Children seated on wooden bridge at sunset

Lighting is Everything: Why Sunrise and Sunset for Outdoor Photos

Have you done much research into outdoor family photography in Colorado Springs? Then you’ve probably noticed that a lot of photographers have a thing about holding their sessions either at the very beginning or very end of the day. And…I’m pretty much the same way! Why do photographers insist on sunrise and sunset for outdoor photos? Let me tell you!

Lighting is Everything

The key to getting that dreamy, glowy light in your portraits is by doing them at specific times of day. Namely (you guessed it) sunrise and sunset. Photographers often refer to these times as the golden hours. Personally, my very favorite time of day for family mini sessions is within the last hour before sunset, when the sun is nice and low on the horizon. I do my best to set up my time slots accordingly!

Avoiding Hot Spots

Planning your session around golden hour also makes it easy to avoid hot spots. (These are the super bright spots that can show up on people’s faces in conditions where the light is too harsh.) Hot spots are one of my pet peeves as a photographer, so I do everything I can to avoid them.

A Touch of Drama: Sun-flares

Sun-flares are awesome! I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I personally love having some of that gorgeous, dramatic sun-flare in my images. The best time to catch these is early in the morning or just before sunset.

Timing Is Also Everything

While this explains why your family photographer is obsessed with sunrise and sunset for outdoor photos, I also realize that golden hour timing doesn’t work out for every family. And that’s okay! Especially during the long summer days, it can be tricky to keep kiddos awake and happy for an 8pm photoshoot (or wake them up early for sunrise).

I promise you, it’s worth it! But if it’s just not feasible for your crew, we will find a way around this for beautiful family photos that fit your schedule. If it’s still really bright outside during your family photography session I like to find open shade spots where we can continue shooting until the light gets a little warmer.

Sunrise and Sunset Family Photos

When it comes to portraits, lighting really is everything. There is nothing like sunset family photos, and capturing them at the golden hours is the best way to get that perfect glow. If you’re ready to capture your best memories in the best light, get in touch! I love documenting families, newborns, and all of life’s special moments.

If you’re interested in family photography, you may also like to learn about the 5 best outdoor photography locations in Colorado Springs and my 5 secrets to getting kids to smile naturally for photos.

Mom kissing son on the cheek with setting sun filtered through trees in the background

why sunrise and sunset for outdoor photos, little girl hugging brother

Siblings seated on wooden bridge with sun setting behind hills

Sunset silhouette of family with dad holding baby in the air

Family walking in Colorado Springs near sunset



Hello, I’m so happy you’re here! Thank you for considering me to capture your portraits. I’m an award-winning newborn and family photographer based in Colorado Springs. If you are welcoming a new baby, or simply want to document your growing family year after year, I would be honored to work with you!