How to Match Family Portraits to the Seasons

Taking family portraits not only involves drawing an emotional connection from the family members, but also portraying and capturing them in the moment. Clients may request portraits that reflect season or the next holiday that is being celebrated. Here is a simple guide on how to match family portraits to the seasons.

The Backdrop

The first thing you will need to do is design your backdrop for the season or holiday you wish to capture. Below you will find a quick list of the seasons and ideas on how to design your backdrop:

  • Fall: Design a backdrop that shows leaves in vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. You can also create a harvest scene with props like hay, a pitchfork, fruits and vegetables reminiscent of the time.
  • Winter: Design a backdrop filled with snow, sleds and a snowman. You can create a Christmas, Hanukkah or other holiday theme using holly, wreaths, arrangements of dried plants and candles. You can create a vacation location such as a ski lodge to depict the wintery and blowing weather.
  • Spring: Spring means new life and includes holidays like Mother's and Father's Day and Easter. If possible, take clients outdoors to gardens or fields with fresh blossoms and wildlife. If you have your own studio space, look into renting animals like ducklings and bunnies for shoots with children.
  • Summer: Summer shoots should include sunshine. Take clients to the beach or the park and let them play with summer toys, like shovels, pails and kites.

Whatever the season, make sure your backdrop reflects it well. Make sure that you spend your time putting together a meaningful backdrop that will be remembered.

Dress Code

Work with your family to develop a uniform dress code. For example, a beach theme may inspire you to have everyone dress in white flowy clothing and a winter theme may necessitate dark turtlenecks. Always pick one or two colors for your family portrait to portray great uniformity.


Now you need to make sure your subjects are made up to look the part. You may want to show rosey cheeks for an outdoor winter scene or you may want everyone to look natural if you are portraying them at the beach.


Make sure your studio is setup with the right amount of lighting for the shoot. Make sure you have a combination of sharp and soft lighting so that you can take many different photos for your family portrait.

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