Work year-round when you book beautiful winter photography sessions! Here are the tips, tricks, and poses you need to make money – and magic. (Featuring HEATHER O’STEEN PHOTOGRAPHY, GARDENHOUSE FILMS, and JUNEBERRY MEDIA)
Winter is a notoriously slow season for hard-working photographers. But what if you could build your profits year-round? We’ll show you how to add winter photography to your repertoire with smart marketing moves, simple shooting tips, and poses that are perfect for cold climates.
#1: How to Book Winter Photography Clients
Winter is known for gloomy skies, frigid temperatures, and short days. It’s also a season of heart-warming holidays and milestone moments. Reinvent yourself every winter with photography offerings that tap into this magical season!
Magical Mini Sessions
Mini sessions are the perfect way to book winter photography clients. It’s too cold for extended outdoor shoots, but anyone can handle the chill for a 10 to 15-minute mini shoot!
Use our Complete Guide to Mini Sessions to help you plan your own fun and profitable winter minis.
Focus On: Holidays & Happy Days
Emphasize the uniqueness of the “most wonderful time of the year” with themed photography sessions. Think of holidays and happy moments – like new babies, engagements, and big family gatherings. We love these ideas for a special series of shoots:
- Home for the Holidays (for families)
- Winter Wonderland (for outdoor portraits)
- Silent Night Sessions (for newborns and babies)
- Fireside Photo Sessions (for sundown shoots)
- Magical Mornings (for sunrise shoots)
#2: Photographing Snow (& Other Winter Tips)
Winter photography does come with a few challenges, but it’s nothing you can’t overcome with a bit of preparation.
Your lens and/or camera mirror will fog up when you first transition from your warm car to the cold outdoors (or vice versa.) Plan to “introduce” your camera to the chill about 10 minutes before you’re due to start shooting.
If your hands get too cold, your shutter-finger will quickly become useless. Wear warm gloves whose fingertips can be flipped back for a fingerless effect. You’ll be able to free your index finger while keeping the rest of your hand nice and toasty.
When you’re shooting in snow, all that sky-facing white is easy to overexpose, which can turn your winter wonderland into a glaring block of brightness. Turn on your camera’s exposure warning feature or enable the histogram view. This will cause any overexposed areas of your images to flash black or red on your LCD. Simply adjust your exposure accordingly so you don’t waste any time on unusable photographs.
The winter sun never fully rises; instead, it sits low in the sky throughout the day. This can work in your favor if you scout your shooting locations for scenes that work with the crisp winter light. In the deepest part of winter, backlit images are possible at any time of day; and open shade can be found more easily since the sun never assumes the top-down position.
#3: Winter Photography Posing & Presentation
Winter photography poses aren’t any different from warm weather poses. The challenge is getting your clients to hold a warm-weather pose when they’re being frostbitten by winter!
Winter Wardrobe Tips
Before any winter photography session, discuss wardrobe with your client. These winter wardrobe pieces can help make your shoot run smoothly and keep your clients smiling.
- Tell your clients to keep their heavy winter coats on-hand. Even if they don’t wear the coats in their photos, they’ll be grateful for them between poses. You can even include their winter-wear in a few casual portraits, like Juneberry Media did in these featured photos:
- Layer, layer, layer! Thermal underwear and wool socks create a comfy base later, and accessories like mittens and scarves add warmth atop cozy sweaters and thick pants or skirts. (Don’t forget cute hats and ear muffs!)
- Discourage black clothing when photographing in the snow – not because it can’t be done, but because you’ll create more challenges for yourself. Ever tried to balance your exposure for both bright-white snow and a matte black turtleneck? Recommend colors instead, like this colorful shawl featured in Gardenhouse Films’ photos:
- Emphasize the magical time of year with fun accessories – and even costumes! We love Heather O’Steen’s Snow Queen series featured in this post.
If you’re photographing two or more people, encourage lots of snuggling! This will look fantastic and help keep your clients warm. If you only have a single subject, keep them warm with lots of movement: walking, swaying, twirling…and laughing! Laughter will warm your clients’ toes and their hearts.
You might also set up a unique chair or small sofa to provide a sitting spot for your clients. No one wants a wet tush from sitting on the cold ground.
No snow? No problem.
Winter doesn’t always equal snow; sometimes it just delivers freezing temperature without the lovely snowfall. Look for other winter-themed elements when snow is out of the question, such as:
- evergreen trees
- white-barked trees
- frozen ponds and rivers (near them, not on them)
- winter-themed props, such as sleds and faux fur throws
- BONUS: edit your images using cooler tones, hinting at a chill in the air!
#4: Winter Photography Prints & Products
Winter hints at thoughtful gifts, personalized presents, and a focus on family. Create a Winter Photography Price Sheet for your slow season, and sell prints and products targeted specifically at these cold-weather clients.
- greeting cards
- framed prints
- coffee mugs and blankets
- photo albums
- fine art and canvas prints
Show your clients some extra love by offering free shipping on all seasonal orders!
Perfect Winter Print Packages
Create a selection of two or three packages meant specifically for gift-giving season. These will add instant value to your price sheet by inspiring your clients with fun gift ideas. Name your packages after their purpose like Michael Maurer does, and you’ll prompt even more sales!
Are you ready for winter?
Tell us about your winter photography plans in the comments below!