The Best Time for Summer Portrait Sessions (Don't Hate Me!) | Brittany Lynn Imagery LLC

June 23, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

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Summer is here and it is in full swing! The kids are off school, the days are long, and it’s about that time again for the yearly family portrait!

 

I love Summer and am definitely a person that loves a hot, sunny day rather over a cold one any day but when it comes to photos, the Summer heat can be a blessing or a curse.

 

When I think of summer portrait sessions, I envision backdrops of ponds and lakes, lush green foliage, bright sunflowers, and sunny photos. It’s a gorgeous, beautiful image in my head every year and I look forward to my first Summer sessions all throughout Spring and then, every single year, the first one comes and goes and I remember why this is the time of year I, as the photographer, settle for a ponytail and refuse to wear makeup so I don’t sweat it into my eye while I am shooting!

- Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-1- Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-1

This year, it was in late May – I had a family session in a neighborhood park at 11:30am on a weekday and it was a toasty morning. So toasty, in fact, that I had to arrive at least 15 minutes early just to let my camera get used to the heat because when I turned my car off and got out, my lens fogged up! As I was running around with the children taking their portraits, I started sweating through my clothes and even my camera was slowing down so I decided in that moment that I had to figure out a better way to go about this!

As a photographer that specializes in outdoor portraiture, having a plan for all seasons is a must. I have a good idea of what to expect from myself, my cameras and lenses, and how to navigate some of the speedbumps that clients can expect for all times of year and it’s about high time I start sharing what I’ve learned over the years about planning and executing summer portrait sessions in the Missouri Summer heat!

I have a whole other post coming with a list of things to bring to your summer portrait session but for now, let’s talk about timing!

If you’ve planned a portrait session either as a photographer or as a client, then you probably know all about “golden hour lighting” and all the benefits of it. You may even find yourself planning entire sessions around it – I know I certainly do! Golden Hour lighting is gorgeous, soft light that flatters all subjects and is often what natural-light photographers seek out for optimal results. While I personally can and will shoot at just about any time of day, when it comes to Summer, I do have a preference!

New Town St Charles Engagement Collection - Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-11New Town St Charles Engagement Collection - Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-11

In the Summer, Golden Hour is king.

Nothing screams “Summer Portrait” louder than rich, golden light dancing across a field of waving grass but how, in the dead of Summer, can we get in front of the camera, look and feel amazing, not sweat through our carefully planned outfit, and all while still getting that dreamy lighting!?

The answer is simple…

Sunrise Portrait Sessions!

I know, I know, Summer is for sleeping in but hear me out:

First of all, who doesn’t love a summer sunrise!? Is it just me or do summer sunrises just hit different?

I am a naturally early riser so I spend a lot of time sipping my coffee as the sun comes up, oftentimes from the comfort of my back patio. The air is so much nicer, the birds are chirping, and it just feels so refreshingly calm. There aren’t nearly as many bugs (all my evening portrait session people know EXACTLY what I’m talking about!) and the humidity hasn’t quite set in yet for the day, making for a much more tolerable experience enjoying the morning sun versus the afternoon or even the evening sun.

The most common complaint I hear from people during summer sessions is all of the bugs… they are INTENSE during the summer evening hours and not only are they annoying because they fly in your face and into your hair, but they also show up as large, dust-like bokeh dots in your photos which can be a visually fun addition for some but for most, it’s an irritating distraction.  Broemmelsiek Park Maternity Session Defiance MO - St Charles County Park - Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-72Broemmelsiek Park Maternity Session Defiance MO - St Charles County Park - Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-72

 

Also… the sweat. Everyone sweats and the more makeup you have on, the more of a problem it’s going to be. A lot of my sessions are an hour long at the very least – think about being outside for an hour, moving around, snuggling your partner, holding hands, touching noses… it’s not a great time. As the photographer, this one specifically is for YOU – I’m just over here taking the photos and don’t have to worry about touching anyone or being close to someone – but YOU want nice portraits to display on your wall and you may have a harder time getting that photo if you’re sweaty and uncomfortable!

Lastly, even the most patient people who don’t mind the heat can be affected by changes in skin tone when exposed to extreme temperatures. This one happens when people get too hot or too cold – sometimes our cheeks get splotchy, our noses can turn a totally different color than the rest of our face, and I’ve even broken out in hives from heat exhaustion.

Summer portrait sessions are so much easier in the morning as the sun is coming up. This part is important – early morning sun is the best lighting! As the sun comes up for the day, the lighting gets harsh very quickly which will take the session from soft, dreamy light to harsh sunlight that leaves everyone squinting throughout all of the portraits – and that is probably not what you want enlarged and displayed on your wall!

Forest Park Engagement Session - Brittany Lynn Imagery LLC - STL St Louis MO Wedding Portrait Photographer -24Forest Park Engagement Session - Brittany Lynn Imagery LLC - STL St Louis MO Wedding Portrait Photographer -24

To sum things up, here are a few reasons you should plan your summer portrait session for the early morning hours instead of afternoon or evening:

  1. Less humidity (your hair and makeup will thank you!)
  2. Less bugs
  3. Less sweat (no one loves posing for the snuggly photos while they’re covered in sweat!)
  4. No more splotchy skin

 

All in all, summer sessions are one of my favorite types of sessions for all the nostalgia that they bring but there’s a way to plan them where they don’t have to be draining and exhausting!

Summer Family Portrait Collection - Cuivre River State Park - Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-53Summer Family Portrait Collection - Cuivre River State Park - Brittany Lynn Imagery - STL St Louis Wedding Portrait Photographer-53

 

If you’re ready to book your summer portrait session with Brittany Lynn Imagery, feel free to reach out today and I can help you prep yourself and your family for an amazing portrait experience that I’m confident you’ll love and have lots of fun in the process!

 

Happy session planning and one last thing: don’t forget the bug spray!!

 

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