The sun is shining, the grass is greening and although Spring has been here for a few weeks, it's just now finally starting to feel like it.
And with that dearly missed golden glow and those beautiful sunsets on the horizon, this is usually when photographers begin their booking and scheduling family sessions for the year.
Maybe last year there was too much going on between work schedules, family vacations, high school activities and youth sporting events, planning ahead was just not an option. But it's a new year and you're excited to plan and prepare for the family session that's been on your mind for the past few years.
Let me help you by sharing 5 things to consider before scheduling your next family session.
01. Consider the time of year you want to be photographed in.
Do you prefer one season over the other? Do you love the greens and all things blooming or does the fall season and the warm autumn tones make your heart race a little more? When scheduling your family session, be sure to think about your preferred month that you would like to shoot in and if you have flexibility during that time of year to align a date that your photographer has available. Also consider if you have options if something urgent comes up and a reschedule date is necessary. Do you have flexibility during that timeframe?
02. Plan around all the things.
From working around multiple busy schedules or requesting off from work to planning around family vacations or getaways. From high school athletic camps and requirements to youth sports practices and game. Be sure to plan around those extracurriculars and family affairs before selecting a date for your family session. As important as those things are, scheduling a family session and then realizing you have a prior commitment or another obligation may leave limited availability for rescheduled sessions.
03. Be sure to consider the sunset time.
Daylight savings time, my friends, daylight savings time. You love it or you hate it. But some people definitely forget about it and the impact it can have on littles. Heck, anyone - really! Daylight savings time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. What does this mean? Why does this matter? Generally speaking, if you book your session in the early spring into the summertime, your session start time will be later - typically anywhere from 7 o'clock to 8PM central time. On the contrary, if you schedule your session later in the year - from mid-September through October, your session start time will be closer to 6-7pm. While booking after the first Sunday in November, after Daylight Savings Time has ended, your session start time will be even earlier - closer to 4:30 or 5 o'clock central time. Pay attention to this when scheduling family sessions. I always recommend later fall sessions for families with little ones who are still napping or who have earlier bedtimes. Families with older children in extracurricular activities or with additional work schedules, a summertime session might work best.
04. Think about the turnaround time.
Photographers have a window of time that, under normal circumstances, it takes to go through, edit and deliver their images back to a client. This is the "turnaround time" and your photographer should have an idea and share that expectation with you prior to the session, if not immediately following. This gives you, the client, a set expectation to know how long it will take to get those precious photos in your hands or more than likely your inbox. Within my business, my turnaround time is 4-6 weeks for most sessions, excluding weddings. Though, I'm always trying to shorten that down, I've found this range is something I can generally stick to even in the busiest seasons. If you're needing images delivered by a specific date, be sure to consider the time of year - is it a photographer's "busy season"? What is their turnaround time? Is their any wiggle room if something unforeseen happens? It's always best to have a little wiggle room if you need images by a specific date: senior yearbooks, birthday or anniversary parties, Christmas cards, etc.
05. Consider the weather norms during that time of year.
April showers bring May flowers. We've all heard that saying but here in the Midwest, pretty much anything goes. It could snow in May, you could spot a tornado in June, have a flash flood in July, severe winds in August and then have a beautiful 60 degree day in December. You literally never know. So just consider the time of year and typical weather patterns during that time. Most photographers won't risk putting you, themselves or their gear through any questionable or unsafe weather conditions and have specific and firm weather reschedule policies, me included. Be sure to ask your photographer and communicate early on if you have concerns about the time of year. They may be able to offer suggestions on the best time to book your session. After years of photographing families and dealing with unfortunate weather-related reschedules, I've included multiple "weather reschedule dates" each month for sessions that must be rescheduled due to weather. Though I prefer not filling them with the hopes our weather is ideal!
Hopefully you've found some helpful knowledge with these tips on what to consider when planning and scheduling your next family session! I hope to see you in front of the camera soon!