So, You've decided to commit to making time to document your families life journey


and you find a photographer that you LOVE, you contact them to book a date but then the photographer asks "what time shall I book you in?" and then you're stumped. "What time of day is BEST for an outdoor family photo session?" you ask yourself.


Then you ask, "What if the Sun's not out?"


As Forrest Gump once said "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get" insert UK weather instead of Life and this is the reality of living in the UK. So, relying on the Sun being out, even when it's forecast, isn't always a reality.


Photography is all about light, of course it's about capturing all of your gorgeously entwined moments, but...it's about light, so heading out into the wild with your wildlings to create the photos of your dreams can depend on the time of day and also the time of year. Every season has it's best light, here are a few examples of different light, how it effects a session and to reassure you that even when the sun isn't shining it doesn't mean you won't have beautiful photos.

A maternity couple embrace and smile at each other by the sea on a Hayling Island Beach while the sun sets behind them.
In a Sunflower field on Hayling Island a family sit on a haybale while Dad airplanes his Son into the overcast sky.
On a beach on Hayling Island a Mum smiles lovingly at her Son and Daughter while the Sun sets behind them.

Family Photo sessions in Bright Sunshine

You can get bright sunshine at any time of year but, of course, it is usually most abundant in the Summer. I tend to position people with their backs to the sun to avoid 'squinty face' or we find a nice bit of shade. Full sun is great at making colours and partially cloudy skies POP. I love photos with bold colours, they're so fun and dynamic aren't they? Cons of bright Sun can be some dark shadows and unavoidably overly bright highlights on hair and shoulders when in unshaded locations.

In a location on Hayling Island a smiling Mum embraces her 1 year old Son.
On a beach on Hayling Island a maternity couple stand, laughing by a fallen tree as the sun sets behind them.
On a sunny day in a poppy field a 2 year old in a white dress inspects the flowers.

Family Photo sessions on cloudy/overcast days

I know that lots of people would say that overcast photos would look boring and dull but I actually think it's the opposite. Overcast light is probably 'THE BEST' light for creating soft flattering shadows on the face, works in lots of open locations, can capture dramatic skies and is perfect for bright coloured clothes. Cons of overcast days, shaded locations can be too dark.


In a field in Havant a Dad holds his newborn Son. The parents smile at each other.
In a field in Havant a new Mum lays beside her newborn Son smiling.
In a Sunflower field on Hayling Island parents joyfully lift their One year old Son into the overcast sky.
Family Photo sessions at Sunrise and Sunset


With the sun a lot lower in the sky, photo sessions at Sunrise and Sunset are the best at creating dramatic photos and are my personal fave. On sunny days the warm sun glows around your family and on overcast days it's create deliciously moody photos. The best time for these photos is in the few hours after and before Sunrise and Sunset. Arriving promptly to these sessions is key so as not to be disappointed with it either being too bright or getting dark too quickly. Cons, the Sun may rise or fall more quickly than anticipated and overcast days it can get dark quicker.

On a beach on Hayling Island a family of four sit in the sand kissing each other as the sun sets behind them.
In a field in Havant at sunset new parents sit with their newborn daughter, kissing in the long grass.
On and overcast day In a sunflower field on Hayling Island a dad tickles his one year old Son.

What is the best time of day for a family photo session?


Regardless of the season and even if it's cloudy, booking your family photography session depends on where the Sun is in the sky. The higher in the sky, the least flattering the light will be on your faces which is why most photographers avoid 10am-3pm times and I'm the same. In fact, where possible, I prefer all of my sessions to be closer to Sunrise/Sunset as I feel the light is just so much more magical at those times of day and help to create the heartfelt and meaningful photos that I and my clients love the most.

On an overcast day in a sunflower field on Hayling Island a family walk through the flowers holding hands and smiling.
A maternity couple look at each other while sitting on a fallen tree on a beach on Hayling Island.
At sunset on a beach on Hayling Island a Muma and her 6 year old son sit with their foreheads together.
In a field in Havant new parents stand holding their newborn Son laughing.
In a field in Havant a family walks through the tall grass smiling at each other.
In a location on Hayling Island a Mum and Dad stand holding their one year old between them and smiling.
A 2 year old in a white dress stands, laughing in a poppy field in the bright sunshine.

About the Author


Hi there! My name is Estella Ward, Owner of Entwined Photography. It's my mission to capture heartfelt joy and connection. I have always been drawn to photography that draws emotion and captures the spirit of the moment that you can almost hear the laughter in the photo.

I see such beauty in all the fleeting moments of time and I've carried that perspective with me into my adult life, especially since becoming a mother. Entwined Photography is a Family, Newborn and Maternity lifestyle photographer based in Havant, Hampshire and serves areas in and around Havant, Hayling Island, Portsmouth, Waterlooville, Fareham, Rowlands Castle and Chichester.

In a sunflower field on Hayling Island at sunset a Mum and her 2 year old daughter sit on a haybale laughing.