October 1, 2021
Today is October 1st. And portrait photographers everywhere know that we are officially in the busy season. October and, to a lesser extent, November for photographers, especially those like me who photograph families, are like March and those first few weeks of April for CPAs.
Of course October is popular for portraits — especially outdoor, environmental portraits. The weather is beautiful. The temperatures have begun to cool. The sunlight takes on new qualities as we transition from summer. And the trees are beginning to change color and glow in beautiful orange and gold tones.
October is also popular because as we head into the holiday season, you are probably already beginning to think about the cards you’ll send and when you are going to send them. And if you are someone who like to put your cards in the mail just after (or even just before) Thanksgiving, and you are planning to use an image (or images) from your portrait session, then October is really the last month to get those portraits made.
But before you go running to hire a photographer this month (if you haven’t already), let’s look at whether an October portrait session is right for your family.
First, you need to decide what these portraits are for. If you’re interested in photos that you can put on the card and post to social media then that is a different kind of portrait session than one where the portraits are intended first and foremost for the home.
Second, if your plan is to have the portraits done outdoors, you need to take a good look at your home’s interior design. If your home is full of warm browns, walnut, dark granite and other earthy tones, then the warm golds and oranges of October are perfect. However, if you have a home with bright walls and lots of white marble or you live in one of the newer homes that has been built in the last few years with lots of black and white trim, then those warm October tones might not work for your home.
If your home has a more light and airy feel then a spring color palette might make more sense when you’re investing in fine art portraiture. Everything there is to love about October is also true of months like April, May, and June. Perhaps it would make more sense to schedule when the cherry blossom trees are at their most beautiful or when the tulips are all in bloom.
You can never go wrong with classic black and white portraits. I was recently at my mom’s house, and she still has black and white portraits of my brothers and I from the 90s in her walls. These portraits are nearly 30 years old and have hung on the walls in three different houses. And because they’re classic black and white and framed with archival white mats and simple black gallery frames, they have stood the test of time and have never looked dated.
Black and white portrait sessions — whether outdoors or in studio — can be scheduled year-round because we’re not as tied to what’s going on with nature as we are with a color environmental portrait. These happen on your schedule not when the leaves change or the cherry blossoms bloom. Classic black and white is also a perfect choice to fit the decor in many of the newest homes we’ve seen go up in recent years with their sleek lines and black and white trim.
And you can always have a portrait from earlier in the year for your cards. There’s no rule that says it has to be from a fall session.
I love October portrait sessions, but I also want to make sure you’re choosing October for right reasons and not reaching out for a session just because you feel like it’s what you’re supposed to do.
Let’s work together to plan a session that will create the perfect fine art portraiture of your family that fits perfectly in your home — whatever month of the year that might be.