People shy away from taking photographs outside in the winter for fairly obvious reasons. When we look outside, Winter is visually much less exciting than basically ALL of the other seasons. The hours right after a snowfall are the sole exception, but it's hard to plan a photography session around such a specific weather event. The thing is, with portraiture, a dull backdrop can be a huge asset. In every photograph there is a subject, and what separates a great photograph from a less compelling one is how the other elements in the frame draw your eye to the subject. Composition is this process of lining up the infinite number of tiny decisions we must make before pressing the shutter and freezing forever the intentional, organized combination of 3-D reality into a 2-D feast for the eyes of the viewer. The goal is to draw their eye to a specific place, ideally the most emotionally compelling part of the image, AKA the subject. When you have lots of other elements in the frame that are all competing for attention, the overall composition suffers. The seasonal beauty we so look forward to can certainly work as a backdrop for portraiture, but a good photographer will work to minimize the distracting elements in any portrait in favor of a compelling composition that draws your eyes to the subject, which in portraiture is the face and eyes. A less skilled or discriminating photographer will be much more tempted to let distractions like beautiful summer flowers or sunsets, or fall leaves actually take away from the quality of a portrait.
Winter, by being less beautiful on its own, makes people look more beautiful. Grey skies draw your eye to any color in the scene, making it "pop." And don't even get me started on how an overcast sky is like the world's largest softbox, making everyone's skin look great.
Emily and Brandon (and my amazing assistant/sister Hanna) went out shooting early on a Saturday Morning in mid March in Downtown Denver. Check out all these great photos w captured! Were we cold? Yes. Would I trade the photographs I made on a cold, dull day in March for ones I could have made among blooming flowers or Autumn leaves in another season? Absolutely not.
Check out this fun shot of me in my element. Notice how there are no dumpsters, pigeons, joggers, or random cars in the background of any of the other shots, even though all those things are ubiquitous in Downtown Denver. Composition is the essence of good photographs. Photographers must choose what's allowed in the frame and what's not, whether those things are considered beautiful or ugly, other elements in the photograph need to be carefully selected to make the subject shine.
PS. Thanks Emily and Brandon, you were amazing! I can't wait to shoot your wedding this August.