What time of day is best for a family photography session in Melbourne?

What is the best time of day to take photos outside ?

sunset family photography sessions and a guide to session start times in Melbourne

Summer is finally here!! Well...to be fair, this is Melbourne, so as usual our summer is 50% wet and cold …but that other 50%, man is it beautiful!  I’ve been loving any opportunity to get out and do family photography sessions outdoors as the weather warms up and the sunsets are absolutely magical!

Obviously with daylight savings over summer, the days are long and sunset is getting later and later - which means the time we would plan to start one of these family photo sessions is right around our little peoples bedtimes !

Now, believe me when I tell you that I can 100% relate to any reluctance in wanting to mess with your kids bedtime. By 5pm, I'm often counting down the SECONDS until I can put the kids in bed (ok, fine, sometimes I'm counting down from like 8am...). But TRUST ME, for one night...it really and truly is worth it!!  The light during golden hour… well, there is something just magical about it, it is so soft and flattering (which means you look your absolute best with no harsh shadows or squinty eyes) and it also gives your images this WOW factor that no other back drop can produce !

family photo session

the fun factor

"But Jess!", I hear you say, "my kids usually go to bed at 7:30pm and you're trying to tell me we should start a family photo session then!? Are you crazy!? They will be miserable, impossible to deal with, it will be a disaster. The end".

Oh, I hear you, and they are completely justified concerns, but I would say this - the chances are, your kids are actually going to be pretty damn excited to be going out and about (on an adventure, because that’s what you’re going to tell them we’re doing OK!?) when they are normally getting ready for bed. Plus, I’m going to make sure you’re doing lots of FUN stuff together, stuff that your little one LOVES to do … so I find that generally, the novelty factor often seems to be enough to perk kids up for as long as we need.

Have a look at this sunset beach session I did earlier this year and you can see how much FUN my sessions can be !

melbourne family photography
footscray park family photography session
family photographers melbourne

preparation - snacks and naps

In saying all that, it is definitely still best to try and prepare your kids a little bit in the lead up to your family photography session. If your little one is still napping - it can be helpful to try and put them down for their nap a little later in the day to try and stretch them out for longer in the evening.

Also, bring plenty of drinks and snacks along to the session as I always allow time for breaks whenever we need ! 

Toys that they love (including bubbles) are great to have as a secret weapon – BUT (and this is a big but!) I recommend to try and keep these hidden until towards the end of the session unless we *really* need them earlier. Because generally once little people get their hands on bubbles/toys - they tend to not want to give them up again, so this either results in -
a) tears if you try to take them off them to do more photos
b) big ted is in the rest of your family photos

best time of day for family photography session
family photographer in melbourne

Not sold ? That’s OK! You have options!!

The above advice obviously does not apply to all kids!!

I generally do not recommend we do outdoor sessions for newborn babies (there are a number of reasons for this, but one of the main reasons being that newborns have got themselves a bit of a reputation for being a weeeeee bit unsettled later in the day).

Also, babies under the age of 1 are less likely to be entertained by activities and adventures later in the evening as toddler or older kids might be and I completely understand that for some other little ones, going out at or after bedtime is just impossible, so in those cases, you have three other excellent options – 

footscray park photography

1) Sunrise

If your kids are like mine and are generally up before the sun, this option might not be as mortifying as it sounds. Get your clothes ready and snacks packed the night before, give the kids some toast in the car and you could be all finished and ready to go out for a family breakfast by 8am!

If you’re not convinced by the sunrise idea - perhaps check out this recent sunrise session so you can see just how beautiful they can be !

footscray park family photography
family photography in melbourne

 2) In home session

If the idea of getting up at sunrise or staying up for sunset just does not appeal no matter what I say - that’s OK!!! An in home session might be PERFECT for you and they are such a wonderful way of capturing your true everyday lives - in home sessions have a special place in my heart as there is nowhere in the world that you are more relaxed and more comfortable than in your own home. You can get a bit more of an idea of what an in home session with me looks like by checking out these recent sessions -

Preparing for you in home family photography session
In home family maternity photography session

family photo session melbourne

3) Wait

If your heart is set out an outdoor session but your parent intuition tells you that there is just no way your kids will cope with the early morning/later night – waiting until Autumn is a great alternative! Mid March/early April is a beautiful time of year for family photos as the days are often still pretty warm, but the sunrises much later and sunsets much earlier – meaning that the start time of sessions feel muuuuuch more reasonable!

This session was done at the end of March at sunrise …you can see for yourself just how magical the light is at this time of year!

family photography on the beach in melbourne
montsalvat family photography melbourne

Guide to outdoor family photography session start times in Melbourne

As all of my outdoor sessions are shot at either sunrise or sunset. To give you a bit of a better idea of what sort of start time you might expect for your outdoor family photography session with me, I have put together this helpful guide. Please note this is a guide only, and we will chat about a specific start time for you once we have confirmed a date for your session.

Sunrise session- might start anywhere from 5:45am to 6:45am
Sunset session- might start anywhere from 6:45pm- 7:45pm

Sunrise session- might start anywhere from 6:30am to 7:30am
Sunset session - might start anywhere from 4:15pm- 6:30pm


Sunrise session- might start anywhere from 6:45am to 7:30am
Sunset session - might start anywhere from 3:45pm- 4:30pm

Sunrise session- might start anywhere from 6am to 6:45am
Sunset session - might start anywhere from 4:45pm- 7pm

melbourne family photographer
family photo session in melbourne

I hope this helps to give you a bit of a better understanding of why scheduling your outdoor session for sunrise or sunset is SO important and how you can make this easier on you and your little ones!

If you have any questions at all or would like to book in your own sunset family photography session, please get in touch - I would love to hear from you and chat more about how we can plan and capture an unforgettable family adventure together !

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