When is the best time of day for family photos in the summer?

The Pacific Northwest has the BEST summers. We wait 9 rainy months out of the year to get 3 glorious sunshine filled months. In the summer, the best time of day for family photos is at golden hour (the hour right before sunset). The lower the sun is in the sky, the more gorgeous the light is. This light wraps around you, basking you in a literal golden glow. I love utilizing light in 3 different ways during golden hour at this summer family photo session in Marymoor Park.

Bellevue family photographer captures mother reading the bible to her children at sunset at Marymoor Park
Mother doing a bible study with her boys in a Redmond park
Bible study at an outdoor family photo session

Golden hour, the hour right before sunset allows me to backlight my families.

Backlighting is when the sun is right behind my families and creates a lovely rim of light around them. The best time of day for backlighting is at golden hour because the sun is so low in the sky. The families can block the sun, creating a beautiful glow around them. Their hair has a golden sheen to it and it is my favorite type of light to photograph families in! Look at this family's hair...backlighting makes a halo of wispy golden hairs. This makes for beautiful summer family photos!

Child reading the bible to his mother during family photos
Boy capturing and playing with a ladybug at sunset in Marymoor Park
Smiling portrait of a boy backlit at golden hour
Smiling family portrait in Redmond captured by a Redmond Family Photographer

This hour before sunset creates beautiful front lighting on families too.

Front lighting is when the light is in front of my family and it produces even, flattering light. I love this light because it allows me to photograph families with a backdrop of brilliant colors in the sky. The best time of day for capturing all these glorious colors is at golden hour. Here, the sun was about to set, so we got majestic blues, purples and oranges in these summer family photos.

Photographer captures children playing a game with their parents at golden hour
Detail photo of little girls hands at sunset
Mother snuggling with her daughter at sunset
Family swinging their children at a park in Redmond

The best time of day for silhouettes is at the very end of golden hour.

Silhouettes place my family in the shadows, highlighting their profiles and show the full intensity of the spectacular sunset. Silhouettes are SO FUN to capture! When I showed my camera screen to these kiddos, they immediately wanted to take another action shot, check out my camera screen to see what I captured, and repeat! Whether it's backlighting for a golden glow, front lighting to capture the beautiful pastel skies or silhouettes to add some drama to your life, all 3 of these types of lighting will provide you with a creative and varied gallery. The best time of day for a summer family photo session is at golden hour.

Silhouette photos on the bleachers of Marymoor park
Boys jumping off the bleachers in Redmond during a family photo session
Silhouette photos in Redmond
Playful and silly jumping photos at Marymoor Park
Silhouette of brothers playing together during family photos in Redmond

Marymoor Park is an awesome place for summer family photos.

Marymoor park is one of many locations around the Eastside and Seattle area to photograph my families at. This location has wide open spaces, plentiful parking and a quick walk from the parking lot. Golden hour, roughly, is at:

  • Late June: 7:00-8:00pm
  • July: 8:00pm-9:00pm
  • August: 7:00pm-8:00pm
  • Early September: 6:00pm-7:00pm

The best time for family photos in the summer is at golden hour. If a 9pm sunset in July is too late for you, pick an August or Early September session date. Take a look at my portfolio for ways that I use golden hour light during family photo sessions. Thanks for reading!