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I'm Olivia B.

The Best Time to Book: Fall Grad Sessions

Tips from Olivia B.

August 12, 2021

Alabama Graduation Portrait Photographer, Olivia B. Photography

Happy almost-Friday, friends! As classes are beginning soon and recruitment week is wrapping up, I have received more and more inquiries for fall graduation portrait sessions– and many of these inquiries have the same question:

When is the best time to book my portrait session?

The great thing about a fall portrait session in Alabama is that you can almost shoot all the way up to your December graduation date and expect mild temperatures and for campuses to still look lively thanks to our lovely temperate climate. And after living through this past month of constant rain and feels-like temperatures above 100ΒΊF… I think we are all ready for those ‘temperate temperatures’ to return. πŸ˜‰

When choosing your graduation portrait session date, there are just a few factors to consider:

  • Temperature (this will affect your outfit choices!)
  • Desired fall foliage (or lack thereof!)
  • And lastly, your class schedule

First of all, let’s talk about outfits and temperature changes.

While we do live in a mild climate for most of the year, Alabama is known for some crisp fall evenings and almost always an eventual ‘cold snap’ in the weather. You may have the perfect graduation portrait session outfit planned, but Mother Nature may have you wanting to bring a blanket to wrap around you between locations!

And sure, you definitely can plan to pack some hand and foot warmers along with the props I’ll encourage you to bring along to your session, but I would encourage you to consider the forecast when making an outfit choice. If you have been dreaming of your graduation portrait in your little red dress standing on the Walk of Champs, I would encourage a session booked earlier in the fall– maybe between mid-September to early-October– to be sure we don’t capture any teeth chattering on camera. πŸ˜‰

If a session later in the semester would be easier to plan, definitely explore your graduation outfit options to beat the cooler temps! I love it when I have grads who think outside of the box for their portrait sessions, and choose midi-length dresses, matching workwear sets, and jumpsuits. They are so fun and can create unique posing opportunities we may not be able to try in a shorter dress/outfit choice.

The next factor to consider is your desired level of fall foliage!

Alabama’s college campuses have absolutely beautiful grounds– and many look their best as leaves begin to change and transform into the most beautiful shades of orange and red. You can expect the leaves to be at their peak in Alabama around mid-November and last throughout the beginning of December.

Check out these portraits, and notice the difference in backgrounds from shots taken just 20 days apart in the fall:

Alabama Graduation Photographer
Portrait Session Date: November 20th, 2020; Notice the leaves just beginning to change at both BDS and around Denny Chimes.
Alabama Graduation Portrait Photographer
Portrait Session Date: December 10th, 2020; By this point, the leaves have hit their color peak and are beginning to fall. Another thing to notice– the Christmas wreaths out at The President’s Mansion!

Finally, you should definitely take into consideration your class schedule.

This one is simple: if you have a class that doesn’t get out until 4:30p, you should plan to book your portrait session in September. The sun will begin to setearlier and earlier, and to get that beautiful lighting you see in an Olivia B. graduation portrait, we will need to plan to finish shooting no later than 30-minutes before sunset. This means we will start your session around 5:30p. Once Daylight Savings happens and our clocks ‘fall back’ an hour, that will push us to start shooting earlier to beat the sunset!

Additionally, if you know you have classes every weekday that would conflict with a session time close to sunset, you’ll want to reach out as early as possible to snag a coveted weekend portrait session. I usually have weekends booked full with weddings, but there are always a few open for those grads who can’t find a weekday that can work for them!

A bonus tip to consider when booking your graduation session is when photographers book up! I normally have a full calendar by the second week of September, so it’s wise to reach out sooner rather than later to have more date options for your session. Once you have taken all of these things into consideration and are ready to book your graduation portrait session, I would love to hear from you! Reach out to me here, and I will be in touch ASAP πŸ₯³

Tags: Alabama Graduation Portraits, Alabama Photographer, Alabama Graduation Photographer, Auburn Graduation Portraits, Auburn Graduation Photographer, Birmingham Photographer, Olivia B. Photography

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