already have a number of people who have already pre-booked their 2022 session. If you are reading this and it’s you then I can not wait to meet you. If you are not quite ready to book yet and need a little more time to think then that’s also totally OK. I hope that this post has given you some inspiration to start your brain ticking over and figuring out if it’s right for you.
For the first time in 15 years (as I know this year is going to be CRAZY now we are getting back to normalish!), I have opened up a pre-registration process. Call it an expression of interest if you like.
If you are interested in a session but not quite ready to commit to booking then all you need to do is click the button below to leave me your details. I’ll then add you to my priority list and get in contact with you at a later date for an informal chat. There will be totally no obligation to book and I promise not to spam your email but it will give you the opportunity to grab one of my limited sessions slots before anyone else should you wish to and avoid any disappointment.
If you need a little more inspiration then why not click on the PORTFOLIO button below and see some of the images I have captured for my clients over the last decade and a half?