December 4, 2022

As we approach the winter season (it is officially snowing as I write this post!), I thought it would be beneficial to share a blog with a few of my top tips for clients preparing to have a winter — or cold weather — photo session! It is important to remember that while winter can be very beautiful (again, I will refer to the stunning, GIGANTIC snowflakes falling outside my window!), colder weather can also pose some significant challenges for a session. I hope this post is helpful and leaves you armed with ideas to make the most out of your winter photo shoot!

5 Tips for Having an Enjoyable Winter Photo Session

1. Dress Appropriately

What may seem like an obvious tip can often be forgotten and, since this is my most important advice for those preparing for a winter session, I have to start with it! I’m writing this post from Washington, where winter is often equal wet and REALLY cold . We remind our clients that unfortunately we do not live in Colorado, where snow is plenty and temperatures often remain mild. When we see beautiful winter photos on online, keep in mind that they were most likely not photographed in the state or location where you live. You must be prepared for your particular climate!

Unlike normal winter activities in which you are both bundled up in as many layers as possible AND moving around a lot (snowshoeing, skiing, making snow angels or forts, walking, sledding, hiking, etc.), a photo session generally entails a lot of “standing around.” You are not getting your body temperature up by moving around a lot and so, as you can imagine, we find that clients tend to get colder much quicker than normal. This is another reason why it is so important to wear weather-appropriate clothing. We recommend:

  • Form fitting jackets that flatter the figure
  • Sweaters / layers
  • Scarves
  • Boots
  • Warm socks
  • Gloves and/or hats

Lastly, wearing warmer clothing just … makes sense! It looks natural and appropriate to be wearing the above recommendations for your photos in the snow!

2. Bring Extra Layers

We highly recommend bringing a super warm jacket, legitimate snow boots, a scarf and gloves, and/or a blanket to your session, even if you don’t plan to wear or use them for the photos! It is helpful to stay warm as long as possible and between poses when shooting. If there is a bit of a walk to your location, or you are changing locations, you will want to be able to bundle up during these transition moments. Then, when it’s time to actually shoot, you can take off the extra layers at the very last minute! This is also a good idea if you want to keep your shoes as snow-free as possible by changing into them only when necessary.

3. Hand / Foot Warmers

This is one of the very best tricks : ) Put foot warmers in your shoes or boots, as well as hand warmers in your gloves! No one will be able to tell in the photos and you will get an added boost of warmth! If a client plans to wear a longer maxi dress for her winter session, we also recommend wearing warm leggings underneath as again, no one will know and you will be thankful!

4. Relax

This is a tip for photo sessions AND for any other time you find yourself outside in the cold! I swear by this. Our body’s immediate reaction to cold temperatures is to tense up … and then begin shivering! If you can relax your shoulders, take slower and deeper breaths, and make a conscious effort to simply relax your body, I promise you will feel just a little bit warmer!

5. Be Flexible

If the weather is too cold, or the wind too strong, it can be a good idea to consider rescheduling your session. When it comes to our own clients, we recommend considering a reschedule if the temperature drops below 20º, wind chill included. If you are too cold during your session, you will not enjoy it. It can be more challenging to relax, smile naturally, and avoid tense body language when you are … absolutely freezing! Remain flexible and work with your photographer to choose a time that is best for your situation, photos, and experience.

Leslie Harris is the photographer behind One Thousand Words Photography, and is a portrait and wedding photographer in the Seattle/ Tacoma area. She specializes in Couples, Senior and Boudoir portraits as well as Wedding photography. Leslie’s style is true to her PNW roots….honest, authentic and emotional while still maintaining the timeless features of photography that create family heirlooms. She currently resides in Tacoma, WA with her kids and a few furry kids too. Leslie is currently booking 2023 & 2024 Portrait Sessions and Weddings in Western Washington. She is also available for travel.

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