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.
2. Your family schedule (Naps/Bed time)
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!