One of the most known phrases (if you're a GOT fan) is WINTER IS COMING! Well, if you're a photographer FALL is THE season. I even own a shirt that a client gave me (from my Wayfair days) that says FALL IS COMING. Fall is MAGICAL, BREATHTAKING & CRAZY BUSY. It's a photographer's dream. We get inspired by mother nature and love & we shoot every single day. The love that we see is real, candid, and emotional. The fall breeze is magical, not too cold, it's perfect.
When to book your Fall Photo Session
Let's get logistics out of the way. The answer to this question is yesterday... LOL. I mean it, Fall is the most popular season for photos in New England. Why? the FOLIAGE. It's breathtaking, it's beautiful, it's beyond your (and my) wildest dream.
Photographers release their Fall calendar in mid/late summer. Repeat clients get first pick (I'm about to email my Fall Newsletter to my ATP clients) then the dates are published to the world. We get completely sold out by early Oct the latest.
What's the best month for my session: September / October / November?
Foliage takes place in mid October (give or take), Mother Nature NEVER tells us when she'll be at peak but if previous years are a good reference, then mid October is a solid guess. So yes, in mid October most of the trees will be screaming color. But in the same way that there are no 2 identical humans (not even twins!!) there are no 2 trees alike. Photographers scout ALL the time, specially in Fall. Every location has it's own timing. Last year I started shooting Fall Sessions in Lexington, then Concord, moved to Belmont, then Lexington, then Lincoln, and back to Lexington.
I'll walk you through sessions shot from Mid September to Mid December. The magic is there no matter the week or month ❤️
You would never know that I shot this session on September 15th. I remember the exact date because I was shocked myself. This family had the daughter visiting from out of town so it had to be that date, I scouted and found a hidden gem in Lexington. Yes!! some trees decide to go WILD in color in September. So if your family's calendar asks for September, don't hesitate, go for it.
Location: Lexington, MA
In October the possibilities open up. This session was shot in October 5th. Yes, some iconic session dates stay in my heart forever. Before the colorful leaves there is tons of GOLD color. This gold grass is a photographer's dream and BIGGEST obsession. Yes, more than the colorful leaves.
Finding an open field full of gold grass is the best feeling in the world? What makes it difficult to find? THE TOWNS CUT THE GRASS. Can you believe that?? who dares to cut the most adored grass LOL. The grass we (photographers) have been waiting for ALL YEAR LONG. We have to scout same day, literally same day. The grass that you see today might be ALL GONE tomorrow. I once tried to negotiate with a guy cutting the lawn in Lincoln... haha if ONLY I could access the town's cutting-grass-calendar. If someone has it for Lexington/Lincoln, PLEASE email it to me LOL...
Location: Lincoln, MA
Yay! The leaves start to change color. Here is where your photographer's 24x7 scouting pays off. We'll be monitoring trees like crazy, over the years we become best friends with Mother Nature and we can predict (we're not magicians but very close LOL) where will be a gorgeous spot to shoot during this time.
In New England that foliage goes in waves, which is awesome! There is always an area with amazing colors waiting for us.
Location: Belmont, MA
For me, this is the best time to book your photo session. You'll have the best chances to catch the peak foliage. The colors speak for themselves. This is the busiest for photographers and the first weekends to get booked. If you're flexible and a weekday works for you, go for it.
During this time of the year you'll see many photographers in each location. For me, I ADORE finding hidden gems to avoid the crowds. My peak foliage locations are well kept secrets ;)
Location: TBD buahaha
Late October is a hit or miss depending on the year. Last year we had standing yellow trees until Halloween. The super colorful tree you see here with the family sitting below it, was taken on October 27th!! Can you believe that?
If you book your session for the last days in October, be flexible. You might have a stunning yellow/orange/red as background or you may not. What I can tell you is that the leaves will ALWAYS be there left in the floor. Mother Nature lets us play with leaves until the end of the year.
Location: Lexington, MA
Believe it or not, these weeks are the hardest for clients (but not for photographers!). Moms might stress out that the leaves are falling from trees, they want to hold the leaves with their eyes praying that they will last until their photo session.
For me, it's a new beginning. The locations start to be super flexible again because I'm not the tree hunter anymore.. LOL. I'm not analyzing the wind + rain + trees 24x7 (yes, my engineer hat almost has me running predictable models for trees with standing colorful leaves). Now is back to normal scouting (like THE rest of the year except those 2-4 weeks of foliage). I scout for locations that allow for candid love + snuggles to take place.
Location: Lexington, MA
College kids! Yes, Thanksgiving is THE time of the year where the adored college kids come home. Moms' hearts explode. Finally the house is full and loud. The jokes and laughs are non-stop. Booking a family session for Thanksgiving weekend (or the weekend before) is very common. Make sure you reach out to your photographer way in advance, those 2 weekends are VERY popular and you photographer might also be traveling.
For me, Thanksgiving is always in Boston. Lucky to have my sisters in town, everyone flies home. So I do work those weekends and I love it! So many amazing college kids I get to meet and learn from.
Location: Concord, MA
Some families book with grandparents (yay!! I LOVE THEM!). Grandparents are worth the wait. I would trade peak foliage for grandparents ANY DAY. Ultimately the sessions are about your family's love & essence. The leaves are just leaves. If we have them wonderful, if we don't then other backgrounds will be gorgeous.
If your family is happy, that's all we need for breathtaking moments to take place.
Location: Lexington, MA
Early - Mid December
Yes! I still shoot into December. This starts to be the slow fall season yet the weather is still doable (not too harsh cold) and the leaves are still there (in the floor but there!!). It makes for the perfect timing for those who like the photos after Thanksgiving. Families who book me by then are not too worried about Holiday Cards (depending on the date you might not make the shipping cutoff), they hire for for the moments.
Sometimes the love and opportunity explodes in December and you know what? it's PERFECT. The snuggles will keep everyone warm, the leaves will make an awesome prop for kids and your Mom heart will be warm and cozy.
I would encourage you to book your session as early as possible, many photographers take off starting mid December. By then we'be been working around the clock since September, so we might agree to shoot the session (sometimes is hard to say no) yet the gallery might be delivered in January. I would totally do it! If Stormy Solis was visiting Boston in December, I would book my family session with her and wait how-lon-it-takes to get my photo gallery :)
Location: Lexington, MA
At what time of the day do Fall Sessions take place?
Regardless of the season, photographers shoot around the Golden Hour (sunrise & sunset). The best light is 60-90 minute around sunrise and sunset. Then we get the blue hour (which is that soft light after the sun is set).
In Boston, in late October sunrise is around 7.20am! This is AWESOME news for sunrise sessions, no need to wake up at 5am for photos!
At that time fo the year sunset is around 5.30pm. So yes! kids will be in bed at their regular time (in summer sunset sessions means a late night party!)
Here you can see that Fall lasts much more than just 2 weeks of peak foliage. The leaves are incredible yet your photo gallery will be stunning and breathtaking regardless of what week you picked. I'm sure you've seen gorgeous spring and summer photos that have taken your breath away 😊
If your dreamed photographer is fully booked in October but has openings in November or September, go for it! If you're late to the game and just realized you want your Christmas gift to yourself to be family memories with your kids, go for it! December is still an option.
Yes, Christmas Cards are incredible! I LOVE THEM myself. Receiving Christmas Cards from my clients/families is so awesome, I put them ALL in my kitchen and the kids love it! It's love pouring from my shelves making me remember in the Holiday Season how much I LOVE my job and how blessed I am to capture lifetime memories for each of them! Yet the real purpose of hiring a professional family photographer is to invest in memories. The holiday cards are just a tiny reason, these memories will live in your heart for years to come. So don't let foliage determine if/when you book your session, follow your heart and make the investment. Your photographer will scout a dreamed location and your family's story will be captured with love and dedication.