Kids at a family session in autumn
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Colorado Photo Planning Guide for September

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Autumn officially begins on Thursday, September 22, 2022. Are you ready to start planning for beautiful fall photos?

Did you know that September (from Latin septem, “seven”) or mensis September was originally the seventh of ten months on the ancient Roman calendar that began with March (mensis Martius, “Mars’ month”). It had 29 days. After the reforms that resulted in a 12-month year, September became the ninth month, but retained its name. (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are a few things to keep in mind for planning the best weddings, events, and photo sessions in September.

College Football Season Begins

Go Buffs and Rams! Our local teams start their seasonal competition in September.

Most Colorado home games take place on Saturday afternoons, but there are outliers.

Why keep tabs on the schedule? If you have a wedding, portrait session, or other photo session scheduled, there will be traffic. Nearby locations will be hard to access in a timely manner. There may even be more people in a nearby park or other scenic areas before or after the game.

Also, if you’re planning a family portrait session and your brother’s team has a game day, he may be less enthusiastic about participating or even refuse to come!

Check out the schedules and make sure you’re not competing with the action!

Additional Sports Activities

Speaking of football, the Broncos regular season starts in September. Baseball continues with games throughout September.

Downtown traffic always increases before and after games. In addition, some popular venues in the area will also get busier. Be sure to check these schedules for weeknight and weekend games.

When planning photos for September, be sure to bring layers of clothing.

Average Weather Conditions

Cool, crisp autumn air is headed our way. This will be a relief after the hot temperatures of August. Colorado temperatures typically range from 55F to 77F.

With the weather getting cooler and changing at various times of the day, bring layers for any events or photo sessions. Helpful items include scarves, light coats, sweaters, and hats. These also serve a great purpose in giving you multiple looks at your family photo session.

An engaged couple on a bridge with fall colors in the background.

Fall Color

Everyone eagerly anticipates fall color change in the fall. The beautiful transformation creates a great backdrop for weddings, portrait sessions, and headshot sessions.

Leaf change happens in the fall with the hillsides turning shades of gold, orange, and red. The change happens when leaves stop the photosynthesis process so they can rest for the sunlight-deprived days of winter. Green chlorophyll fades and leaves behind the other colors in the leaves that were hidden the rest of the year.

When can we expect color? Peak color typically happens in Colorado’s northern mountains throughout September. Central mountains the last week of the month. For the southern mountains, it’s often the first week of October. On the front range, peak color times range from early to mid-October.

Drought and weather also impact the leaf season. Last year the leaves were gorgeous. The year prior we had some color and then a snowfall which pretty much wiped out the leaves.

If you’re looking to have fall color in your family sessions, you will want to book as soon as possible. Your photographer may even be booked or have a waitlist. Add a note to your Google calendar for early summer next year as a reminder to get a jump on the fall season.

A mother holds her daughter closely at a family portrait session.

No Colorful Trees, No Problem

If the trees don’t deliver, take advantage of Colorado’s beautifully yellowed and sun-kissed ombre-colored grasses in the area. Backgrounds don’t need to be complex for your portrait sessions. In fact, the simpler the better.

Another solution when deciduous trees don’t change color or when pine trees prevail in your favorite location is for you and your family to wear fall colors. This will give a warm, fall vibe to your scene. You will still have the benefit of fall color, but not be stressed about nature not doing her thing.

Color Inspiration

  • Brown and Maroon
  • Denim, Yellow, Crimson
  • Navy, Tan, Cream
  • Denim and Tan
  • Aubergine (eggplant/purple), navy, gray

Portrait Session Locations

There are many great locations in the Denver area with deciduous trees that will change color.

If you have a favorite park near your home, check to see how many coniferous trees are there. Pine trees give a darker background and won’t change color and will be green.

Golden Hour Times

As we draw closer to autumn, we start losing more and more of our evening light.

When taking advantage of the warm golden light before sunset, there’s about an hour’s difference from the beginning of the month until later in the month.

Your photographer will keep that in mind, but just be aware when planning dinner, you may find it harder to juggle the schedule later in September than earlier.

Wedding couples will want to note the golden hour during their reception and try to sneak out for photos. This should time really well earlier in the month if your dinner hour is at 6 PM.

DateGolden Hour DenverSunset Denver
September 16:55 PM7:30 PM* (more like 7:15 PM)
September 306:08 PM6:43 PM* (more like 6:28 PM)
*Deduct ~15 minutes to account for the mountains
Think of using your own backyard as part of your photo planning like this own with beautiful fall colors.

In Closing

September offers a lot of advantages when it comes to weather, color, daylight hours, warm lighting, and backgrounds for your photos. It’s also a busy month with back-to-school activities and lots of birthdays. Just count back 9 months and you’ll see why!

Be sure to take note of the checklist below to help with events you may be attending or planning during September.

September Photo Planning Checklist

  • Check local college and university performance and sports schedules for big events that time with your event or photo session.
  • Also, check the Broncos and Rockies schedules for increased traffic and activity in the downtown area when timing sessions.
  • Bring multiple layers such as scarves, light coats, sweaters, and hats to photo sessions.
  • Schedule your family session in September to take advantage of fall colors.
  • Add a tickler to your calendar for 2023 in early summer to schedule your family session.
  • Take advantage of golden hour! Note the earlier time of the setting sun for portraits and consider your family routine when booking a session.
  • Take inspiration from the season and if there are no colorful leaves at your family session, wear colors you associate with fall like pumpkin, marigold, brown, khaki, and burgundy.

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