Does Your Photography Tend to Change With the Seasons?

Does Your Photography Tend to Change With the Seasons?

A simple question for you: do you find that from January to December, over the course of a given year, your photography changes along with the seasons and the environment? Kind of a loaded question though, right? The answer probably depends quite a bit on what exactly your brand of photography is. Of course, other factors play a major role like your location and whether your work is outdoors or in the studio too. When is the last time that you sat down and looked at your body of work? Aside from technical improvements, do you notice any trends that may coincide with various times of the year?

For me the answer is obvious: of course it does. It has to as neither weather nor seasonal change is under my control (if it was, I would make the fall season last forever). As a location portrait photographer, when the seasons change, my work has to change with it. The wardrobe changes, the colors change, and the tones and composition often change too. There are some shots you can take in the summer that you just can't take in the winter and vice versa.

Adjusting to and learning to deal with seasonal changes is both frustrating and creatively rewarding. I get to have a very vibrant and colorful portfolio full of spring, summer, fall, and winter-styled images (with Photoshop obviously playing an integral role in the final image). Frustrating in the sense that every year is a bit different, sometimes warmer or colder than other years with the spring or fall seasons able to be cut unexpectedly short at anytime. Sometimes the weather I wish would last for weeks just doesn't. 

Now before you think that just because you don't work outdoors or that you live in an area that doesn't experience much seasonal change, don't think that these trends automatically don't apply to you and your work too. Whether consciously or subconsciously, it's entirely possible that your studio work also shifts with the time of year. Maybe in the summertime you find yourself shooting in warmer color tones, maybe with more of an upbeat and pleasant or happy vibe. Then comes winter. Your color tones (intentionally or not) may shift to be much cooler or your work becomes much moodier with a heavier shadow element. Have you thought about it before? Can you really say or would you want to say that stylistically your work remains the same year round?

Grab a few of your images from January, then grab some from July, then a few more from October. Lay them out on either a table if in print or arrange them on your screen if they are digital. What do you see? Do they all look the same or can you see either subtle or drastic differences? Do the color tones shift across the year? Whether they do or don't, how does that make you feel about your own work? Let us know in the comments what your favorite season is and why. Also let us know what you see in your own work and style.

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9 Comments

Cathleen Shea's picture

Autumn, definitely. The riot of colors... the light... the cooler air... less people out and about (I'm primarily a landscape photographer). But to the degree I've discovered how much I like astrophotography... I guess my foreground settings will change, but there's something seemingly immutable about the Milkyway.

So maybe in that... my style doesn't change with the season? Sure, the Milkyway center will dip below the horizon soon. Yet the band will still cross the sky... I'll find something interesting to frame it. Then... click. :)

Evan Kane's picture

Right on Cathleen, thanks for the comment.

Do you find that you get a lot of foreground change along with the sky shifting? More snowy mountains in the foreground vs exposed cliffs or rocks?

Changing seasons is what keeps work interesting for me. Although most of the portrait work I do is in the studio these days, I still love a location shoot. And yes I find that stylistically and colour wise, my work changes throughout the year depending both on my mood but also current trends. By the way I really wanted to log in to comment to specifically say that I love that second image with the light hitting her face - it is magical :)

Evan Kane's picture

Hi Carmen, thanks very much for the comment! I agree, the seasons definitely make things interesting haha. I haven't been in studio in quite a while, but I'm starting to wonder what tone I would go for if I did.

And thanks for the comment on that image! That one was taken in Seattle with the very last couple minutes of sunset breaking through the trees. The light was a really gorgeous mixture of diffused and direct light and I just had to try it.

Jason Lorette's picture

I live in Canada, I don't have any choice but to change with the seasons. :P I just wish summer/fall was a little longer.

Evan Kane's picture

I've never been to Canada, but from work I've seen it looks really beautiful (and cold haha)!

Jason Lorette's picture

Probably much like Colorado...we have a diversity of climate from one end of the country to the other. :)

Evan Kane's picture

Fair enough. I would describe Colorado as either very hot or very cold and always dry as can be haha.

Jason Lorette's picture

I live on the East Coast, I'm 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean...it's not dry here, when it get's cold it get's in your bones, when it get's hot it's humid...and we have everything in between. :P