Summer is officially here in the great Pacific Northwest and that means the golden hour light that every single Seattle photographer covets is also here. I wanted to show off this beautiful session that I recently held at Discovery Park that perfectly highlights why this is one of my favorite times of year to photograph families and couples.

Mother daughter sitting in grassy field Discovery Park

This was the first day after the official start of Summer that we had a beautiful warm night, so it was our duty to immediately take advantage of it. Timing your sessions around golden hour light is ideal because the light is soft, flattering for everyone, and it means that it will prevent squinting in your photos. Achieving this golden look is only possible during golden hour which happens one hour before sunset and sunrise. It's the perfect option for slightly older kids who need to get out their energy. This particular child was 7 years old and she simply loved running around in the fresh tall grass that was so abundant at Discovery Park after so much Spring rainfall.

Mother daughter dancing in field Discovery Park
Little girl running away from Mother Discovery Park

I like to say that a lot of my sessions involving children are in fact child-led. This session was exactly that. I very casually positioned this mother daughter team in certain spots throughout to achieve good light, but other than that, all of these moments happened naturally. I don't like to give too many posing prompts because I like to approach my sessions from the perspective of a documentary day in the life as opposed to the traditional family portrait. I find that children and babies alike do much better when I simply observe and capture them with my camera. Don't worry - I will definitely position a dress hem length, or suggest where to place your hands, but the more movement and connection, play, and interaction you have with your kids - the more photos you get.

Little girl looking at Mother in Field Discovery Park

A lot of times, as I'm sure you've experienced trying to capture your own kids, children move really fast - like really fast. In fact, they often want to show you how fast they can run - sound familiar? As soon as kids learn to move and run it seems like that's all they want to do. And when we place them in a beautiful outdoor nature environment like this with plenty of space to roam, it's often necessary to let them do exactly that. I like to prep my families with kids and tell them to go into every family session with a positive attitude. It truly makes a difference. Tell your kids that we're going to have fun by playing. Bring their favorite snack and maybe make it special for them and buy them a snack they've been wanting to try. Make sure they are hydrated beforehand - especially important during Summertime - since we will be doing some walking and movement. I can always help you coordinate outfits to achieve a beautiful look for your family portraits - my client closet is always available to check out items. But the most important thing to remember, is to go into your family session stress free. Don't worry about how your kids will act, what they will say (I've heard it all), or if they will smile. I promise you we will get beautiful photo no matter what.

Little girl holding denim jacket above head Discovery Park
Mother helping little girl put on denim jacket Discovery Park
Mother helping little girl put on denim jacket Discovery Park
Mother embracing daughter sitting in field at sunset Discovery Park

I don't turn off my camera during sessions. Let me explain. I like to capture the in between moments. Sometimes I find those are the most beautiful and as a Mother, I yearn to remember and document all the sweet parent moments. How you keep your kids warm, how you snuggle them, how they look back after you comfort them - it's all like a tiny film playing back for you after I deliver your photos. When you're not looking at the camera and you are simply loving on your kids, that is exactly the perfect time to capture those candid family moments that so many of my clients hire me for.

Little girl resting head in Mother's lap at sunset Discovery Park

And the beautiful moments always happen behind my camera. Again, this session required very minimal posing or positioning on my behalf. And I'm sure this had a lot to do with their calm energy and simply enjoying their time together. Afterwards, this little girl said this was the most fun she had ever had taking family photos. The perfect review that every Seattle photographer strives for! I'll take it!

Mother and daughter twirling in field Discovery Park

Now is a great time to reserve a spot for a family, couples, or elopement session. Take advantage of the weather while it's good and enjoy the rest of your Summer! I have over a dozen spots that I'm excited to photograph at this year - in and around the city or even further out if you're up for an adventure. I am also running a flash sale for July Wildflower Minis at this exact location where this session took place - Discovery Park. The fragrant sweet pea wildflowers are just beginning to pop up and they will be in full bloom in early to mid-July. Reserve your time and date directly online before they sell out. See you outside Seattle!