When I’m able to photograph families outside, I typically do it in the last couple of hours of daylight. Photographers call this Golden Hour because, when the sun is out, everything is awash in golden light.
Not only does Golden Hour give the landscape a lovely, warm glow, but it also gives the photos a magical, romantic quality. (Some people call it “magic hour” for that reason.)
On top of that, at the end of the day when the light is gentler you aren’t dealing with harsh shadows. The soft, even lighting makes everyone look their best, whether it’s clear or cloudy.
When the sun is directly overhead as it is toward the middle of the day, you’re subject to shadows under your eyes and nose. If you’re taking pictures during that time of day with your phone, you can avoid the shadows by finding a shady spot. But for your family pictures, you probably want to be out in nature, so sunset sessions give us that freedom.
Evening golden hour is my absolute favorite time of day, no matter what time of year it is! Which is pretty early in the wintertime, and pretty late in the summertime, here in New England.
In fact, I’m so obsessed with golden hour that when there’s a particularly good sunset and I’m not taking pictures, I think, “Rats! A missed photo session opportunity!”
And then I have to remind myself that golden hour should be enjoyed and appreciated, photos or not photos.
(But we all know that it’s better with photos!)