What’s the best time of year for a family portrait session in London?

What’s the best time of year for a family portrait session in London?

Clients often ask what the best time of year is for their portrait session to take place. The simple answer is that each time of year has its own pros and cons, so it’s not a major issue.

I incorporate the best of each season’s growth into your photographs – looking out for flowers or foliage that will lend atmosphere and colour to your photographs. I find the changes throughout the seasons inspiring, and love choosing the colours and light that will work best for your photographs.

That said, the conditions I’ll find to take the photographs in are actually quite similar across each season – we’ll hunt down a pretty spot with gentle shade to avoid squinting and harsh shadows. Overcast skies might not be the ideal picnic weather, but they’re a gift for photography – they create lovely soft light for portraits, and can create brilliant graphic shapes. Likewise, although a brilliantly sunny day is perfect for an afternoon out, the light is very harsh for portraits and we’d hunt out some light shade to provide softer light.

Plus the weather in England is so unpredictable that months that are traditionally lacklustre often deliver bright blue skies, while mid-Summer months are just as likely to be overcast. This is where years of experience comes into its own, enabling me to make the most of each weather condition and of each season’s light – working with the weather rather than against it.

Ultimately, you’ll have a gorgeous set of photographs no matter the time of year.

Spring:

The light gently becomes warmer after the Winter months, which gives a lovely brightness to your photographs.

If you’re keen on vibrant colours in your outdoor photographs, there’s no need to wait for Summer – lots of brightly coloured flowers bloom in Spring. Wysteria and tulips look gorgeous, as do brilliant yellows of buttercups and daffodils.

The greens in parks or commons tend to look just as green as in Summer – but we’ll have fewer members of the public and passerby to contend with, which is great as it gives us more flexibility in terms of where we can take the photographs.

If Spring showers do present themselves, we’ll simply keep an eye on the weather and go outdoors in a break in the weather. I usually spend half an hour or so photographing you outdoors, and there’s usually at least a half hour break in the weather on any given morning.

While it’s raining, I’ll focus on the indoor photographs in your home – and if your children like looking out of the window, this can make for very atmospheric photographs as the rain trickles down.

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Summer:

The light in Summer is lovely and bright, and colours are intense.

Summer sessions lend themselves to longer walks in the park, lots of running around and playing in open outdoor areas.

I’ll look for locations in your favourite park where the children can run free but where we won’t have to dodge too many passersby – and where the light is soft and gentle.

If the sunlight is really intense on the day of your family portrait session, we’ll find a pretty area under light shade where the light will be softer – and where your children can play without feeling the heat.

Where there are bright flowers, we’ll incorporate those where possible as there’s nothing jollier than a daisy or a tree in full bloom!

Of course, this being England, it’s quite possible that we’ll catch a rainy spell. If we do, we can either head out armed with wellies and umbrellas, or we can just wait for a break in the weather.

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Autumn:

The yellows and oranges of Autumn are incredibly atmospheric, and can make some particularly memorable photographs. The grass is often still green right through Autumn, so there’s a lovely variety to the colours available.

Wearing brightly coloured wellies and rain jackets give a real pop of colour to an autumnal scene, or wear your usual clothes and let the autumn colours do the work for you!

Babies and toddlers making their way through carpets of fallen leaves are so emotive. For older children, playing with piles of leaves is so much fun, and always brings out fits of giggles and big smiles.

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Winter:

The crips light of Winter is so beautiful, and makes for very graphic compositions.

The beautiful oranges of Autumn are also often still evident in late November and even early December, so if we pass any coloured foliage I’ll look to incorporate that into your photographs too.

Little kids wrapped up in snuggly coats, hats and gloves look so cute – and make very seasonal photographs for Christmas presents.

If the cold’s really biting and you don’t feel like an outdoor excursion, we’ll simply spend your session in your home – in several rooms so you have the same level of variety in your photographs.

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Which is your favourite season? Have you had a family portrait session taken in it? Would you prioritise the season or your child’s age when choosing when to have your photographs taken? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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