The Best Time to Take Portraits Outside

Embracing the Magic Hour for Family Photoshoots

The Golden Question – When is the best time to take family portraits when doing an outdoor photo session? Creating a gallery of images that both represent your family’s genuine personalities while also being art that you’d want to print and hang on your walls or enjoy in a beautiful album, is a task that I enjoy immensely. I don’t take this task lightly, which is why I like to schedule my outdoor family photoshoots within the Golden Hour – aka 1-2 hours before sunset, depending on the location.

As a mother myself, I understand how getting all the kids and yourself ready and out the door for family. photos can feel like a huge task, but choosing the best time of day for your family portraits outside, will make all the difference in having both the look and feel that you want, which I share in my portfolio.

In this blog, I will shed light on the magic of “golden hour” and why it is the best time of day for taking portraits outside. Let’s explore this magical window of opportunity and how it elevates the quality and emotion of your cherished family photographs.

What is the Magic Hour?

As a photographer (photography literally means, ‘drawing with light’), finding and utilizing creative and beautiful light is what makes my art stand out. Golden Hour is that exquisite time of day occurring twice daily—shortly after sunrise and just before sunset. It’s characterized by soft, warm, and diffused sunlight that casts a golden glow on everything it touches. During these fleeting and precious moments, the sun is low on the horizon, which means shadows are longer and flattering, the light itself has an ethereal feel to it and enhances the natural beauty of everything bathed with its magic.

The Advantages of Shooting During the Magic Hour

1. Soft and Flattering Light

The gentle and warm sunlight during the magic hour creates a soft, flattering glow that makes everyone look their best. Unlike the harsh midday sun, which can cause unflattering shadows and squinting eyes, the magic hour light wraps your family in a warm embrace, resulting in dreamy, picture-perfect portraits. The softness of the light minimizes skin imperfections, creating a softening and relaxed effect.

2. Enhanced Colors and Atmosphere

Magic hour light has a unique quality that enriches colors and adds a touch of magic to your photographs. The soft, warm tones can transform ordinary landscapes into breathtaking backdrops, making your family portraits truly captivating and memorable. The warm hues of the golden hour create a sense of coziness and intimacy, enhancing the emotional impact of your photos, too.

3. Emotion and Connection in your photos

The tranquil ambiance of the magic hour encourages a relaxed and intimate atmosphere for your family. As a lifestyle photographer, I strive to capture genuine emotions and connections between family members. The peaceful setting of the magic hour often allows for more authentic interactions, creating photographs that reflect the love and bond within your family. Laughing children, tender embraces, and playful moments are beautifully captured during this magical time.

4. Beautiful Backgrounds in the phoenix valley

During the magic hour, the sun’s low angle casts long shadows and creates depth in your surroundings. This effect allows for more interesting and visually appealing backgrounds for your family portraits. Wherever you choose to take your outdoor portraits the magic hour light transforms any location into a picturesque setting. In Phoenix, the weather tends to cool down during the early evening, making the outdoor experience even more enjoyable for your family.

The Ideal Time for Phoenix Family Photoshoots

In Phoenix, the late afternoon and early evening golden hour is particularly alluring for family portraits. As the sun sets, the temperatures become more pleasant, creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone involved. Children can run freely without being overheated, and parents can relax and focus on spending quality time together while making meaningful memories as a family.

Tips for Maximizing Your Golden Hour Photoshoot

1. Plan Ahead

Since the magic hour is a limited window, it’s essential to plan your photoshoot in advance. Check the local sunset and sunrise times, and make sure to arrive at the location with enough time to settle in before the magic hour commences. I also recommend that if your baby or child needs to take a late nap so they aren’t cranky, then make an exception for this day!

2. Embrace the Moment

During your photoshoot, immerse yourself in the magical experience of golden hour. Encourage your family to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and be themselves. The more relaxed and at ease everyone feels, the more authentic and heartwarming your portraits will be.

3. Trust Your Photographer

As a seasoned professional, I have ample experience in working with natural lighting and capturing the beauty of the magic hour. Trust that I will find the best angles and compositions to showcase your family in the most flattering and emotive light.

By embracing the natural beauty of the Golden hour during your outdoor family portraits, you will be able to truly enjoy your time together while allowing your photographer to capture genuine personality and moments of real joy and connection amidst a beautiful backdrop.

If you’re wanting tips on where to take pictures in and around Phoenix, check out my blog post HERE.

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