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Working with Spring Lighting: Family Photo Edition

March 20, 20228 min read


The start of spring marks the end of a season. There’s something special at this time as it welcomes new beginnings in the year. Flowers blooming, trees coming to life again, and the warm weather coming together highlight this special season.

Getting outside and making memories with your family is one thing to do during this Spring season. What better way to capture this moment than to have a fun family photoshoot?


Finding the best lighting in the early spring for family photography can be a challenge. With a little research, you can find the perfect spot for your family photo. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Planning the session

Capturing family photos requires planning. This involves checking the weather, gauging the amount of lighting present in your chosen area, adjusting the amount of lighting with light fixtures, and knowing the positioning of each family member in your specific location.

You can also brainstorm ideas for the theme of your family photos. Ask ideas from different people in your family to know what they would like in the pictures. Amazing ideas might be where you least expect them!  Pinterest is a great source for inspiration.

Consider the details you want to include in the images and contact your photographer to inform them about this. Set an appointment with your family photographer to discuss the best ideas to consider during the photoshoot.

This can sound daunting when you’re organizing a large group or one with children. In this situation, you might want to draft a plan for your family to follow. This plan can include the following:

  • Timeline - The timeline is one of the most crucial parts as it informs your family when to come in for the sessions. This also shows you how the session will play out on the day itself. With this, you can add additional time per item in the timeline to make way for unforeseen events.

  • Positioning - This part shows your family their appropriate positions during the sessions. Making this is important to avoid confusion on the day itself, and to take advantage of the best lighting.

  • Theme - This part informs your family members of what the mood of your photos will be, and what it will be themed around.

  • What to wear - This part is a recommendation of pieces of clothing that family members can wear. Be mindful of being too vague or restrictive in this part as not everyone may have the exact piece of clothing you recommend. A tip here is to include your color palette and suggested pieces of clothing for people to wear.

  • Recommended Posing - This is also an important part where you can show your family members what posing to use during the shoot. Kids can have a cute pose for fun and amazing photos, while adults can also consider a relaxed and light pose. Posing can also be fun so make sure to check out which ones make kids and adults comfortable.

It is best to prepare alongside your family photographer to capture moments with your family.  Your photographer can guide the photoshoot and ensure that your family looks their best.Your family photos will now be memories to look back on in the future.

Consider your needs 

What do you need from your lighting? Do you need it to be bright, or more subdued? Do you need it for general purposes or a specific activity?

The weather in spring is usually unpredictable. Most times, it is rainy with sunshine coming out periodically. With this, it is always best to consider the theme of your photos to determine the amount and type of lighting you actually need.  Umbrellas can make a very cute photo prop!

If you’re going to capture photos outdoors, find a location with an ample amount of natural light to make sure that your photos are well illuminated. The lighting outdoors differs depending on the location, so make sure to test it out and see if it fits your theme.

If you’re going to take photos indoors, find a location with ambient lighting. The concept of layering light is particularly important in taking photos indoors. You don’t want your shots to contain harsh lighting and shadows especially when it is not in line with the tone you’re trying to emulate.

Capturing your lifestyle and story

Your family photos should tell a story, and the location is a big part of that.

Your photographer will help you choose the best location for your session based on the time of day and the type of pictures you want.

If you want a more urban feel to your photos, consider locations like alleys or rooftops downtown. If you want a more natural feel, consider going to a park or nature reserve.

No matter what the location is, make sure that everyone in the group is comfortable with it and will enjoy taking pictures there. Capturing genuine smiles and laughter are key to making beautiful family photos!

Family in flower fields

Checking the best time

Many photographers say that the best time for taking photos is in the golden hour. This can either be sunrise or sunset. This is simply because the sun’s rays travel longer when it is low on the horizon. Lighting from the sun is also less intense and gives off more flattering tones for your photos.

You may also consider other times of the day, but avoid ones where the sun is directly overhead and very bright as this might create harsh shadows for your pictures. In the early spring, clouds can be more common due to the rainy weather. Clouds make a beautiful natural diffuser.  

This timing can often be challenging if you are traveling to a location, assembling a large group, or are bringing young children and a baby. With this, we can consider different hours and locations to best fit the needs of you and your family.

Checking the weather

Checking the weather just beforehand can ensure you are properly prepared. If the day is going to be dark and rainy, then you may opt to take photos indoors and use artificial lighting. If the day will be cloudy or sunny, you may opt to take photos outdoors and find spots that have the right amount of lighting for your needs.

Warm weather helps in uplifting moods, but can also be frustrating for others. You can use this to your advantage by using bright colors in clothing and backgrounds when the weather is nice.

Contact your family photographer to be prepared for what they suggest in terms of adjusting for the weather. Quality photos take amazing service and apt preparation.

No matter what, make sure to have fun with your family and friends while taking your spring photos! These tips will help you create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

Gathering the group

Knowing the group size is key to planning the light. A rule of thumb is that the larger the group size, the longer it takes to set up each shot.

Relaxed, authentic shots will capture the family moments and create the best quality gallery to choose your images from. It’s hard to be relaxed when you’re rushing, so always consider the time.

Also consider if there is a newborn in the family so you can make the adjustments needed to accommodate them. This will make it easier to capture the precious moments you share with the family.

Make sure the group has had a snack before the shoot starts. This can prevent members of all ages from being hungry and frustrated through the shoot.  

A happy family is key, we can always make small adjustments to the lighting in Photoshop if necessary but a happy family makes for a happy photographer (and beautiful photos)!

Kids and babies

If you have young children or babies, it is important to take into account their attention span and how long they can be in one spot before getting fidgety. This will help determine what type of photos you want to capture and where to best place them during the shoot.

For example, if you are wanting a posed family photo with everyone looking at the camera, it is best to have everyone in one spot and take the photo quickly. If you are wanting more candid shots of your family interacting with each other, then having them spread out throughout a location will give you more time to capture natural interactions. 

Anticipate lighting changes through the shoot to ensure you aren’t saving the best light for a time when the kids aren’t cooperative. Having props can also help keep young children entertained and focused during the shoot. This helps make the shoot have more details and fun for families!

Professional editing

One thing to remember is that there is no perfect shoot. This is why it is important to consult with your family photographer about how you want photos to come out after the editing process.

In your consulting appointment, you could suggest to your photographer what things need to be edited out, what things to change, or what things to add to your digital images before they're developed. Making fun pictures also includes post-processing, so prepare questions to ask your photographer!


Considering what type and the amount of lighting you need for your photos is important in knowing what you need. Early spring offers a lot of possibilities for this, but can also be daunting as the weather isn’t as predictable as other seasons. 

In spite of this, the weather gives off several possibilities for what you can do in your photos. Memories are best captured through photos, so make the best out of the time with your family.

We hope that you found the tips in this guide to be helpful. Interested in booking a photoshoot?  Please get in touch at the link below to discuss packages.

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Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Photos by Cheryl and a clickable link back to this page.

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