{The Importance of Good Light for your Lehigh Valley Portrait Session} Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton) & Greater Philadelphia Photographer

I get a lot of emails from mamas with young children; In fact, that’s the majority of my clients - young families. When we start chatting about the session start time I share that my Lehigh Valley Portrait Sessions typically begin an hour before sunset. (this is referred to as golden hour). Depending on the time of year this could mean a 3:30 session in November, or a 7:15 session in the summer. While the earlier start time never receives objections, I have many mamas who ask for an earlier start time in the summer due to early bed times, or a morning session when their children are their happiest. I often tell mamas who write me “If you want your images to look like mine, its essential we adhere to an evening session.”

Some locations tend to get ‘darker’ earlier as they are heavily shaded or have large buildings that block the sun early; at these locations, we can start a little earlier. However, many other locations are wide open with no shade in sight. As there is no place to hide from the sun, it is in my best judgement to not do a session in those locations prior to golden hour.

Why is full sun so bad? The following image should explain it well. It was taken at 1:30 in the afternoon. My daughter and I were out at our favorite farm checking out the newest foliage. I saw her down for a few shots knowing full well they would not turn out well! Notice the dark, distracting shadows of the bushes next to her, the shadows on her skin, and the super bright ‘hot spots’ where the sun is hitting her skin. Many times, the sun will be hovered overhead and cast shadows in the eye sockets giving my subject raccoon eyes - this is never a good look. The mid-day sun is bright, and people (especially children) usually squint.

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Notice how bright and shadowy the flowers are in the image below. Instead of their true color, they have a neon appearance as well.

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In contrast of the poor sunny lighting above, I returned to the location at a little after 7 pm. While still sunny, the sun was starting to hide behind trees. This allowed the area to be covered in shade - with beautiful, even light. There are no harsh shadows or bright sun spots!

Lehigh Valley Child Baby Photographer

The flowers are their true colors with no harsh shadows. They also have a softer appearance.

Kutztown Photographer

Here are the images of my daughter side by side for better comparison! While they were shot with two different lenses, the lighting difference is clear!

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When your photographer tells you that light is best at a certain time, believe them. I know it is difficult to keep children up later, especially in the summer! If its at all possible to adjust their nap time, do it. It’s worth it to help ensure your investment is as gorgeous as possible.


Kristin with an I Photography is a Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton) and Greater Philadelphia (King of Prussia, Mainline, Ardmore, Gladwyne, Villanova, Bryn Mawr) Photographer. To book your Lehigh Valley or Greater Philadelphia portrait session with Kristin, email: hello@kristin-with-an-i.com or contact her HERE.

Kristin MilanoComment