Education, Illinois, Winter

Winter Photoshoot Ideas and Tips

Hi, I'm Kristen!
I'm an award-winning senior portrait and family photographer based out of Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. I love sunshine, cacti, chocolate chips, and a great cup of tea - but most of all I love photographing joyful clients. :)
TOp categories
Classy and comfortable senior portraits!
Relaxed and easy family portraits. and stunning artwork
Family with three young daughters in the snowy woods - winter photoshoot ideas by Kristen Hazelton

Have you been considering a winter photoshoot but are like, “nahhh too cold, too gray?” Let me share some winter photoshoot ideas, information, and inspiration that may change your mind. 🙂

Why take outdoor photos in the winter?

Family of five in the snowy woods, with three young daughters wearing pink dresses

They’re so beautiful!! Snow provides incredibly flattering light for skin, falling snow is magical, and your photos will be light and bright! They can be an incredibly lovely option for maternity sessions, senior portraits, engagement photos, or fun-filled family portraits! They’re also a super sweet choice for Valentine’s Day, or to celebrate a birthday!

What if it’s too cold?

Extended family photoshoot in the snow by Chicago family photographer Kristen Hazelton

This is my clients’ number one concern! I wait for verrryyyy specific conditions for snow photos to be sure they are as comfortable and beautiful as possible! Kristen Hazelton Photography provides complimentary hand and toe warmers for clients, and we always photograph close to the cars/an indoor location for quick warm ups! I also bring along a neutral-colored blanket for snuggly shots, and to wrap up anyone who gets too cold!

Winter photoshoot outfit ideas

Mom wearing glasses and pink dress holding her toddler daughter on a snowy day next to a river. Winter photoshoot ideas by Kristen Hazelton

“What should I wear for my winter photoshoot?” Layers, layers, layers, and bring on the cute scarves, hats, ear muffs, and mittens! You can absolutely wear your coats, or take them off for photos and put them back on in between shots if you prefer. If have young children in your group, layering underneath the cute clothes and a jacket on top between photos is the way to go!

Mom hugging her daughter in a snowy field.

As for color combinations, I absolutely LOVE light shades of pink and blue for winter photos! I think they really work well with both light snow and the neutral shades of the grasses!

Winter photoshoot location ideas

Woman kissing a man on the cheek in the snow - winter photoshoot ideas by Kristen Hazelton

Falling snow lightly dusting your hair and the trees is absolutely stunning! To that end, I prefer photographing in local natural locations and parks to emphasize that magic!

Two young sisters wearing pink jackets and hugging each other in the snow

However! Towards the end of winter the light is still great, there are no bugs, and there are gorgeous tall grasses in neutral, earthy tones. You can absolutely have winter photos that are full of color, light, and vibrancy!

Pregnant woman wearing a light colored dress in a field of yellow grass holding her toddler daughter
Mom hugging and kissing her toddler daughters in a grassy field. Winter photoshoot ideas by Kristen Hazelton
Mom hugging her toddler daughter in a field of yellow grass

Or you might consider more of an urban photoshoot – and there are lots of cute props you could consider adding in! Oak Park-local restaurant branding photographer Tina Harle went with coffee and treats at her wintry photoshoot. A snowy downtown session would be so cute with the twinkle lights, holiday decor, and maybe even hot cocoa?!

Woman holding a camera while seated on the fountain on Marion Street in downtown Oak Park, IL; winter photoshoot ideas by Kristen Hazelton

But wait! What if you want snow photos but there’s just not any snow falling? I got you.

Toddler boy playing in the snow with snowflakes in his eyelashes, hair, and on his nose

Let me channel my inner Ina Garten and say, if you can’t find real snow falling from the sky, store bought is fine! It’s biodegradable, looks great, and everyone has a lot of fun playing with it!

Still not convinced? Indoors.

Family of four on a bed for an indoor winter photoshoot. Winter photoshoot ideas by Kristen Hazelton

If you’re planning a newborn photoshoot, or have young children, an indoor photoshoot might be the right call! I have a number of different indoor suggestions, including your home, local conservatories, or even a local business with permission.

Toddler boy next to a window by Chicago family photographer Kristen Hazelton

I hope these winter photoshoot ideas helped you! If you’re considering a photoshoot of your own – reach out! I’m happy to discuss pros and cons and help you figure out when and where to have your perfect winter photoshoot!

Kristen Hazelton is an Oak Park, IL (West Chicagoland) and Livermore, CA (San Francisco East Bay Area) senior, family, and engagement photographer. She occasionally photographs in San Diego, CA, Tucson, AZ, and Seattle, WA. You can inquire about your own photoshoot here!

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