Welcome to my fall portrait session guide! Fall is hands down my busiest season all year. My calendar is filled with beautiful portrait sessions and a few of my own family activities. Truth be told, I love it. The weather is a little cooler, the colors a little bolder and it’s the perfect time to cozy up for a few photos. Based on how many questions I get about fall portrait sessions each year, I thought I would put together a little guide. Here’s everything you need to know!
One note: Keep in mind, these are all based on portrait sessions in Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland. If you’re planning a session in another part of the country, you’ll want to check on the typical weather if you’re not local. If you’re planning a destination session with me, I’ll do the research for you!
The best time for fall foliage in the DMV is typically mid-October to early November. Every year it’s a little different, so I do recommend following along theFarmer’s Almanac for predictions. These dates always go quickly, so if you’re hoping to have pretty leaves in the background, book ASAP. I take a limited number of portrait sessions each week to accommodate my editing schedule and rescheduling due to rain. Once a week hits that number of sessions, I close it. Since the peak fall colors are only a few weeks long, these coveted spots also book first!
Fall is one of those seasons that gives you lots of options! Cozy sweaters, flowy dresses, and boots are all great choices. My luxury portrait experience includes wardrobe styling, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. You can choose one of my client closet dresses, or I’ll curate a list of options that match your style and location choice. Together we’ll finalize everything for your family so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
The sunset time changes drastically during these three months. Sessions start times range from 3:00pm – 7:30pm depending on the month, and sunrise ranges from 6:00 – 8:00am. I’ll give you our exact start time before you officially book.
Also, don’t forget about daylight saving time. When this shifts, the start times for sessions all shift too. It can make sunrise sessions much earlier, which can be helpful if you want to get into work after it ends. On the flip side, it means you have to get up much earlier. It also means sunset session start times shift. I try not to schedule any sessions on the day it changes to prevent any miscommunication on timing. So it shouldn’t affect your session in any other way! Tip: you can search on google for “sunrise + date + location” and it will give you the exact sunrise time if you’re curious what to expect.
It is also important to keep weather expectations in mind. With little ones, it can sometimes get a little too chilly the later we get into fall. Sunrise sessions in particular can get very cold. If you’re worried about cooler temperatures, I recommend booking an earlier date to be safe.
In Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, there are so many options! Fall is one of my favorite seasons because it brings beautiful colors no matter where you choose. If you’re looking for a nature vibe, I recommend choosing somewhere with tons of fall foliage, such as a local winery, trail or park. Manassas Battlefields is always a top choice if you are looking for an open field or trees.
The city is also gorgeous in the fall, and the mix of clean lines, beautiful architecture and autumn colors is always beautiful. Here’s an example of fall photos at the Constitution Gardens in DC.
For more ideas, check out my lists of favorite locations:
I recommend scheduling your fall family photos in Northern Virginia, DC, or Maryland at least 2-4 months in advance. My calendar fills up very quickly in fall because it’s such a popular time for photos. The majority of sessions take place on weekdays (Monday – Thursday, with some Friday mornings available). This is both due to scheduling and because the best locations are very crowded on weekends. It’s much more relaxing to take your photos when we’re not surrounded by many other photographers and families getting their photos taken. I’m also planning on closing all outdoor portrait sessions by Thanksgiving of this year (2022). So don’t wait if you want to grab a spot!
If you know you want fall photos this year, fill out my contact form here! I’ll be in touch within 48-business hours with all the details (although, usually I get back to you sooner). My email will include pricing info, my earliest spots available to book, and everything else. If you ready to book at that point, you can easily do so online. I’ll send you a proposal with all the info to complete at your convenience. If you want to chat first, you’re always welcome to set up a phone call or an appointment at my photography studio in Sterling to chat.
I’m always happy to help! Send your question here or email me directly at email@example.com.