If you’re thinking about having family portraits done in winter and you’re not sure if you should wait until spring, I say go ahead and do it now! Every season delivers a beautiful scenic backdrop unique to the time of year but there is something very special about winter. I always try and think about why I love winter portraits so much and I think part of the answer is the light. Although the days are so much shorter, the light, even in the middle of the day, is much paler and softer. If we’re lucky enough to have new snow everything looks clean and white with beautiful deflected light. I often tell my clients to wear wool coats, colorful sweaters or bright scarves and hats. Regardless of the season, I always recommend layers to add depth and character to the portrait. When shooting a big family portrait I suggest an overlapping theme, such as everyone wearing jeans or neutral toned sweaters, in order to tie everybody together. Props, such as sleds or old skis, can also add some personality to the image. Also, including a prop often makes everyone feel more comfortable as it gives more of a focus to the scene. Knowing what to do with one’s hands is often a dilemma and having a prop to hold on to can help solve the problem! Although the light of a cold winter morning is often stunningly beautiful, I prefer to schedule my winter portraits in the late afternoon as the temperature is much warmer and everybody is happier and more comfortable. It is usually the 10 minutes after the sun sets behind the ridge when the light is colder in tone but even and less contrasty and, especially in the snow, softly glowing. My favorite backdrop is an old wooden barn as it provides some depth and richness against the white environment. So, don’t hold back from scheduling a family portrait in winter as it is one of my favorite times of the year to take portraits!