When to book Family Portraits if you Want Fall Color

As I sit here on the super cold morning, I miss the perfect Fall day we had just two days ago. I wanted to take the chance to talk about when to book a family portrait session if including fall colors on the trees is important to you. I wrote about this last year, and none of that information has changed, but if bears repeating. I still have many clients who assume October is the best choice for Fall color.

First of all, I want to say that any time of year is perfect for a family portrait session. The important thing is to get them done, and to do it regularly, preferably at least once a year as our littles ones grow so fast and are constantly changing.  Beautiful memories can be captured any time of year. I’m now booking January photo sessions, and those can be absolutely beautiful (you just need to dress warmly!)

With that being said, lots of my clients really want that gorgeous fall color, and ask me when they should schedule family portrait sessions to get that color.  I always hesitate to answer because mother nature is unpredictable and I cannot promise you we will get beautiful fall color at all.  Sometimes, an early freeze or drought conditions or other things can put a damper on that beautiful autumn color.  

But I can tell you, after some experience and actual forecasts, when to schedule your session to get the best chance of gorgeous color, and that is the first or second weekend of November (the last weekend in October is a good second choice).  That’s when our fall colors peak here in Middle Tennessee.  I find a lot of clients who assume it happens a lot earlier than that, and that’s probably because it does up north. Our friends in Michigan saw their autumn peak several weeks ago (and now they are getting snow!). 

I said all of that same information last year, and here, as further proof, is one of my sessions from Sunday, November 10. I adore this family and loved getting to hang out with them again. I’m thrilled they were able to book this session and indeed did get gorgeous fall color.

Happy Veterans Day!

To our men and women in uniform, past, present, and future, God bless you and thank you.

How fitting that I’m sitting here writing this blog post on Veterans Day. Jennifer wanted to schedule this session because her husband will soon be leaving for military training for six months. She wrote “I would just love some memorable family pictures that my girls and myself can look at while he is gone and just have a fond memory and smile.”

She snagged a spot that had opened up fairly last minute because I had a client that needed to change to a different date. I’m so glad she did. I had photographed the family a couple years ago and it was so great to see these sweet girls, and how much they had grown.

The day could not had been more perfect, and we had a blast exploring and playing in the leaves. I love their energy so much. I couldn’t help but smile while I edited these pictures of their sweet family, and hope that they will be able to look upon them with fond memories during their time a part.

To all of those who serve our country, and to their families who support them, thank you for your service. 🇺🇸

Let them Be Wild – Nashville Family Photographer

One of the biggest compliments for me to hear, is that a family had fun at their portrait session with me. I feel strongly that good memories need to be associated with the pretty pictures. I want kids to be themselves, and that means running, jumping, playing and exploring their surroundings.

It’s not just that I feel like I HAVE to let them do those things to get through the session. It’s that I believe doing those things actually makes the session better. Capturing a big genuine smile on a child’s face as he races down the slide, means more to me than a formal posed image.

I love photographing Hadley and Harper so much. They are so active and FULL of personality. I first met them at Harper’s newborn session, and love seeing them each year. How can you not smile when you look at those faces?

They also come to see me when I take Santa photos each year, and seeing Harper talk to Santa was one of my favorite moments from last year. If you haven’t signed up yet, spots are going quickly for my Santa photos at the Spring Station Middle School Holiday Marketplace on December 7. All the ticket sales from the Santa Pictures go directly to support the Spring Station Middle School Band. Book your slot today!

My Memory Card Failed During this Family Portrait Session

About 20 minutes into this outdoor family portrait session, my camera suddenly refused to take a photo. I looked down at my camera screen, and saw a warning that said I had a memory card error, and to remove the defective card. The card was somehow damaged, and could not be accessed at all. All of the photos I had taken of these beautiful girls so far, were not on the card.

That might have been a moment of panic. For an hour long session, 20 minutes of shooting is a significant number of photos. And the girls had done such an amazing job. We had sang and danced and giggled in the gorgeous light of the most beautiful yellow tree at Thompson Station Park.

But instead of panicking and mourning the loss of those pictures, I simply popped out that memory card and replaced it with another one. You see, I wasn’t worried about losing images, because my camera holds two memory cards. When I take photos, the images are copied to both cards, so that even during a session, I always have a backup. One card was damaged, but the other one was just fine, and had all the photos from the first part of the session. So I just continued shooting without issue, with a new card from my bag as a second backup.

In fact, I always have two copies of your portrait session images. Once I get home from a session, I immediately copy one of the memory cards onto my computer. The other memory card from the session is then stored in a case, not be erased until I have uploaded the session to my online gallery, at which point I’ll have a copy online and a copy on my hard drive.

And I am so glad there are, because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss one photo of these amazing girls. This is the third year now that I’ve been blessed to photograph this wonderful family. Last year, I wrote about how much I love to see repeat clients each year, and that’s still true today. Seeing how these young ladies grow and change each year is one of the best parts of my job. ❤️

Why I Pick the Location for Weekend Fall Family Portrait Sessions

If you book a family portrait session with me most times of year, one of the questions on your booking paperwork will ask you where you’d like to shoot the photo session. I have a page on my website that will tell you about locations I frequently use, and I’m here to help you if you want it.

But you may notice that if you book a session for a weekend in October or November, that I’ve already chose a portrait session location.

The reason for this is that in the busy season, I generally book 3 back to back sessions on the weekend, with only about 15 minutes between them. This is just enough time for me to switch memory cards, so I don’t have time to drive to another location between sessions.

I used to let the first client who booked a particular date choose the location, and then those who booked the date after that would have to agree to that spot. But this complicated the booking process.

Also, I have more requirements for long shooting days than I have for just magic hour sessions. For the rest of the year, most of my sessions are scheduled for the hour before sunset…known in photographer lingo as “magic hour”. Magic hour lighting is pretty great anywhere. But when I am booking sessions earlier in the day, then I have to be sure that a location has some shade available, because the sometimes harsh sunlight of earlier in the day is not ideal for photos. But the proper location can allow a shaded spot from which the sun comes through the trees beautifully.

But for this session and the two before it, the bright sun wasn’t a big concern because it was a nice overcast day.

These two sweet brothers did an amazing job for their session. Those eyes! How can you not smile from looking at them?

Spring Hill TN Fall Family Portrait Session

This lovely family just moved to Spring Hill from Chicago and found me on Google when looking for a family portrait photographer.

In my client questionnaire, Justine said that the family was a little homesick, but was enjoying getting to know Spring Hill and Middle Tennessee. What tips would you offer them for acclimating to our area? Any favorite businesses or outings? When I moved to Spring Hill 16 years ago, there wasn’t much to this tiny little town, but now there is a ton to explore and do. In the comments, tell me your favorites. Be sure to tag your favorite businesses, so she knows where to find them.

Justine also mentioned that her fear for the portrait session was that Nolan (like many toddlers) was pretty squirmy, and she was a little concerned about getting a family picture. That wasn’t an issue at all. I would say this was one of the easiest portrait sessions I’ve photographed in a while. Nolan did a fantastic job. My other portrait sessions of the day both included two very young siblings. One toddler is generally very easy to photograph. It’s when you start trying to get two or more of them together that it gets more challenging.

🍁 Great Opportunity if you haven’t booked fall photos!

I’ve had a client who had to reschedule a session, leaving an opening for a family session at Chapman’s Retreat Walking Trail (shown below) on November 10 at 3:15 (magic hour!!).

I also have a 1:15 spot open for that day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In case you haven’t heard me preach this before, contrary to popular belief, October is NOT the best time for fall color in Middle Tennessee. Early November is. Of course, I can’t promise anything, but there is a good chance this might be one of the best weekends of the year for Fall photos, and I have two spots open. Don’t wait.