I do family portrait sessions outdoors in natural light, and I am always looking for the best time of day to get the best light.
The best time of day for outdoor portraits with natural light, when we can get the beautiful soft light known as the “golden hour” or the “magic hour,” is either 90 minutes after sunrise or 90 minutes before sunset.
Direct sunlight in the middle of the day can cast strong shadows, make you squint, and generally feels unpleasant. It’s not a flattering look. What I’m always looking for is the soft, warm light of early morning and evening.
This is why outdoor family portrait sessions are hard to schedule – the availability is very limited and weather dependent. Luckily for all of you, I have a few open dates left for photos in September. Check them out and snag one if you can!
The problem of course, is that the best time for your kids to take pictures may not overlap with the best time of day for natural light. And we do want their cooperation as much as possible. So it may not always be possible to do your family portraits during the Golden Hour.
And that is okay, too! I will always find the best light possible for any situation. If it is broad daylight and the sun is bright, I will seek out open shade where we can get soft, even lighting. If it’s overcast, we may not have the dreamy golden sunlight that you want, but we’ll have nice even skintones and fewer shadows.
Remember that what makes family photos so special is the special relationship you have and the love you hold for each other. No matter the lighting situation, if you can be yourselves and enjoy each other, I can make you photos you’ll love.