Family of five exploring in the PNW at sunset - how long do family photos last

How long do family photos take?

I’m sure this answer will differ depending on which photographer you ask, but I’ll tell you how long I personally take to photograph a family photo session. I don’t put a set time on my sessions because not every family is the same but they usually take between 45-90 minutes. There are a lot of different factors that might determine how long it may actually take so read on to find out!

Family cuddling and laughing during hour long family photos

How many people are in your family?

The number of people in your family could determine how long your session might take. If you have a lot of kids, then I’ll be sure to start with enough time to get all the shots I would want. There are a lot of different combinations that can be made with a large family! But if you only have one or two kids, or you are first-time parents booking a maternity session, then we won’t need as much time.

individual portraits of each of the three kids in a family of five

How much walking is necessary at your location?

Some locations don’t require much walking and the spots we use are close together. But others are a bigger adventure that might require a little more time to walk around.

sweet family playing and exploring during family photos

Have you added on a family film?

If you’ve decided to add on a family film, then your session will most likely take around 90 minutes or possibly a little bit more. This is to give us time to get both photos AND video. Remember that these are fun adventures so you don’t even need to pay much attention to me. It’s just family play time, so it won’t feel like very long at all!

Family cuddling on a blanket at sunset

What kind of mood is your child in?

This can really determine how long your family photos will last. If our child is having the time of their life playing and exploring, then I will just keep going until we run out of light or I feel like we got everything we need and then some. But if someone is having a tough day, I’ll try to be as quick as possible, or maybe give you a bit of time to do whatever is needed for them to be happy again. So this could make the session shorter or possibly longer. Haha. This is why I don’t set an exact time limit, you just never know with kids!

dad and son playing and laughing - how long do family photos last

Have we run out of light?

Usually, I will book sessions close to sunset so once we run out of light, we have to be done! So I will make a guess for what time we should start based on your family, the location, and the weather for that day. I do sometimes schedule sunrise sessions and in that case, this is not a factor in how long your session will take 🙂

Sweet family photo with three small children

Have we reached a natural stopping point?

I’ve been photographing families for over 10 years and by now I just KNOW when I’m done. I’ve gotten all the shots we need, and it just feels like the right time to be finished. I try not to push it too long to the point where the kids are completely over it because I’d rather end on a high note. I’ll usually ask if there was anything else that you wanted me to photograph and that’s it!

Adorable family cuddling on a blanket sitting during hour long family photos at golden hour

So basically, there is no set answer to this question! I won’t put a time limit on your session, we will just see how it goes and either shoot until the last bit of light is gone, or stop whenever it feels right. If you have other questions about family photos, you can find the answers in this blog post: Complete Guide to Getting Family Photos in Portland.

I’m participating in a blog circle this month, so check out my friend who’s an Aberdeen family photographer and her post about an in-home photo shoot for a birthday.

And if you’re ready to book your session, you can go to my contact page. See you soon!

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