For anyone that has lived in Georgia for long, you know how quickly we go from “Hey it’s spring!” to melt your popsicle levels of hot. There is no in-between, it happens fast, and it lasts through September. These images are from what was probably my hottest session to date! This session turned out beautiful despite the heat. We were sure to keep to the shade and even took a break indoors halfway through. This allowed for the sweet kiddos to have a water break and change outfits (and allowed me a chance to wipe off the sweat with a towel!)
So what do you do when you want outdoor portraits but it’s sweltering outside? You plan carefully! I have a few tips that make summer sessions possible.
First let me say that while all kinds of magic can happen in editing, if you are overheated, with wet hair sticking to your face, no amount of editing is going to fix that. The best ways to avoid this is by being smart about when and where we schedule. Will it still be hot? Yes. But the difference is a little glistening on your back (which can’t be seen!) compared to the red faced, wet hair look.
Here are some helpful tips for sessions during summer:
If you’ve ever scheduled a session with a professional photographer, you’ve probably heard mention of golden hour and soft lighting. Lighting is one the biggest factors in achieving beautiful images. A session scheduled for soon after sunrise will not only have beautiful lighting, but the temperatures will be much cooler than later in the day. This time of day is also ideal for young children. Most kids wake early, and typically have the best demeanor first thing in the morning. This provides a combo of happy kids, cooler temps, and pretty lighting! The only negative here is sometimes we encounter some dew on the grass. Overall this is the best option, especially if you have young children.
A session in the last hour or two before sunset will also allow us to shoot in beautiful light, and the heat begins to ease up as the day winds down. While this is a great options for adults and older children, the biggest issue here is for very young children who have early bedtimes. The late sunset times of summer can often be past bedtime for our youngest friends. Ultimately you know your children best, and know how they will react to being kept up late. So I always recommend thinking carefully through their normal routines and considering whether a session past bedtime is a good option or bad idea for your family.
Well, this is sorta cheating, because it avoids an outdoor session altogether. There is always the option of conducting a lifestyle session in your home. Because this is fully indoors, we can schedule for midday, or whenever you have the most natural light pouring in your windows. In a session like this we can take posed and candid shots around your home. We can even have an activity planned, such as reading books together or baking cookies. This can create fun and unique images of you and your kids spending time together.
Lastly we can just be careful of our location choice. A location with a lot of tree cover can provide shade and some relief from the heat. We can also choose a location that has an indoor area nearby to take breaks from the heat.
Summer is still a great time for portraits. Honestly, I prefer the colors and lightweight, flowing fabrics of summer outfits for portraits over any other season!
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Molly is a Greenville, SC newborn photographer based in Easley who photographs families in the Upstate. She is known for capturing joy with a classic southern style. Photo sessions with Molly turn family memories into artwork for your home and for generations to come.