Updated: Dec 2023

Winter is just around the corner, and I cannot wait for the snow to come to paint the Sierra Nevada Mountains white. What’s not to love about winter?! I mean the snow is falling, the outfits are layering, and the hot cocoa is hot cocoa-ing. As a photographer who loves the outdoors, winter sessions are just so unique. But, what goes into winter engagement session preparation?!

I am very stoked for the winter couples sessions to come!! Winter sessions are a bit different to navigate than other sessions because of the weather. That is why I put together a helpful list of ways for you to prepare for your winter engagement session. 

Grab your warmest jacket. Let’s go touch some snow!

Winter Engagement Session Preparation in Six Simple Steps

ONE | Be Ready for Anything

The first thing you should know about winter engagement sessions is, the weather might screw up your plans. So be prepared because this may mean rescheduling or having to change locations due to them no longer being accessible. For safety reasons, it’s basically a snow day! I recommend partnering with your photographer if you really love your chosen location to see when it’s accessible to shoot your winter engagement session. 

Winter of 2021-22, we only had snowfall between December 12–January 3. That was IT. The snow stuck around for most of January which was great for sessions! Otherwise, we didn’t really have any snow shoots or need to reschedule. BUTTTT winter of 2022-23 we had the BIGGEST SNOW ON RECORD since the early 1900’s. Snow was here in December and didn’t leave until June. All that said, the weather is very unpredictable so just be ready and prepared for anything.

TWO | Be Open to Trying New Things

The snow is the perfect opportunity to be romantic, playful, and adventurous! A lot of my couples haven’t snow-shoed before and this might be something we have to do to get into places. So keep that in mind when prepping for your winter engagement session. 

I love love LOVE getting playful in the snow! This is the time to have fun with your partner by building a snowman, making snow angels, or sledding down a hill. Choose an activity for your session that speaks to both of you. So if you’re open to that….a snowball fight might be in your foreseeable future! 

RELATED: Seasonal Engagement Session in Tahoe/Donner

THREE | Layer Up 

Layers are always a great idea for winter engagement sessions not only for warmth but also to switch up your looks! Sometimes we’re working with super cold temps or it’s really snowy out so those extra layers will come in handy. I promise that we’re also moving around a lot, so you’ll get warmer.

TIP: Don’t wear hats and beanies to your shoot, unless you want to wear them the whole time. We don’t want you two starting off with “hat hair” or having no choice but to only be wearing the beanie because the hat hair is crazy. 

FOUR | Be Travel Prepared

When traveling in and out of the lake, be prepared! Last year a lot of the highways in and out of the area were closed for days! Folks got stuck up there or couldn’t make it in, so just keep that in mind when it comes to booking. 

I highly recommend that you use a car with 4WD when booking a shoot between the end of November to early March. Whether you are renting a car for your winter engagement session or using your own, at least make sure to have chains on you! 

FIVE | Go with the Flow

For winter engagement session preparation, it’s about accepting some unavoidable things to happen and just going with the flow. Here are some of the things to expect:

  1. Your cheeks, ears, and nose are going to be red. Don’t worry, I can tone it down a little in the post, but remember it’s cold and we can’t help that. Between us, I lowkey think it’s CUTE to have rosy cheeks! 
  2. Have Kleenex on standby because eyes tend to water and noses tend to run in the cold.
  3. You’re going to get wet. Whether it’s the bottom of your jeans because you slipped and fell in the snow or all over because you are DOWN to literally roll around in the snow—whatever it is, you’re going to get wet. So bring a change of clothes! I suggest bringing your super cozy sweats for the drive home! You can stop for hot cocoa on the way back for the full winter fantasy. 
  4. Although I do my best to only offer locations I know are accessible year-round, snow may change that and we may need to pivot. I promise it’ll still be beautiful! 

SIX | Have Fun

Winter engagement sessions are some of my favorites. They can be such a frickin blast! Remember to HAVE FUN!! 

We are capturing a special moment in your lives (in the snow). I want my couples to be able to look back at their session photos to not only think “WOW we look great”, but also to remember the fun memories made while capturing them.



December 6, 2022

Winter Engagement Session Preparation: Tips from a Lake Tahoe Photographer