Pixel Dreams Blog | Andre Toro Photography

What's the best season for family photos?

Every season has its perks. There's charm to all of them, and each offers a unique experience when it comes to gathering your family for a photo session.

There's no bad or good choices here. Just, whichever suits your family best. So let me give you the pros and cons of each for you to make up your mind.

All four seasons offer the following benefits:

  • Family gatherings. In every season there are holidays when family comes to visit and joy is in the air — July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, just to name a few. This is perfect timing with college age kids, they're home!!!
  • Positive moods. Regardless of the weather, work, calendar or vacation a photo session brings up joy and good mood. Don't let the cold or extra warm weather shy you away from creating memories. Having something to look forward to as a family creates a loving mood!

However, they all have their downside:

  • Timing. Photographers play with light, the sun is the main character that we chase. So make sure you plan around that, we shoot at sunset or sunrise. Each season will have a gorgeous window of time (golden hour), 60-90 minutes around sunrise & sunset.
  • Family rivalries. For a regular family session this doesn't happen, Mom calls the shots (usually😊). With extended family sessions emotions can run high, every family has a style and personality. Make sure that you understand what's important to everyone. Talk to your photographer in advance of the session so you have an idea of the potential session flow, then set the expectations with the group.
  • Weather. Inclement weather in MA is a known fact. Snow, rain, strong winds waves hit us, so trust your photographer advice and be flexible.

Ok, but, which should you choose? Let's go over them in detail, shall we?

Spring Photo Sessions

For me personally, this season represents hope. Flowers start to bloom, the weather is warmer, people are happy an excited to be outside! Nothing beats the Spring feeling, I'm delighted to shoot outdoors and photo season officially begins!

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In Spring, there're all sorts of flowers and colors to play with; it's a photographer's dream. Our artistic soul fuels up with endless color possibilities.

But, is it your season? It all depends on what type of background that you're looking for.

If you're a cherry blossom lover, then late April is the perfect timing. For me the Arboretum is THE destination to capture these magnificent trees; L'esplanade and Back Bay Fens are also good spots.

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If you're into tulips, then May is your month. Boston offers a signature tulips destination at the Boston Public Garden. The entire garden fills with colors. To avoid tourists, I recommend being an early bird. Before 9 am the park is usually for you to enjoy with the calmness of a Boston morning.

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If you're willing to drive a bit, magic photo sessions happen at Wicked Tulips Flower Farm in RI. The special perk is that this is a picking farm, so you get to pick 10 tulips with your ticket! That's an incredible experience for kids and makes the photo session an incredibly fun game.

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And, if you are a wild flower lover, then you're super lucky. Basically, all spring is the perfect window of time.

Your photographer will scout locations constantly, she or he can propose unexpected spots with the most beautiful flowers to dance with and have a fairy tale photo session.

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What I love about doing Spring photos

  • Photographers' peak season is Fall, everyone is getting ready for Holiday Cards and looking for gorgeous family portraits. Photographers are booked way in advance and their availability to accommodate a last-minute request might be tough. We're back-to-back — literally.
  • In Spring, we (photographers) have a more relaxed booking agenda, better luck for you to hire your DREAMED photographer.
  • These photos make beautiful Easter Cards :)
  • The weather is in the warm side, so HELLO dresses, sandals, and short sleeves! Say good bye to multiple layers.
  • If you've got older kids, it's THE perfect timing. They won't change physically between Spring and December, so you could right off Holiday Card's portraits from your checklist (yei for avoiding crowds!).
  • Chances are kids are healthy during late Spring, so good bye FLU season!

Why Spring could not work for your family photo shoot

  • If time management is everything for you, then Spring might not be the season to go after. Specially April, it rains SO much. We photographers are constantly rescheduling spring sessions to accommodate for rain.
  • If you're into a specific type of session (cherry blossom or tulips, for example), you have 2 limitations: rain + flower's blooming calendar. So for this flower-related sessions, we've got a plan A, B, C, and D. We might need to meet as early birds before work, or weekday sunsets because it might have rained ALL weekend and the flowers won't wait for us. You'll need flexibility in your schedule; the photographer will be committed to make it work.
  • If you've got a newborn, baby or toddler and you're planning to use these photos on Holiday Cards, your kid will grow TONS between now and then. This means that he/she won't look like the photo anymore. Not a killer but some parents like to hold photos until the Fall so their family photo is accurate.
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Tips to make the best of your Spring Session

  • Book at least 1 month in advance, at least. If you're interested on a specific flower experience, the window of time is 2 weeks approximately, so sessions sell out fast. Check out my Ultimate Checklist for a Family Photo Shoot for what you need to get ready then.
  • Give your photographer multiple days options to work with, plan for rain and expect sunshine.
  • If you're interested in Easter photos for Holiday Cards, plan accordingly. In Spring it takes a photographer 2-3 weeks to deliver the photos, 2-3 days for cards to print, 1-2 days for your family to receive them in the mail. So try to book your session in early Spring.
  • Spring in MA is unpredictable. Some years we've got snow until April! If you desire a wardrobe style without many layers, optimize for warmer weather in late Spring regardless of the flowers blooming in the background. The background is just that; what matters is that your family is comfortable, dressed warm, so we can capture the snuggles, laughs, and candid hugs.

Summer Photo Sessions

Summer sessions are so beautiful, the weather is warm all the way, the constant rain is gone, and kids' vacation hits the calendar! Extended family is around, there's out-of-town family visiting, and everyone is relaxed with the academic year behind them.

The outdoors options are endless; photo sessions can take place in the park, beach, lake, or even your backyard if you've got Grandpa visiting!

Beach Summer sessions are stunning. There is a special magic to Beach Sessions that just can't be explained unless you LIVE IT, here I talk all about it. The kids adore to play with the water and have fun. It's the perfect session if you're vacationing in Cape Cod or Maine beaches. There are also many alternatives to the Cape (just a short drive from Boston!), perfect for a sunset session for a non-vacation scenario.!  The sunrise and sunset sessions are breathtaking, you get to relax with the beautiful sights while watching your kids enjoy themselves with every wave that splashes.

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Park Summer Session are the most popular ones, easy commute and accessible. Boston and the suburbs offer so many gorgeous parks with nothing but green and peaceful scenarios. There are iconic ones like Boston Public Garden, or hidden gems like Stonehurst Minute Man in Concord, and Beaver Brook Reservation.

Photographers are always scouting new locations and parks are one of our preferred location. Many parks allow for pets to be part of the session! We also look for locations where kids can play and run wild. Yes, in my case I'm after candid moments, snuggles, and dancing.

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Lake Summer Sessions are perfect for families who want their photos by the water but who doesn't want to commute to the beach. We've got Walden Pond in Concord and Morses Pond in Wellesley, which are incredible spots to capture water and green in the same frame. The kids get the water experience, and we can also play with the trees as background for great contrast.

Lakes are the photographer's dream for early morning session, as crowds have not hit the location, and we've got the entire scenery for us!

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Family get-together. There are so many events in the summer: graduations, birthdays, and big holidays like 4th of July.

Chances are that your extended family will be visiting you! Having family in town is the perfect reason to hire a photographer to capture your time together. Grandparents will cherish their memories with the kids, and you'll have treasured moments with those who live far away.

It's very common for these sessions to take place in the family's backyard, as grandparents appreciate the accessibility and it takes off that commute burden and logistics when you have so many people involved.

A backyard is not so glamorous, you might think. As photographers, we are trained to find beauty everywhere, so background is just that. We'll work with what we've got and always focus on the emotions and human connection. That's what you will feel when you see the photos. Any backyard will do. The magic can and will happen everywhere.

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What I love about Summer Photo Sessions

  • Days have longer hours! Sunset happens around 8 pm and sunrise around 5.30 am. Weekdays after work become an option. If you don't want to jeopardize a weekend at the beach for photos, then chances are your photographer can schedule the session weekdays after 6-7pm. Same happens for sunrise session — if you've got an early bird tribe at home. It's a win-win for everyone!
  • Time management and scheduling becomes easier. The constant rain is gone, so chances are the session will take place the day is supposed to be. Bye to rain check plan B!
  • Say hello to maxi dresses, tutus, shorts, sandals! The wardrobe is fair game for all incredible summer outfits.
  • Summer is an ironic season: the weather couldn't be better, yet it's a slow season for family photography. People are on vacation mood, planning the next trip and adventure, the logistics after day camp are complicated, and photos is not top of mind. This means the booking calendar is more relaxed and you'll be able to be more picky on dates/times that work for your family.

Why Summer might not work for your family photo

  • Your preferred photographer is on vacation! Yes, we take time off in summer. It's the perfect time to recharge and spend tons of time with our kiddos before crazy / peak Fall photo season begins.
  • Massachusetts gets warm! If you're into cooler weather and like the fall outfits, you might melt during a summer session. I adore warm weather (I say I'm in my element when it's 85F) but some families prefer to avoid the humidity that comes in July and August.
  • That's it. SUMMER is just perfect! Fun fact: My family and I had our pictures taken this Summer. We actually waited until the weather was super warm, so we could dress up like I wanted!

Tips to make the best of a Summer Session

  • For beach sessions, schedule with enough time. Photographers are used to commute to Cape Cod and around MA all the time to photograph our clients, yet the logistics take time to coordinate. As soon as you know your vacation dates, reach out and book. If you have flexibility for a day trip for a sunset session, then that opens up more availability + possibilities.
  • Check your photographers' vacation schedule! You don't want to miss out if your window is limited and you might have a conflict with the photographer's time off.
  • Consider doing the photo session in the comfort of your home if you've got old relatives participating. They'll be happy and relaxed.

Fall Photo Sessions

Fall is the most popular season for professional photos. Photographers dream about THIS season all year long. The combination of cool weather, breathtaking colors, and holiday mood makes it THE season for family photos.

Our booking calendars are full and our hearts explode with love. We get to bond with so many families in Fall year after year.

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What I love about a Fall Photo Session

  • Did I tell you about the most wonderful colors Mother Nature could offer us? Well, this is what you get in Massachusetts' foliage. It's breathtaking. People travel from abroad to experience it, and we get to live it and capture it daily. It's a New England's photographers dream.
  • The weather is perfect! Not too hot, not too cold. Rain is just occasional, so rescheduling due to inclement weather is not likely.
  • Lovely fall outfits. Are you into wearing boots, using layers, and looking cozy? Then Fall is your season.
  • If you've got an infant or baby, photographing them in the Fall is the way to go for Holiday Cards. By the time your family gets the card, your little one will still look exactly like the one in the photo.
  • Thanksgiving. Chances are your college kids will be home for this Holiday! Take advantage of it and capture sweet memories. For families with smaller kids, this holiday is great too, everyone is on vacation and the session will be super relaxed!

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Why Fall could not work for your family photo session

  • Days are shorter, sunset happens between 4-6pm EST — depending on the month. Weekday sessions after work become challenging. The dream is to catch the golden hour (period of daytime shortly before sunset).
  • Availability. This is peak season for photos, everyone is looking for gorgeous portraits for their Holiday Cards. Photographers are most likely fully booked. I recommend you booking by early September the latest.
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Tips to make the best of a Fall Session

  • Follow your dream photographer on social media, they'll release Fall Session dates really early on. Be ready to book and grab a spot. Mini Sessions availability are very limited this time of the year. For Full Sessions, you'll have more luck.
  • Keep in mind that if you book early you might get lucky, some photographers offer special discounts if you book by end of summer. 
  • If you're fascinated by the foliage colors and are looking forward to that colorful background and experience, talk to your photographer and offer alternative dates for your Full Family Session. She/he will be tracking the foliage calendar and you can lock on the specific date later based on the actual progress of the leaves.
  • Mini Sessions are booked with multiple families back-to-back, therefore there is no window to be late. Plan to arrive 5-10min early. Last minute commute traffic can make you miss your spot.
  • Design and print your Holiday cards early. Printing services have strict deadlines the closer it gets to Holiday, you might have to pay expedited shipping to make it on time. Schedule your photo session in early fall and plan printing in advance to avoid the crowds!
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Winter Photo Sessions

Winter in Massachusetts can be quite harsh: snow hits, temperature drops, and daylight is limited. You might think that this is the season to stay indoors, with a hot chocolate in your hand. Well, that plan sounds delightful and cozy but I'll challenge it a bit.

Winter photos are beyond spectacular. This is an under-rated season for outdoor photos yet the outcome is so beautiful that I can't describe with words.

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Why I love a Winter Photo Session

  • Did I tell you about the snow? There are so many signature spots in Boston that look like “winter in Wonderland”. Boston Public Garden becomes one of my favorite winter locations. The huge crowds are gone, the calmness in the air is so refreshing, and the bridge is beyond romantic.
  • Photographer's availability. For lifestyle family photographers, winter is a slow season. Not everyone is willing to experiment and experience a winter photo shoot, so you'll be able to book your favorite photographer. Wohoo!
  • Baby is cold outside. Yes, the cold is real so the hugs and snuggles become a bigger thing in these sessions. We get to photograph incredible connection between parents and their kids, it's super fun to play in the snow. The hugs are tighter, and the love explodes.
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Did I tell you that winter brings the softest light to kids portraits?

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  • There is no cold weather that a hug doesn't warm up!
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  • Urban lifestyle sessions. Winter is the perfect time to do a session in the city; we get to walk and discover Boston with the camera while hopping in and out of coffee shops and little stores. It makes a delightful experience.

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  • It's THE season for young adult kids. College kids always come home during the Holidays, so chances are you've got a Full House after the new year's. Scheduling a photo session by then is the perfect timing. These kids can take any temperature and make fun with and without jackets. You know how hard it is to have all kids in the house, so take advantage of it!

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Why Winter could not work for your family photo session

  • The cold is REAL. For smaller kids the cold might not be fun. We try to keep the session short and sweet!
  • Days are shorter, sunset happens around 4pm EST — depending on the month. Weekday sessions after work become challenging.
  • Snow storms are expected, so rescheduling due to inclement weather is something that you have to think about and be flexible to.

For every photo session there is a season!

If you have full flexibility, then pick the season that speaks to your heart. If you have schedule or time limits, choose the one that suits your family the most.

Most importantly, take advantage of the opportunity of gathering your loved ones in one place, time and day, to show them how much you care for them with sweepstakes that last forever!

 

I want to know what to do!

 

Topics: Family Photography

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