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Winter Sessions | Winter Session Preparation

Winter is a little harder for photoshoots but don’t let that discourage you. The winter colors can be bland and all the plants are dead. It’s colder outside and sometimes the wind can be brutal. Your clothing options are harder to figure out as well. That being said there can be something so magical about shooting in the winter. You can go bolder with your colors, there is nobody out at the locations and snow sessions are absolutely magical.

Couple Adventure Winter Session in Charlotte, NC

In this Blog I want to cover all things Winter Session related with you. I will go over all the frequently asked questions that I get every year and cover some tips to help you when it comes to planning your session. It won’t matter if you are planning for your whole family or just you and your boo!

In honor of the single most asked question I hear “What should I wear?”, I am getting ready to pack your ears and brain with all the info you could possibly need when considering how to pick your outfits for your summer photo session.

Let’s start with choosing a color scheme. When I think of winter, bold earth tone colors come to mind. Something that will pop in the scenery. That is not to say you cannot wear neutral colors if you choose to do so instead. This is all about your personal preference really but I just love the way a bright red cardigan and jeans look with the browns, grey and blacks of the scenery. Or the way a bright yellow shirt looks paired with some khaki pants set against a mountain topped with snow. Ooh I get so excited thinking about all the possibilities.

Adventure Maternity Winter Session at Bald Knob, Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, VA

If bold earth tones are just not your jam then maybe try some neutral colors, you can never go wrong with them.Whatever color you end up choosing you will now have to coordinate everyone else’s outfits around. You want the colors to all coordinate but not to the point where they are matchy-matchy. Unless you are doing a mommy and me session which then it is perfectly okay and absolutely adorable, might I add.

The important thing to remember is, if one outfit has a print (such as plaid, polka dots, stripes, floral, etc.) then the rest of the outfits should be solids that match the colors within that pattern. This helps to not draw the eyes in too many different directions at once, instead letting them ease over all the details in the photo. If you are with a family group, red should typically be avoided. Red is the heaviest color on the spectrum meaning your eyes will be drawn to wherever that color is and you might miss all the other beautiful details of the photo. However, If you are doing portraits by yourself then it is okay to wear red, because you want to be the center of attention.

I usually tell people to avoid white but this is the one season where it works great. White is an absorbent color that will pick up all the other colors around it. There just aren’t a lot of colors to absorb in the winter season and it can actually add a little pop and contrast.

Family Winter Session at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, VA

When considering the type of outfit to wear just really depends on the tone you are looking to convey. For instance, if you want your photos to look whimsical and romantic I suggest wearing a long, flowing dress that can blow freely in the wind. You could pair it with a cute cardigan to keep the winter chill off. If you want a more casual vibe I would wear a pair of jeans, cute shirt and some sneakers. Another option for winter sessions is full out winter gear with coats, gloves and cute hats. This will keep you warm and look cute in the season. If you opt for a dress or something less warm bring a coat and we will put it back on every few minutes just to warm up.

A lot of my outdoors sessions involve a bit of walking and since the New River Valley is in the mountains there are a lot of hills. If you plan on wearing high heels to the session I would suggest bringing a pair of flats to wear in between destinations so that you are comfortable and don't roll a ankle. Let’s face it ladies walking in the grass with high heels is hard enough without adding the hills in too.

Let us talk hair for a minute ladies, because I know how long it takes to fix your hair perfectly the way you have it. The tedious hours brushing it out, drying it, and then straightening or curling it on top of all that. Unfortunately we live in a windy city where the wind could care less about our hair, Am I right? If you need to bring a brush, comb, mirror, hair spray I totally understand. I will do a hair/clothes check before every shot and let you know if we need to adjust to help with this at much as possible. Also the movement that hair blowing in the wind adds to photos can add so much emotion. I say just go with it and let the magic happen.

Newborn Lifestyle Winter Session in Christiansburg, VA

When it comes to children I find it best with the smaller ones to get them dressed upon arrival of the session. We all know how easy it is to find the messiest thing in your car and smear it all over themselves while you are driving and can't reach them. It generally helps to have them fed and have taken a nap prior to the session. I know my children are so much better at sitting still when they are fed and well rested. Bringing their favorite toy, blanket or pacifier may help to calm them as well. Just bring anything that can help to comfort them if they get overwhelmed.

Some photographers bring a lot of props and things but I feel it just takes away from the family. Besides we live in the most beautiful state in the country. I mean come on and take a look around at this beautiful Blacksburg scenery. I do sometimes like simple props such as some sparklers at dusk when the sun starts really setting at the end of your session I find can add an extra something special to a session. Some other options for simple props are; a flowy cardigan, cute hat. For small kids maybe an airplane or a favorite stuffed animal. Just think of what you want your pictures to feel like.

Family Winter Session at Waterside in Portsmouth, VA

If you are wondering about bringing pets, I truly believe they are part of the family and deserve a spot in your mantle photographs as well. Always feel welcome to bring your pets to any and all sessions where they are allowed. And lets face it, this is Blacksburg where your dogs are pretty much allowed anywhere. Added bonus if they have a matching outfit with the family.

Time is probably the easiest to decide simply because of the limited options. For outdoor sessions either the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. This is known as “Golden Hour” and just makes for the dreamiest skin tones and light. For Indoor Locations I have more options just because we can control the light easier. I like to schedule these in the middle of the day.

The date will be more on the availability of your family and my schedule. Keep in mind my weekends fill up faster than the weekdays so those have to be scheduled in advance. Basically though just pick a day that is less hectic for you or check to see what I have available. Keep in mind for snow sessions we will have to play these by ear and it might be short notice to make it happen, since I can’t control the weather.

Heirloom Family Winter Session at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, VA

Locations are usually based on the season. I strongly encourage you to pick a location that is unique to you or that you may have special access to. This will help to ensure that the photos feel special and unique to your family. However, if you cannot think of anywhere I have tons of locations to suggest. I offer personalized location guides for all of my clients. Rest assured we will find one just right for you.

Brr, it can be pretty cold in the winter season. We have been getting a lot of really mild winters with nice warm days these last few years. I love when all the trees are naked and you can see through them to the world usually hidden behind. Sometimes we even get snow that blankets the world in a quiet calm. To contend with the winter weather I suggest layering clothes and bringing a coat. You can wear these in between the actual shots so you don’t freeze on a cold day. Keep an eye on the weather and try to schedule for a day that gets the weather you were hoping for. Note that I shoot year round even in the snow. Sometimes the snow can make a beautiful backdrop for a bright red dress of jacket.

Maternity Winter Session In Downtown Christiansburg, VA

A little bit about my rescheduling and cancellation policy. If the weather doesn’t permit there a couple ways to work around that are scheduling an indoor session such as; lifestyle in your home, walking around a museum, or giving in and playing in the rain puddles. Sometimes that’s just not feasible for the session you had in your mind and I get it, trust me. In the event we have to reschedule due to weather I will always let you know an hour before the session. If you live farther away and need more notice simply let me know. For any reason you need to reschedule on your part I do charge a 25% rescheduling fee just because I am so busy and don’t have a lot of dates to offer to begin with. Any time I hold a date for someone and they cancel last minute I have lost the opportunity to book another session on that date. I hope you can understand.

My job is to help you every step of the way so if you have questions or comments about anything please always feel free to reach out. I want to help make picking your photographer, outfits, location and style easy. All you should have to do is get your family in the car and arrive, let me worry about everything else.


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