I love famiy sunset sessions here in Santa Barbara. The golden hour (the hour before sunset) is just stunning on the central coast, and I just love the magic that is created. The drawback to a sunset session, especially during summer, is that these sessions usually don’t start until later in the evening… much later. This means a change in schedule, and for many littles, that could be a setup for meltdown city.

Here are a few ways to help keep your kids happy during these later family sessions. 

1. Adjust Naptime

One of the first things I suggest when discussing how to prepare for later sessions is to adjust nap times. Backing up naptime or even adding a nap can help make sure your child is rested during their session.  

2. Food & Water

We all know hanger is real, so let’s plan ahead. With later sessions, make sure everyone, especially your kids, has an early dinner. If dinner isn’t a possibility, bring filling, stain-free snacks with you. This could be granola or dried fruit.  Also, everyone gets their own water bottle. Kids and adults need to be hydrated, especially with these warmer temps. Plan ahead with water and snacks for the whole family.

3. Lower Expectations

While sunset is one of the most magical times of day, it’s also the time of day when you’re littles are most likely to be spent from the day. Rather than hold them to the same standards as you usually would, lower your expectations. It’s ok if they need an extra moment to compose themselves. Rather than react in frustration, lead with grace and a hug. It could help defuse a situation and makes for a beautiful picture. 

4. Trust the Process

I know it’s hard, but trust me when I say I’ve got this. Please trust me with direction and discipline (if needed). I promise I will ask for help if I need it, but I promise I’ve got this. I want this session to be as magical as it possibly can be. For that to happen, the parents must be present and ready to participate. Again, I promise I will ask for help if I need it, but trust me and trust the process.

Sunset sessions can be tricky, but they don’t have to be. Prep the family beforehand and release the expectations you have for a perfect session. No session is perfect, and that’s ok because the magic is created in the messy. I’m getting ready to release my fall calendar, will your family be on it? Click the button below if you’re ready to claim your spot!