There are three things to consider when determining the best time of day for family photos for your crew. I have been photographing families for over a decade now, and taking these three things into consideration can help you decide not only the timing of your session, but also the location and time of year that is best for your family. Keep in mind that these are just guidelines and suggestions, but ultimately you know your family best! Let’s dive in!
If you have a specific location you would like to use, take note of the lighting there throughout the day. If you are hoping to take photos at home, watch the light for a few days to see when your home is brightest. Is there harsh sunlight coming in? Which rooms are best lit during the morning? If you want to focus your time in your living room, what time of day is that room well lit?
Similarly, if you are hoping for the beach, there is typically little shade so you will want to shoot at the times where the sun is least harsh: golden hour and sunrise. Golden hour is always hailed as being the best time of day for outdoor photography, and when shade is sparse that is certainly true, but certain locations get dark quickly in the evening and earlier in the evening might be better.
The majority of my families have little ones that are still napping, and we all know toddlers can be awful when it comes to skipping or cutting naps short. Every family has their own schedule, and some families are less flexible than others with bed times. Each parent has different opinions on this, and I totally understand that many people’s sanity is reliant on a schedule. If that is the case for you and your family, what time of day is best for everyones mood and engagement? If your toddler is happiest first thing in the morning, maybe we choose a morning in-home session. Or maybe your kids love the option to stay up late and play at the beach, then maybe a summer golden hour session will work for you.
Have your heart set on a fall outdoor session? Keep in mind that here in Ontario fall is generally damp and cloudy, so even though sunset is not until 6-7pm, it is often too dark to shoot at the typical golden hour times. In the summer we are looking at harsh sun from 9am-5pm, which means a mid day session might be best indoors. Taking the season and weather into consideration is an important step in determining the best time of day for family photos.
Like I said off the hop: you know your family best! The best session is one that is low stress and high energy, so choose the best time of day for your family, and choose one that will allow you to be present in the moment with them. Still curious when you should book? Reach out today and we can discuss!
We are so fortunate where we live to have some beautiful spots so close by that are the perfect backdrops for family sessions. With two lakes surrounding us and endless kilometers of farm and woodland between, there are so many possibilities! Each location brings a different look and opens up new opportunities for activities. I have made a list of my tried-and-true locations for outdoor family sessions
Erieau has so many great things to offer: beaches, pathways, the pier and cottages. Not to mention the fish and chips or the woodfire pizzas and craft beer to grab after your session! It is the perfect spot for families to play, and for couples to get cozy.
This one is a bit of a hidden gem in the Wallaceburg area. Many people tell me they have driven by this spot for years and never stopped. It used to be a memorial forest owned by Nichol’s Funeral Home, but it is now owned and maintained by St. Clair Township. The beautiful trail leads back to some pretty rolling hills (as rolling as we can get in Southwestern Ontario!). This location is great during the fall and winter, but can get wet and very buggy if it’s hot and humid weather. The sunsets at this location are also the best!
Wilkesport Gardens are an absolutely beautiful and relatively new addition to our area. This is a privately funded park that offers a wide variety for any type of session, but it is a favourite of mine for extended family sessions because there is a large amount of space and activities. I will say that because the trees are young, it is best suited for evening sessions because the shade and light filtration is limited during mid day. However, it is a great central location for Chatham-Kent Sarnia Family Photography Session.
Everyone local knows Brander Park. It has a reputation as being the photographer go-to spot, and for good reason. The pond is beautiful and the willows create and awesome backdrop. Don’t mess with a good thing!
This park has some amazing options in it, with the pond and the wooden bridge, multiple outbuildings, and some beautiful wildflowers it makes for a great spot to explore with a large family or small children. I often use this spot for extended families since there is so much space to work with!
Canatara is a gem because it offers so much variety! Located right in Sarnia and on Lake Huron, you get the best of both worlds with green trails, and beachy vibes. This is a beautiful option year round, but also offers some gorgeous colours in the fall, and wicked sunsets in the summer.
So many of us locals live in the rural areas of Chatham-Kent/Lambton, and it is always a pleasure to work with families on their own properties (or their friends/relatives). Having a connection to the location brings another level of personality to your images, and it is always fun to incorporate family heirlooms into sessions. Sessions at your own home or farm allow for a backdrop unlike any one else’s, and you know I love a cozy in-home session
Studio Sisters is a lovely little studio downtown Chatham that offers a warm dry place in the winter months! They always have it decorated beautifully and the neutrals are always the perfect backdrop for any kind of session, be it family or branding!
There are some really wonderful spots downtown that are hiding in plain sight. Downtown sessions are great for a more urban feel – and are usually close to craft beer (just sayin!). Urban session are a fun way to play with light and lines, and they also offer so many options for things to do. We can even grab a pint at Sons of Kent, Refined Fool or Glasstown Brewery before, during or after your session!
I’ve shot a wedding here, but it would be really fun to explore with a family! It is so bright and fun, and they are so helpful there. Perfect for a rainy afternoon.
I am always up for exploring a new location with you! If you’ve got something in mind, let me know and we can make it happen for your next Chatham-Kent Sarnia family photography session!
I have at the utmost privilege of documenting this family from the beginning. Ian and Stephanie asked me to photograph their engagement session and wedding in 2019, their son’s newborn session in 2020, family sessions with extended families, and now their daughter’s newborn session in 2022 (yes, I am a year behind in blogging sessions!)
As always when you are welcoming a newborn to a home with a toddler, there are lots of breaks and snacks, but there are also lots of snuggles and giggles. This sweet little family does not disappoint when it comes to showing affection, and it makes for a smooth and fun gallery of images.
If you are looking to book an in-home newborn session with me in the Chatham-Kent/Sarnia area, here is what you need:
If you are looking for a Dresden Newborn Photographer who specializes in at home sessions, please reach out today! I can’t wait to meet you!
Lakyn is also a family and wedding photographer in my area, and she is just as lovely in person as she seems on social media. She asked me to come to her home for a mother daughter session, and we had so much fun together. Here little Elle is a fire cracker – and not just because of that beautiful red hair! She was full of energy and sass, and all the things we love about strong little women.
Most moms are not the ones in front of the camera. We have tens of thousands of images on our phones and computers of our kids, and even our partners, but very few of us. Booking a mother daughter session is a great way to get some pictures with your kids. Images of your mother are rare, but so incredibly meaningful for kids to have! So book the session, get in the frame, and my goodness print the pictures!
Our little ones grow up so fast, and time really is a thief. Making the time to book family photos and prioritizing these simple moments is so important. Having images of you jumping on the bed together, holding your little one in your arms, or curled up on the couch together with your favourite book will never be something you will regret. These types of sessions make the perfect coffee table books so you can continue to look back on them whenever you are missing those toddler days. If you are interested in booking an in home mother daughter session, or a motherhood session, reach out today! These sessions have my heart, they are the most rewarding to deliver and I know you will not regret it.
I often get asked whether I will be offering Mini Sessions anytime soon, and while I do enjoy offering them once in a while, they are not for everyone. Today I am sharing some pros and cons of mini sessions so you can decide whether they might be a good fit for your family
Time is valuable, no matter who you are, and I can certainly appreciate that. An evening long lifestyle session might not be in the cards for your family or this season of life, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your family photos. Mini sessions allow you to get those updated images of your family without requiring a big time commitment.
Some kids are shy or play strange when they meet a new person, and warming up to a new adult can be hard. If your toddler or pre schooler is shy, a longer session may allow us more time to get to know each other. A 20 minute session may not allow me a lot of time to get those genuine smiles and laughs that photograph so beautifully. Mini sessions are typically stacked back to back, which also does not offer a lot of flexibility with timing.
Typically mini sessions are priced accordingly. When mini sessions are stacked throughout a day, there is limited travel required, and of course the shooting time is also shorter. This, as well as the decreased amount of photos being edited and delivered allows for the price to be cheaper.
Shorter sessions mean smaller galleries. Of course if you are just looking for a few new updated photos for your holiday card, this may not be a bad thing, but my full session galleries are typically 100-200 images, whereas a mini session would give you 20-30 images. Not only do you get less images in your gallery, but you also get less variety. My family sessions are a mix of posed and lifestyle, but working with a limited amount of time means there may not be enough time for details or candid moments.
Mini sessions are typically pre-planned at a specific location and time that you can choose from easily. This takes any stress out of deciding a location or activity for your session. All you need to do is show up!
Choosing to do a full lifestyle session gives you a more personalized experience and images that reflect your family. In a mini session there is not enough time to incorporate the interests of your family, and the gallery may not reflect your personality as well. In a full session we have more flexibility, we can explore your home or another location, play games and relax a bit more which provides a personal touch to your gallery.
After hearing about some of the pros and cons of mini sessions, what do you think would work best for your family? Remember, what works for you now may be different another year and choosing what is best for your family right now is what is most important!
If mini sessions are for you, I always invite my email list first – you can join my email list here to be the first to know!
Thinking a full session might be more your style? Reach out today to reserve your session!
Coming from a blended family myself, I can appreciate that photographing blended families may be stressful or intimidating. Having a few tactics to help you navigate family dynamics and ensure everyone has fun is important for creating lasting client relationships.
No matter the family, I always start with a more posed group shot. Especially when you are dealing with younger kids (or teens!), getting that shot off the hop saves you from a potential melt down getting your way later on.
Family dynamics are tough. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings around the experience, and getting family photos might not be their first activity of choice. Respecting their feelings and boundaries is important for creating trust and connection. Ultimately if someone doesn’t want to be there smiling you aren’t going to change their mind, but by showing respect for their feelings you might make an otherwise uncomfortable situation an enjoyable memory.
Grouping kids is often requested (usually for the sake of sharing images with grandparents) but it can also make kids feel excluded. Spending time chatting with each child individually makes them feel special and builds a rapport that can extend through the whole session. It can also provide you with talking points and bonding opportunities later on in the session.
Having an intake questionnaire or email conversation before any session is important for you to gather information about the family structure and any potential roadblocks. Prior to photographing a blended family you may want to know what sorts of groupings they want, if anyone is hesitant to be there, or what the kids are interested in. The more you know, the more you can prepare yourself and show compassion.
A blended family session is a family session. The most important part of my family session experience is creating a fun memory for the entire family. I treat every family with equal respect and kindness, in the hopes of creating a relaxing and enjoyable encounter that will leave them feeling good. I bring compassion and understanding to all of my sessions so we can create a comfortable environment to have fun in!
Photographing blended family sessions is always special to me, being from one myself. Bringing two families together is tough for a lot of reasons, but is can also be amazing. If you’d like to book a family session with me, get in touch today!
Greenhill Gardens offers so many beautiful options for photos! This Wilkesport extended family session from last summer is no exception. Extended family sessions are always so much fun, especially with so many grand kids to wrangle! This time of year I get a lot of inquiries for gift certificates.
Extended family sessions are split between big group shots and some more relaxed shots of the grandkids. I try to work through a list of all of the family groups, and then let the kids play and gravitate toward each other for more lifestyle images too.
Get in touch today! I can provide you with a beautiful gift card to present the lucky recipient and we can discuss a few location options. Extended family sessions can be at a location of your choice, or your home if you wish! Getting outdoors somewhere like Greenshill Gardnes means we can explore a bit helps the kids keep busy and comfortable.