Family photographer Edinbrugh - little girl with glasses sitting on grass cross-legged blowing bubbles, brother peeking out behind her

sunset photography sessions - Edinburgh Portrait Photographer - little blonde haired girl wearing purple top in a grassy field, backlit

Sunset photography sessions are absolutely the best!

Sunset photography sessions are the main reason I’ve always thought it such a shame little children go to bed so early. (Caveat: not my own children!)

Because the hour or so before the sun goes down is the most beautiful in which to photograph them. It’s a really popular time of day for photographers to work in, the time we call “golden hour”. Here’s why we love it so much, and why sometimes it’s worth keeping your children up that little bit later to take advantage of it

Perfect lighting

During this time, provided the sun’s actually not shrouded in dirty grey clouds, the lighting is absolutely perfect. And If there’s one thing that can absolutely make or break a photograph, it’s lighting.

You might have the most stunning, adorable looking children (like we all do, right?), but without the right quality of light it’s very likely all you’ll get is a flat and dull photo.

As an outdoor photographer of people who relies on natural light, I ALWAYS happy dance when I get to do a session in golden hour when it’s not overcast. I actually do get ridiculously excited about it!

Very, very NOT perfect lighting!

Most people assume that the best time of day for a photography session is early in the afternoon when it’s lovely and bright, and the sun’s at it’s highest. Ahem. Yes, I know. Scotland, right?

But let’s assume we do have a lovely, bright sunny day? Ugh. That’s my absolutely least favourite time of day to photograph people in. There  is such high contract between light and shade then, and that is just not flattering on people’s faces.

Unless the photographer shoots in the shade or is incredibly careful, we’ll lose parts a person’s face as what shows up in your photographs will be strong shadows or nasty bright white patches which end up with no detail in them whatsoever. And  you won’t look brilliant either with your all eyes scrunched up because of blinding sun at high noon.

Unless you place them in the shade, people often end up with ugly shadows on their faces. But depending on the age of your child, “placing” them is not always going to work, particularly outdoors where half the point is for them to just run around and enjoy themselves!

Sunset photography sessions – get that golden glow

Family Photographer Edinburgh - Young boy in blue shirt looking down in grassy fieldInstead, the warm glow of golden hour light adds a warm glow everywhere, making faces and skin tones look really beautiful, illuminated evenly. Then the long shadows at that time of day make things look even better by picking out details and adding depth and texture to the overall photograph.

The final images often have an almost painterly feel to them because of this. And did you know, the further away from the equator you are located, the longer golden hour lasts? The closer to the equator you are, the shorter it is. Golden hour is also seasonal.


In the summer, the weather isn’t too hot, so you’re able to relax a little better knowing that you’re not sweating, perspiring, glowing.


We can also get some great silhouette shots as the sun is going down on the horizon. (Just remember to keep your arms away from your body so you don’t look like a shapeless lump!)

Peace and quiet

There are often fewer people around then, which, depending on the location you go to with your photographer, just makes things so much easier.

sunset photography sessions - Family photographer Edinburgh - little girl with glasses sitting on grass cross-legged blowing bubbles, brother peeking out behind herSee, children going to bed at this time is such a waste of perfect light! So when your photographer asks you if you can meet her slightly later in the day than you’d normally be out and about, why don’t you have a real think about it to see if there’s any way can you stay out for longer?

You can have a look here to see when golden hour is where we live.   It’s so worth it.

Let me know if you’ve ever taken photographs of your children in golden hour, and how you felt about sunset photography sessions? Even better, let me see the images!

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