Why are outdoor family photos only scheduled at sunset or sunrise? – Toronto Photographer

July 1, 2022

This is a common question that I get asked: why can’t we take outdoor photos at 10:00am or 12:00pm? The answer is simple – it’s all about the light! I am looking for that soft golden glow, and that only happens at specific times of the day. If you’ve ever heard about photographers talking about golden hour, this is the time of day that I’m talking about. Golden hour is the first and last hour of every day, either the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. Now let’s talk about all the reasons why this is the absolute best time of day!

Anchor Studio: Newborn, Family & Cake Smash Photography

The most flattering light is at Golden Hour

This is probably the biggest reason why I schedule sessions at sunset or sunrise. I want you to look amazing and this time of day is going to make you look your best. At golden hour, the light is soft, and the direction of the light is very flattering. But when the sun is higher up, it will create harsh shadows on your face and give you dark circles under your eyes. Have you ever tried to take a selfie when you have canned lights overhead and you wonder why you look so weird? It’s the shadows! But if you take a photo of yourself with lights that are level with your face, it looks much better.

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best Toronto family photographers
best GTA Toronto photographer

Sunset or sunrise light adds a beautiful, warm glow

Something that you may have noticed is that I love warmth. When the sun is low in the sky, it takes on a golden hue and adds warmth to photos. It can also create a beautiful glow that can’t be created at any other time of day.

GTA Family photographers
Anchor Studio: Newborn, Family & Cake Smash Photography
Anchor Studio: Newborn, Family & Cake Smash Photography

Golden hour is magical

Aside from the light being so lovely, it is also much easier to get creative with the light. At golden hour, I can create some truly unique photos for you because of the placement of the sun. Sometimes it’s as simple as sunbursts, but other times I use creative tools to make some fun artwork for you. These types of images can’t be made midday.

Sunflower Minis by Anchor Studio
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Sunflower Minis in Toronto

Popular locations are usually less crowded

Most people will go home by the time sunset rolls around, so you will have a better chance for a more intimate session. And if you are booking at sunrise, everyone is still sleeping or eating breakfast, so you will likely have the place to yourself at that time. This is definitely a benefit to having your photos taken at sunset or sunrise.

Anchor Studio: Newborn, Family & Cake Smash Photography

When is the right time of year to schedule a sunset or sunrise session?

Because the timing of golden hour changes throughout the year, it’s a great idea to plan ahead and schedule your photos at a time that is best for your family. Some kids do well when they stay up later than bedtime and some don’t.

In the late spring through summer, sunset is pretty late so consider that before scheduling a family session in these months. Or read my blog about how to keep kids awake for sunset sessions! But if you schedule between late summer and early spring, sunset is much earlier and easier for young children. Sunrise sessions are usually only scheduled in the fall when it’s not so early. But I do also schedule sunrise sessions in the early spring.

Anchor Studio: Newborn, Family & Cake Smash Photography
Anchor Studio: Newborn, Family & Cake Smash Photography

Here are more blog posts in different locations in Toronto both outdoors and in-studio showing why you should hire a photographer to capture your beautiful family.

Family photo shoot at Scarborough Bluffs

Family and maternity photos at Scottsdale Farm

Family and cake smash photo shoot at Mint Room Studios

Family and cake smash photo shoot in The Solarium Studio

Family photos at The Evergreen Brickworks

How can I book golden hour family photos?

If you’ve decided that golden hour is definitely when you want your family photos taken, I’d love to get you on my schedule! You can contact me to get started or check out my portfolio first. I can’t wait to create beautiful artwork with you!


There are a few ways you can book. You can book right online using this tab which leads you to my online booking calendar. However, not all available dates are on that calendar so if you need a different date, send me an email! You can reach me at hello@anchorstudio.ca

Anchor Studio Photography specializes providing a full service experience that starts with booking your session and ends with getting beautiful tangible heirloom products being displayed in your home. My style of soft, candid and timeless photos can be seen in all my maternitynewbornchild and family portraits in Greater Toronto Area, including Oakville, Mississauga, North York and Richmond Hill. If you are interested in booking a portrait session for your family, you can click here to book your session. I am now booking sessions for summer 2022, so don’t hesitate to get in touch soon!

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