Making the Most of Winter

Almost 3 feet of snow are on the ground. Do you have the winter blues? The days are cold and short- neither of which seem to be good for absolutely anything, let alone photography.

Well, actually, not so much. Winter can be a great time to be a photographer, if you know how to work with what you have. 

One obvious advantage to winter photography is your own house is its own little snowglobe and outside is nothing but a winter wonderland. If you can put up with the cold for a few moments, some magical pictures can be taken; check out below.

A November snow coincided with a family shoot in Perry County, making for the ultimate snowglobe picture.

Maybe snow isn't your thing and you have no interest in taking pictures in it or having your picture taken in it.

A not so obvious advantage of winter is the low sun angle. We all know about golden hour, the first or last hour (or more) of the day when everything glows warm and gold. This light is great for portraits as it will make your skin look soft and the picture will generally be warm in nature. Winter days, however, almost always offer golden light throughout the whole day.

Compare a hot day in July where the sun is directly above - your face is always in a shadow and the light is far from flattering - with a winter day from December through late February. In the latter case, the sun is noticeably lower in the sky, making shadows long and light warm and gold.

The noontime sun of June and July creates terrible shadows and doesn't make the image appealing, not to mention the amount of squinting under those glasses.

Soft winter light doesn't wait for golden hour- it's there almost all day.

Shooting directly into the sun will cause major flaring and super saturated golds. It might be what you are looking for, just don't overuse it.

Having the sun to the back of the photographer is more traditional. A soft gold light falls on the model's face and hair, creating a very appealing photograph.

Finally, put the subject directly between the sun and the camera to create a halo effect. Notice all the detail on the top of the horse, the model's hair, and in the condensation from the horse breathing.


The low sun of winter makes a near day long opportunity for great portraits. Grab your cell phone and a model and give it a try! I think you'll be impressed with your results if you figure out how to properly light the model.

So maybe winter isn't so bad after all. If there's no snow for snowglobe-esque pictures, try taking advantage of the perfect light! Don't forget spring will be here before we know it.