How to Choose What Time of Day to Book Your Seattle Family Portrait Shoot?

Photography is all about light! So as the seasons change, the lighting changes and therefore the times of day that we recommend for photo shoots change as well.

In Seattle, our weather is typically bright sunlight or overcast skies. When the sun is shining it's best to take photos as close to sunrise or sunset as possible, that way we avoid the harsh light created when the sun is at it's highest. Before 10am and after 4pm are best! Early in the morning and late in the afternoon we get to shoot in "the Golden Hour"! 

Click here to learn more about Golden Hour and why it's the perfect time to book your Seattle family photo shoot.

Of course, we do still offer photo shoots in the middle of the day because sometimes that's the only time a family is available and we understand that scheduling can be hard, so we're flexible. Remember, if you do end up booking your shoot in the middle of the day when the sun is bright, it's not the end of the world. We have LOTS of special photography tricks up our sleeve - we know how to avoid blown out photos, shadowy faces and squinty eyes. 

When the sky is overcast however, it almost doesn't matter what time of day we take pictures because the light is even and there aren't very many shadows. See, cloudy weather can be a perk! Though, since the days are shorter we can only fit in a couple of shoots. Between 10am and 2pm is best!

So, let's break it down! There are essentially three different lighting situations that we deal with during our Seattle family photo shoots. 

1) OVERCAST
We get LOTS of overcast skies in Seattle so most of the year our photo shoot lighting is pretty even and easy to work with.

PROS: It makes skin look clean and smooth, there are few shadows, and it's easy to see all the detail in both the subjects and the background

CONS: the color can sometimes look a little flat or neutral and sometimes the photos look cold

Mom and Dad carrying kids upside down -thehappyfilmcompany - How to Choose What Time of Day to Book Your Seattle Family Portrait Shoot?

2) HOT SUN
Hot direct sunshine is something we Seattlites only deal with in the late spring and summer. It's very tricky to work with but thankfully at the Happy Film Company our lead photographer (Chamonix) used to photograph families on the beaches of Hawaii and she learned how to deal with the tropical sun. So... we have all sorts of tricks up our sleeve! Don't worry!

PROS: bright, vibrant colors - higher saturation, sunny and warm looking

CONS: can be too bright / hot, patches of light can create speckled light or 'hot spots' on the skin, and can be unflattering for skin overall, blown out backgrounds, aka, limited ability to show off any background, lots of shadows

Mother and daugter portrait under the hot sun -thehappyfilmcompany - How to Choose What Time of Day to Book Your Seattle Family Portrait Shoot?

3) GOLDEN HOUR
This is the most dreamy and gorgeous type of lighting! But it is only available just after sunrise or just before sunset, and in Seattle, usually only available in Spring / Summer / Fall months.

PROS: dreamy romantic lighting, makes everyone's skin look soft and glowing, aka, amazing!

CONS: not reliable / predictable (sometimes the sun goes down really quickly and we miss our chance or it happens so fast that we only get a few golden shots, basically it's a tricky period of time to catch), can sometimes make the photos less sharp looking (not blurry, just a little hazy because of the way the light enter into the camera lens)

Family portrait during golden hour -thehappyfilmcompany - How to Choose What Time of Day to Book Your Seattle Family Portrait Shoot?

Rest assure however, because we are happy to work in overcast and golden hour! We avoid hot sun as much as possible, again, we have many tricks up our sleeves for dealing with it well, i.e. we can take pictures at any time of the day in almost any weather and make it work .... but obviously, we have our favorite ideal situations. ;) 

When you book your Seattle family photo shoot with the Happy Film Company, please think about the time of year you're booking your shoot and consider the best time of day for the lighting style you'd like in your photos. You can always ask us for guidance when it comes to lighting. We're super happy to help. CLICK HERE to BOOK YOUR PHOTO SHOOT!

xoxo Chamonix & the Happy Film Company team!

Checkout our last blog post: Should I book my Seattle family photo shoot at Golden Hour?