Well, a few answers come to mind...
1. Between the cave-dweller and lobster stages
2. Before the bruises start to show
3. After the hangover from the "we made it" party disappears
4. While the kids are still half-asleep and before they start acting half-crazy
5. After the teenagers wake up, just before moonrise
6. Thursday, between 11:15 and 11:47 after the guys get back from tee time and before the hang gliding lessons. Can you come then?
On a relatively serious note, we usually shoot two sittings a day, one morning and one evening. What's the difference? As far as the light goes, we tend to get a little prettier images in the afternoon; the sky is blue (it's an east coast thing) and people squint less because your eyes have been open all (or most of) the day. In the mornings the water has more sparkles, the temp is cooler, and we can do some really sweet silhouettes of smaller groups or individuals. And there are usually less fellow visitors standing behind you in a bright green suit waving at the photographer (patience, patience...).
But the biggest thing for you guys to think about is your family. We don't know them like you do, but as a GENERAL rule, kids from 6 or so down are more, um, on common ground in the mornings. With our little buddies we notice that as the day wears on their paths tend to diverge. So of those seven bundles of energy you started with this morning, 2 missed their naps and are now Pouty Peters, 1 is still sleeping and doesn't want to get up, 1 has red eyes from pool chlorine, and someone forget we were coming and gave the other 3 sugar and they are bug-eyed and bouncy. Good luck! The flip side is most teens believe noon is WAY early on vacation and don't move much till the 3rd dose of caffeine kicks in about the time they normally would be getting in from school.
So exactly HOW early is the morning shoot? We've had people ask us to show up at 11:00, sorry! We can usually go anywhere from 7:00 till 8:30 or so to start the ball rolling. The light is better the earlier you go, but pretty pix of your twins with eyes shut and drool hanging might not work for you.
The evening sessions can vary more. From mid-May through mid-July 6:00 or 6:30 for multi-family groups and as late as 7:00 for single families in some areas. Places like the park where we can work on the dunes are awesome early and late while more populated areas like Duck, Ocean Sands, and Pine Island lose direct light on the beach earlier. Bigger gangs take longer and need to get cracking quicker. Mid-July until the first week of August around 6:00 is good, then mid-August until mid-Sept. we're thinking 5:30 to 6:00.
So ask M.O.M. (the Majority of Mothers) what they think, check with everybody for dates for charter boat trips, surf lessons, tee times, and tea times then tell them to change their plans and do what you were gonna do in the first place. But really, get a few options in mind and give Laura a call and she'll consult "the Book" and we'll see about getting you set up. Between the three of us shooting, if you call a month or so out you can usually get your pick of time & date. If you wait until a bit later it gets a bit tighter, but we'll always do what we can.
PO Box 3278 Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 - 252.480.2395
210 East Gallery Row Nags Head, NC 27959