father walking up a sand dune with his young son on his shoulders

Why You Should Have Your Family Photos Done in Winter

Winter Family Photos

Choosing when to have your family photos done is no easy task. There are many things to consider when scheduling your session and the time of year is a big part of your decision. Winter family photos are often overlooked.

There are pros and cons to every season and in this four part bog series, I will address some of them for each one. This post is all about winter and why you may want to schedule your family photos during this time.

Beautiful view and green hills

Winter is relative here on the Central Coast of California, but we do get a different view during the somewhat colder months. Most of the year, the hillsides have a rustic, golden tone to them. In winter, however, they transform into a lush, green, beautiful backdrop that takes our breath away every single day as we drive to work or school. There’s nothing quite like the beauty of the Central Coast during the winter months.

Beaches are best in winter

This one is debatable and everyone has their own idea of the perfect day at the beach, but for me, winter is the best time for beach photos. The marine layer usually stays away this time of year and the wind is much less intense most winter days. In fact, the last winter day photo session I had at the beach boasted almost 70 degree temperatures, mild wind and sunny skies with just a hint of clouds to create the perfect sky for pictures.

Crowds are substantially less at the beach during winter too. Of course, the locals know the winter beach secrets, but the out of town guests are usually unaware of the desirable conditions at the beach during the colder months. I LOVE family photo sessions at the beach in winter.

More clothing options

I don’t know about you, but I like to dress in layers for my family pictures. I feel like it give me more options for different looks without having to find someplace to change my clothes or bring extra outfits to change into. Winter offers us one of the very few times we can comfortably dress in layers. This is the perfect season to don that scarf and put on those cute boots that were too hot to wear in September.

Cooler temperatures

Don’t get me wrong, I love our endless summers here. I really do. But winter is the only season where you can almost guarantee there is no chance of it being too hot for your family photos. Temperatures here can run into the triple digits every other season, but winter stays below 80 degrees pretty much no matter what. This is great for little ones who may be more sensitive to the heat or husbands who tend to get a little cranky when the temperatures rise. Anything we can do to keep everyone happy is worth it!

Cloudy skies

This one may seem like a drawback, but it’s actually one of the best ones! Because we have such amazing weather here and it is usually quite warm, we don’t often get cloudy skies. But I’ll let you in on a little secret…photographers LOVE overcast days for photos. It means your family photos will have that dreamy, even light across everyone’s face. There’s no harsh shadows to worry about and no one will be squinting because the sun is too bright.

Partly cloudy days are amazing too! The clouds in the sky will give you a beautiful background in your family pictures and since we normally have nothing but blue skies, this will be especially noticeable to you and your family.

Not the busy season

Let’s face it, life with a family can get busy, to say the least. Winter is the perfect time to take a moment and really slow down to appreciate our family. After all the fall activities and the holiday rush, it’s nice to be able to take your time and really enjoy family photos without the hustle and bustle you had a month ago.

Large family posing for pictures at the Jim Green Trail during winter


There are a few drawbacks to consider when having your family photos done in winter. Since it is a little colder, you may have little ones who are sensitive to the cold or a newborn. This may not be the best time for them to be outside. The days are shorter, so you’ll need to get everyone ready for photos earlier in the day. Rainy days can happen (although rare around here) and if it’s difficult for you to reschedule, you might want to consider another season with almost no chance of rain.

No matter what season you choose to schedule your family photos session in, the important thing is to get them done. Life throws us curve balls all the time and family photos are one of the most important things you can have. Nothing can bring back a memory like a photo can and nothing can freeze time like a camera. Family photos are one of the most worth-while investments I can think of…not just for you, but for future generations who will cherish the memories you make today.

Wondering how to style your family for photos? Here’s our Family Style Guide.

Want to know what to expect during your family photo session? See this post all about what you can expect.

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