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The 5 Secrets for a Great Winter Photoshoot

The 5 Secrets for a Great Winter Photoshoot

Dubuque Senior Portraits in Dubuque Iowa

Let's face it... winter is kinda terrible. The air is cold, snow is both cold and wet, it gets dark by 5:00, trying to do anything with mittens on is impossible, hat hair is a thing, there's ice everywhere... did we mention it's cold? So why would anybody in their right mind want to do a photoshoot outside in winter?!

Because it's downright MAGICAL!!

The quiet, soft atmosphere created by fluffy snow blanketing everything with the deep colors of evergreen trees peeking through is just plain gorgeous! There's a reason "winter wonderland" is a thing. And with all of the holidays this time of year, you can't help but have some kind of happy, nostalgic spark of warmth and joy.

So... how do Dubuque photographers make winter photoshoots work? And what can you do to have a magical experience and not spend the entire photoshoot regretting leaving your house?

Here's our 5 secrets for a great winter photoshoot:

1. Be Flexible

This is one of the most important keys to successfully photographing in winter! If you live in the midwest, you probably know that snow gets really gross... really quickly. The longer snow sits around the more it gets stepped on, turns grey and dingey, starts to melt... and nobody wants pictures of patchy, muddy, sloppy snow! No! You want fresh, fluffy, oh-my-goodness-I-can't-believe-how-blindinly-white-it-is snow!

To get that kind of "oh WOW" snow, you need to have your photoshoot on the same day or the day immediately after a new snowfall. Plus, the sooner you photograph after a snowfall, the more snow there will still be on the trees since the wind can blow it off of tree branches within a day or two. But how to you schedule that? You can't! Sorry, but Mother Nature doesn't care about your schedules... she does what she wants whenever she feels like it.

That means you and your professional dubuque photographer need to be flexible and jump on the opportunity when it happens. That means if it's a Tuesday afternoon, it just snowed, and your photographer happens to have an opening... take the chance while you got it!

Winter Senior Photoshoot

2. Have a Plan

Ok ok... yes, we just told you how important it is to be flexible and work around whenever it snows... but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a plan!

In fact, having a game plan all prepped will make it easier and faster to take advantage of a snowy day when it does happen.

Have as much as you can already figured out such as: photoshoot location, where you're meeting the photographer, what you're wearing, etc.

Knowing all of this ahead of time takes the panic and the rush out of working through the details on the day of.

Senior Portraits in the snow

3. Start Early

As we mentioned at the top of this article, it gets dark pretty early in winter. And, unfortunately, once the sun starts going down, it goes down pretty darn fast. You've probably heard that the best lighting for outdoor photography is just a few hours before sunset. While that may be true in some cases, we actually suggest getting started sooner than that.

First of all, during this time of year in this area, the sun just doesn't get as high as it does in the warmer months. The sun is already coming in at an angle, so it's never all that harsh, even earlier in the day.

Plus, as professional photographers, we bring our own lighting equipment on all outdoor photoshoots to get the lighting just right at any time of day.

Besides, there's nothing worse than starting late and running out of daylight halfway through a photoshoot! So we recommend starting in the early afternoon. Problem solved!

Winter Senior Photos

4. Dress in Layers

This may sound like basic Winter Survival 101, but it can be easy to forget! You may feel warm as you're getting dressed and ready for your photoshoot, so you might skip the extra pair of socks... but, after half an hour of standing in the snow, your toes will be making you wish you didn't skip out on the additional layer!

Plus, on the chance that you start feeling too warm during your photography session, you can always unzip your jacket or take off a layer... much easier than trying to warm back up after getting too cold!

Here's our recommended clothing checklist: a long sleeve shirt, a sweater that matches your coat, your winter coat (obviously), leggings or long underwear, jeans that comfortably fit over said leggings, one pair of long socks and one pair of thick socks. With all that, you should be toasty warm!

Winter Pictures in the Snow

5. Coordinate Accessories

Mittens, scarves, hats... all must haves! The important thing to remember, though, is everything needs to coordinate.

There are two big rules you need to follow: solid colors, and colors that go together.

In other words, avoid patterns so nothing clashes and keep everything in the same color scheme. The easiest way to do this is to keep hats, scarves, and mittens all the same color and make sure that color goes well with it. If you're not sure, choose accessories in neutrals such as grey.


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