Is A Winter Engagement Session for You?

Is A Winter Engagement Session for You?

couple walking away down a snow covered road for their engagement photos in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Going into my twelfth season photographing weddings, engagements & seniors I’ve learned a few things along the way (maybe more than a few things). Living in Wisconsin means that we live 6 months out of the year in cold, snowy, blustry, windy, windy conditions.  It throws a major wrench into sessions when it’s below zero for days on end, wind chills in the negatives to top that off and blizzard like conditions.

While Pinterest shows the picturesque version of winter engagement sessions & weddings, it’s really not what it seems.  Hey all of you past winter clients – am I right? It takes a lot to make those photos look effortlessly cozy and warm – because guess what…. It’s not warm.  At all.

I know there are tons of you out there that truly do enjoy winter and all the activities it has to offer – but I’ll be honest.  I would rather be tucked under a blanket near a fire with a book… all.winter.long. Or on an island with my toes in the sand. Which is why I thought as winter wraps up for the year (or so I hope) that it’s time for me to bring up the realities of what a winter session will be like so that you can decide whether it’s for you. 

girl in a red sweater looking behind to her fiance in their winter engagement photos in Chippewa Falls

The Realities of a Winter Session

  • It’s cold & windy – 90% of the time. 
  • Session times are shorter.
  • It’s more difficult to fully relax – a natural reaction to the cold.
  • Hands & feet get cold quickly – and red, too.  Ears & noses also get red quick!
  • Eyes and noses will water & drip which could lead to makeup running.
  • You will need to bundle yourself up more.
  • Locations can be more difficult to access, and you may have to rethink locations due to deep snow or mud.
  • Your session may get canceled once or even twice due to conditions.

couple in black coats tucked under a pine for their winter engagement photos in wisconsin

Tips for Making the Best of Winter Sessions

Maybe your heart is set on a winter session – and I love that, so here are some tips to making it the best ever!  Remember to think cozy thoughts and bundle up.

    • Wear layers – long underwear is a must under jeans.  Thick socks, too!
    • Throw a pair of hand-warmers in your pockets between shots.
    • Hire a professional makeup artist, even potentially for your groom.  Hands, noses & ears will get red quickly and cannot be fixed in Photoshop (just like a sunburn).
    • Make sure to wear shoes that can get wet.  You’ll be walking through deep snow at times, even muddy areas in the spring.
    • Accessorize with cute winter items: hats, mittens & scarves.  Bring a blanket to cozy up in for some shots.
    • It’s a natural reaction to stiffen up in the cold, shiver and to have goosebumps.  Remember to relax and think of the beach 😉 Think about layering again because if you aren’t relaxed it will show in your photos.
    • Bring tissues and extra makeup.  Your nose will run, your eyes will water.  It’s just inevitable, so be prepared.
    • Coats and thick layers will restrict movement in posing and can look lumpy in photos, so be prepared to throw off coats for a few shots, too.
    • Bring a warm drink – maybe even incorporate it into the session.  
    • Discuss locations with me, together we will find a perfect location.  Be prepared to make switches in locations due to deep snow, muddy conditions, ice, etc.
    • Choose & secure an indoor location to add variety to your session.  Not only will this add variety but it will let you warm up.  Maybe a coffee shop, your favorite pub, restaurant or even art gallery.
  • Be prepared for a cancelled session – and we will talk about this when you decide a winter session is right for the two of you.  When it’s windy & below 30 degrees we won’t shoot, because you will be miserable and girl it will show. We’ll pick a warmer day and you’ll be so much more thrilled with the result.  Promise.

The biggest point I hope you get out of this post is that if you hesitated on any of the above points, you should maybe take a step back and re-think is a winter engagement session right for you?  If you prefer warm days, cute clothes you don’t need to layer, and no need for hand-warmers or wet feet it would be wise to either choose a fall, spring or summer session.

Want more tips or to learn more about engagement sessions that feel they reflect you as a couple?  Email me at christy@christyjphotography.com

couple smiling at their puppy in their winter engagement photos in Chippewa Falls

Couple smiling at each other for their winter engagement photos.
photo of eau claire wedding photographers christy janeczko smiling at camera

Hi, I’m Christy

I am honored time and again that I am able to let couples tell their own story as it unfolds. I try to document each moment in a joyful, genuine and romantic way.  Have a look around and when you're ready to talk about capturing your day, send me a note.

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