A photo session in winter presents unique challenges, obviously. It is a bit more difficult than doing pictures in the spring or summer when the weather is more accommodating. However, to me, this is an opportunity. I always tell my clients, anything out of the ordinary like adverse weather is an opportunity to get unique pictures. But preparing for the challenging weather conditions, particularly cold winter weather photos, takes some planning.
First, and most obvious, dress accordingly. Your pictures will show that it’s winter. Coats and proper footwear are essential. When photographing a couple, we want their apparel to match. In general, there are rules for dressing for a photo session. The challenge is following these rules while staying warm and dry. Also, bring an extra coat or blanket to stay warm while I am scouting the location and/or setting up the shot (lighting in particular). I’ve actually used the blankets clients brought with them to sessions to stay warm in some photos that I’ve taken. This images always turn out great.
Next, as I mentioned, proper footwear. As I’ve stated in past blog posts, if you are going to have a photo session with me, you are going to be walking. So you need to take that into account when selecting what to put on your feet. But you want whatever you choose to coordinate with what your wearing. Again, it will be obvious that it’s cold and, if possible, snowy. So, it will make sense in your pictures if you are wearing a coat, or if you’re wrapped in a blanket and if you’re wearing boots and such. Just make sure those things are visually appealing.
Location is another obvious consideration. Where you are having your pictures done is always the most important consideration when planning your photo session. As I’ve mentioned, the location reflects what you are trying to accomplish, aesthetically. However, for a photo session in winter, you want that location to show the environmental conditions. That’s the point of pictures in winter. Parks and more rural locations are probably ideal.However, there is something about winter in Cleveland or other larger cities. You don’t even necessarily have to see snow to know that it’s cold out. It all goes back to what you are trying to accomplish. Locations that allow you quick and easy access to your vehicle is also a thought. I did an engagement session recently and it was 19 degrees out! Needless to say, we got very cold, very quick. So, we just jumped in our cars, warmed up and continued on. This was awesome because I can guarantee you that every other portrait and wedding photographer in Cleveland were safely ensconced in their warm abodes, and with good reason.
Like I stated at the beginning of this post, adverse weather conditions are an opportunity for great pictures. Who would think to have their pictures taken in sub-freezing temperatures? Not too many people. But that is when you will end up with truly unique pictures. Taking advantage of weather conditions that are otherwise considered undesirable. And winter only enhances this in that snow covered trees and landscapes make for a pretty nice canvas in which to build your engagement pictures, senior pictures or even family pictures. Just make sure to be prepared, follow some simple guidelines that I’ve laid out and then be awesome!