There's a lot to keep in mind when you're scheduling your engagement photos, from what you should (and shouldn't!) wear to how to make your pictures feel more natural and authentic. But if you're heading out for an engagement session with your photographer during the winter, there are a few more things to think about. We checked in with four professional photographers who really know the cold and snow to find out what they tell their clients before they schedule their winter engagement photos. Here are six easy tips for staying warm and making the most of your winter session.
1. Think about how you feel when you're out in the cold.
Says Christina Bernales, a wedding photographer based in Brattleboro, Vermont, "If you get grouchy when you're uncomfortably cold, your discomfort will show in the photographs." But if you don't mind (or even love) the cold? "Wait until there's a considerable amount of snow on the ground, and be sure to schedule a few back-up dates in case of a blizzard or sudden melt."
2. Don't be afraid to bundle up.
Living in Maine, photographer Emily Delamater knows this firsthand. "My favorite tip is to wear fleece-lined tights under my jeans or pants!" she says. She suggests her clients layer cozy knits, like a sweater or a cowl scarf, grab a bright winter coat, and put on a pair of fingerless gloves. "Winter accessories can be really cute," Delamater points out. "Plus, it makes more sense visually to be dressed for winter if you're being photographed in the snow!"
3. Time it right.
Rachel Nielsen, a Utah-based wedding photographer, likes to schedule her shoots for the last hour before sunset, no matter the season. "In winter, this means we typically start around 4 p.m. to take advantage of the snow and capture its sparkle," she says. You'll have to plan around your work schedule, but the shimmering snow will be worth it! "Avoid scheduling a session in the middle of the day," Nielsen advises. "The midday light is extremely bright, which reflects too much off the snow and will make you squint."
4. Pick an extra-wintery location.
If you live somewhere wooded, you're in luck! "Pine trees really add to an image because they contrast so much with the white snow," says Nielsen. "Pine needles and bark have great texture, which pull the viewer into the image." Nielsen loves working in the nearby mountains, where the slightly cooler temperatures mean that the snow's more fresh and fluffy. Not in the Rockies or Adirondacks? Winter sessions downtown can be just as stunning. "City and holiday lights will add some beautiful bokeh [out-of-focus, blurry light spots] in the background. Paired with a chic winter outfit, an urban setting can really highlight the season," Nielsen adds.
5. Take breaks.
Even if you've layered up with sweaters and scarves, you might want a few minutes to pop inside to warm up. Says New Hampshire photographer Kate Preftakes, "Having a little hot cocoa is a great way to reenergize." It can make for great photos too! Head to the cutest coffee shop in town and grab a seat by the window.
6. Hope for snow!
Falling snow creates a lovely, romantic feel, as well as really beautiful light. Says Delamater, "Since you can't necessarily time your engagement session with a snowstorm, create the same effect by having someone throw fresh snow up in the air over you." She also tries to shoot as soon after a storm as possible. "That way, the snow will be at its prettiest, before it's been plowed or walked on too much."