Rebecca Clair Photography
 intimate winter lifestyle engagement photos at Burr Oak woods in Blue Springs, MO near Kansas City

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The Intimacy of Sunrise; The Gripka Family’s Sunrise Session at the Lake {Johnson County Family Photographer}

 Candid photo of a family cuddling in a blanket by a lake, Kansas City family photographer, autumn family session at Shawnee Mission Park, Rebecca Clair Photography

It might be the introvert in me, but I have a special fondness for sunrise. Whenever we’re on vacation, I try to set aside at least one morning where I set my alarm a little earlier than normal so I can creep out and appreciate the sunrise over whatever lovely place we’re visiting. And I am beyond excited whenever someone agrees to a sunrise photo session.

Because there is something uniquely intimate about sunrise sessions.

It starts with the early morning drive in the dark, with only a few other headlights piercing the dark streets around you and (if you’re like me) the scent of coffee still lingering in the car. Then there’s that faint whisper of light creeping across the landscape, the silvery blue of the not-yet dawn as the morning dew brushes against your feet. Then, as the bird songs rise around you, the gentle pinks and golds spread across the horizon and a blush of light wraps around your face. And then finally, that burst of golden sunlight crests the horizon and bathes everything in a warm light. There’s a breathtaking beauty in the whole process that invites you to hush your words, close your eyes, breathe deep, and draw close to the ones you love.

Of course, there is still the blare of your alarm breaking your early morning slumber, not to mention the daunting task of getting yourself (and potentially several small children) picture-ready before the sun is even up. But believe me, this magic is worth it (and getting your outfits – and coffee – ready and set out the night before can go a long way in making that morning scramble a little smoother).

So why should you consider scheduling a sunrise photo session?

1) Even the most popular locations are rarely crowded at sunrise, so you can enjoy the quiet intimacy of these moments together.

2) The softness of that dawn light allows you to use some wide open locations without any shade (like beaches and open fields) where the light quickly becomes too harsh later in the day.

3) Sometimes you even catch some fog or mist rising in those early morning hours (especially if you choose a location with water). The golden sun shining through morning mist is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life.

4) Your portrait session starts and finishes early in the day before most people are up, so you have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy. You can even make a full outing out of it and treat yourself to breakfast out afterwards.

5) The light and colors in that sunrise progression, from the cool blues of dawn, to the soft pinks just before sunrise, to the rich golds as the sun crests the horizon, are really unparalleled. And that soft light is far more flattering than the light you’ll find even an hour or two later.

And if you need any more convincing, check out some favorites from the Gripka family’s sweet sunrise session last October. I was so glad they braved the early morning drive, even with two littles, to spend some time cuddling (and dancing!) by the edge of the lake at Shawnee Mission Park.