If you have an upcoming session with me in November or December or beyond, …if are considering scheduling a photo session in the winter months, …or if you’ve never considered a session outdoors in the winter months because you don’t think it’s a good option – this post is for you.
Outdoor photo sessions during the winter months can be just as beautiful as the images we create during a session in the spring, summer or fall. Every season has its own special beauty, including winter. The end goal of every session I have with a client is to not only capture you in a beautiful environment, but to capture an image that really evokes the love and beautiful emotion between you and your fiancé, spouse, or family. An image that tells your own story, and the beauty of your story for this time in your life. So whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, we’re going to capture that beautiful relationship and the love between you – the landscape and environment is just going to look a little different from season to season.
The biggest difference is, well, it’s cold in the winter. That can cause some question as to "what to wear" for your session, or prevent some people from booking their own outdoor photo session during this time of year. Or it might cause some to cancel their session, or even never consider it as an option to begin with. My hope is that this blog post well help more of you, with all of this.
Since we live in Wisconsin, it’s cold out for about 6 months of the year. That’s HALF the year! From November to early April we can expect the possibility of snow. If you didn’t get your session scheduled during the “busy” season for outdoor photography – May to October – don’t let that stop you from considering booking one in the colder months. All you have to do is prepare a bit differently.
Below are the same tips I give all my clients who book with me when the possibility for cold weather comes up. If you take these tips to heart, and spend a little time in the days or weeks before your session preparing with these tips in mind, your session will be a wonderful experience with beautiful photos to treasure afterwards.
This time last year, I had an engagement session scheduled with Kim and Noah. It was mid-November, temps in the low/mid 30’s, raining in the morning, but we didn’t cancel the session. We knew the weather wouldn’t be holding any promises for something warmer or sunnier any time soon, so we continued on with our plans. Their wedding was in the upcoming spring, so it was now or never, and they definitely wanted to capture their engagement and have beautiful photos of this time of their life.
The session was beautiful. Kim and Noah did an amazing job preparing for their session and really put some thought into each of the tips I gave them to prepare – and it paid off. They got the most out of their session, and a gallery full of beautiful images to enjoy and share and treasure forever. I’ve included some of their images, and others, to inspire you.
I hope these tips help some of you with making it easier to prepare for your own cold weather session, or to inspire you to consider one in the future if you haven’t before. Enjoy!
TIP 1: Bring a blanket. There are some beautiful poses that I will guide you through that include using a blanket. Not only will it keep you warmer during the beginning of your session, but the blanket helps evoke the emotions that we want to try and capture and portray in your images, as well. Coziness and closeness, and intimacy between you and your fiancé, spouse, or even family.
You can choose a neutral colored blanket to go along with the more neutral tones and colors we get during winter months outside, or you can choose a blanket that brings a pop of color to your images like this classic red and black flannel/checkered blanket that really captures the essence of this time of year, as well.
TIP 2: Wear layers. It's a very simple and common sense tip, but one that can be overlooked. Just like you would prepare for going outside in the colder months for doing anything, like sporting events outside or going for a walk or hike to enjoy nature and the fresh air, or to play with your family, ...you're going to add layers. And preparing for your outdoor photo session is no different.
There are a lot of great options for thermal under layers now that are made of a real thin, slippery material that add a lot of warmth, but do not add a lot of bulk. Or you can just layer with tank tops, t-shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve button up shirts and then put a nice, warm sweater on for your outermost layer.
For ladies, you can still wear a dress for your outdoor session, too, if you want. There are a lot of great options in dresses for colder months that you can choose from. Just look for one that’s made with a thicker, heavier material, and longer, or even a shorter sweater dress. Just add the layers underneath the dress with thermal bottoms, leggings, or heavy tights. And then just pair it with some knee-high or ankle boots.
TIP 3: Wear coats. You might not think about choosing a coat as one of your outfit options for your photo session, but they can look just as great as any clothes you may choose to wear and obviously add an extra layer of warmth, as we move through your session.
It can be a long dress coat, a pea coat, a trench coat, or something more casual like a black bomber coat or a leather coat. Whatever you want it to be. And if you don't have a coat that you really want to be photographed in and use for your images, consider borrowing one. It's a very easy thing to borrow, and not too personal of an item to borrow from someone. Ask a sibling or a family member, a friend, or even a co-worker you're close with.
TIP 4: Bring winter accessories, like winter hats, scarves and gloves. Again, it's a simple tip and common sense but one you might not think of for your photo session. Accessories are great to bring for your photos because they can easily change the look of the image, giving you extra options for your images, and of course add on a layer of warmth.
If you do bring winter hats it's something that we can add on towards the end of your session when you're probably going to feel your coldest, and save for last if you don’t want to worry about it messing with your hair for other pictures once it’s taken off. (Especially us curly-haired girls.)
TIP 5: Embrace the weather and have FUN! Kim and Noah and I had so much fun during their session – even though my fingers were frozen by the end of it. And they truly had a blast - they were laughing, embracing each other, and having a great time. And the images we were able to capture because of how they did embrace the session and weather, were just that much more beautiful.
Keep in mind why you're there… you're there to be with your loved ones, to really enjoy that bit of time together and capture some gorgeous images that really show your relationship and your love for one another. Images to have for the rest of your lives. So show up with a fun attitude and it's going to be a great time! (A shot or two of whiskey for the adults never hurts either!)
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