5 things to think about when booking your sunset family photoshoot

Don’t you just love a sunset?! Up there with puppies and the smell of fresh grass, sunsets are ubiquitously adored. But as a Hampshire family photographer, I have my own reason for loving sunsets. The unadulterated joy of a sunset family photo shoot!

It’s not just about the beautiful backdrop of the sky, painted all shades of violet, amber and scarlet by the setting sun. And it’s not just about the experience of adventuring out with a family to explore the great outdoors at the end of another day. It’s also very much about the light.

As the sun sets, the sunlight bounces off the atmosphere and splits. Gorgeous golds and oranges bathe the world. Skin glows, grass glimmers, everything looks softer and the world is at its most beautiful. And it’s by far the most photogenic time of day to capture your family. There’s a reason photographers call it golden hour.

Sold?! Great! But there’s a few things to consider. So I’ve put together a list of five things to think about for your sunset family photoshoot.

1. Deciding when to have your sunset family photoshoot

First off, December, January and February are a no-go. Too cold. Weather is horrid. And it’s less of a ‘sunset’ and more ‘grey clouds get darker’. 

March and April have an earlier sunset than summer, with a start time of around 6-7pm. This is great if you have younger kids with earlier bedtimes. The only downside is that it’s still pretty cold and the weather is unpredictable. Sometimes it’s glorious, sometimes it’s unbearable.

May, June and July obviously have the advantage of having much more pleasant, reliable weather. The only drawback is the sunset is later, which means a later starting time of around 8-8:30pm. And for babies and toddlers this can make for quite a grouchy session. August is much warmer, and has the advantage of being in the summer holidays, so late nights lose some of their sting for older children.

September is the sweet spot. The weather is usually perfect and there’s an earlier start time of around 6:30-7pm so it ticks every box. October and November are usually still warm, with a nice early sunset. There’s also the added bonus of the autumn sun and the gorgeous colours in the trees. Again though, the weather can be unreliable.

2. Choosing a location

So now you’ve decided when to have your sunset family photoshoot, you just have to decide where. Each location has its very own blog! So if one of them takes your fancy, have a little read and see what it’s all about.


Sunset sessions on the beach are a firm favourite in the summer. Running along the sand together and cuddling up in the sand dunes, the setting sun bouncing off the waves and making shimmering goblets of the rock pools. In summer, these have got to be my favourite sessions. And it will be an absolutely unforgettable experience for you to share as a family.

Have a look at a full sunset session here.

family walking along the beach holding hands at sunset

Meadow SUNSET sessions

Meadow sessions in my opinion are totally underrated. But they come into their own at sunset. As the sun sets, the light makes golden strands of the grass as it waves in the breeze. The long grass shelters you from the wind, and you get to cuddle up together as a family in the meadow. It really is a wonderfully intimate and enjoyable experience to share as a family. And it makes for some stunning family photos.

Have a little look at a meadow session here.

family running through the meadow with their dog chasing them whilst the sunsets behind them


Autumn family photoshoots are so much fun for the kids. As they jump over logs, run through the trees and wind their way through footpaths, there’ll be endless moments of pure joy for me to capture. And as the leaves make mottled shadows of the setting sun, they’ll give you astonishingly beautiful family photos. Especially when you have the amber hues of autumn as a backdrop. 

Find out more about autumn forest sessions here.

3. What to wear on your sunset family photoshoot

Choosing your outfit depends on the time of year (obviously) and where you’ll be having your shoot. 

My sessions are always loads of fun, so there’ll be a fair amount of moving around, clambering over logs, rolling around in the grass or running up and down the beach. And this’ll definitely help keep you and the kids warm! But there will also be some sitting down and cuddling up together when you’re not moving round so much. 

I always recommend wearing layers so you have that flexibility and bring jackets in case it gets chilly. It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but bear in mind it’s a sunset shoot. So it’ll be getting colder as the sun goes down!

In terms of styling and colours, for beach shoots I always think light tones, blues and greens look great. For woodland shoots and meadow sessions, earthy tones, oranges and browns look awesome, especially in the autumn. 

If this all seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. When you book I’ll send you across my welcome guide, full of styling ideas and advice. Just to make sure you get the most out of your shoot and absolutely love the way you and your family look in the photos. 

4. Age of children

I want your family photos to be positively gleaming with moments of genuine laughter and happiness and excitement. So I try to make my outdoor sessions as much of an adventure as they are a photoshoot. We’re not going to be rock climbing, but don’t bring a newborn out with you to a beach in November. See what I mean?!

If you have older, more ‘hardy’ children then the world’s your oyster. Late nights are more of an exciting novelty than a hardship and they’re pretty happy in most weather as long as they’re dressed appropriately. 

If you’d like to have a sunset family photoshoot with your baby or toddler then it’s still definitely doable and the photos will be incredibly precious in years to come. But I’d suggest getting in touch so we can talk it through and choose the best time and location. Just to make sure you and your baby are comfortable and you get the most out of your experience with me.

5. How and when and why to book

Family photoshoots are amazing experiences to treat your family to. Whatever stage of the journey you’re at as a family, getting to share this little patch of your lives together is beyond precious. And photographs that capture it and keep it safe from time will be priceless when you look through them in years to come. 

But my family photoshoots aren’t just about the photos. I want you to absolutely love every second of the experience. And give you memories of an adventure you shared together as a family. So when you look at the photo on the wall, you won’t be looking at a lifeless, static pose. You’ll be smiling from ear-to-ear as you relive a family adventure.

I do get booked up quite a few months in advance for sunset family photo shoots (there’s only one sunset a day, after all). So I’d suggest booking sooner rather than later. If you’d love to book you and your family in for a sunset family photoshoot in Hampshire, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Please get in touch today to check my availability.

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  1. Claire Poskitt says:

    Hello Carley,
    I hope you are well?
    We are really interested in a new family photo of all four of us but our new addition is only four weeks. So not sure how this would work but we all love the beach and have already spent happy times together on the beach and hopefully many more.
    Also do you offer the option to get all photos and more prints?

    Look forward to hearing from you.