How to Prepare for Your Winter Photo Session


Winter is just around the corner and there are so many things to be excited about! Fresh beautiful, white snow, vibrant scarves, rosy cheeks, and most importantly, time with family. It’s also a great time to schedule a portrait session to capture these special moments of your family.  With this in mind, here are some things to consider when planning a photo session in the winter:

  • Keep an eye on the weather and plan a couple dates with your photographer. Utah’s weather is already unpredictable, but it can get even  trickier in the winters with an abundance of wind and rain. Let your photographer know if snow is a priority for you, so they can plan accordingly, and are more willing to accommodate. I will notify you as soon as possible if we need to reschedule due to inclement weather such as strong wind and wind chill, snow storms, rain, or below freezing temperatures. Though I only like to reschedule if absolutely necessary. Once for a family session there hadn’t been rain in the forecast but it as the time grew nearer the weather worsened. We decided to go ahead with the photo session.  As soon as I headed out the door, rain began POURING. We were both already on our way, so we met up at the location up the canyon despite the weather. Once we got far enough up the canyon, the rain subsided and I don’t think it had even rained at our location for the family session. I always keep an eye on the weather for the specific location where we’ll be doing our session because the weather can be drastically different depending on the location!

Ho to prepare for your winter family photo session in Utah

  • Choose a couple of locations that can work with and without snowfall. I always assist in choosing locations and have a list of locations that you can even pick from. Some locations may not be accessible in the winter months. Some roads close during the winter up in the mountains and the snow gets too deep to walk on. I did a session once up in the mountains. Because it there was so much snow we could only photograph in one location. It’s best to choose locations lower in the valley during the winter.

  • Dress accordingly! There are a couple of ways you can dress for a winter session. You can embrace the season and play up the winter accessories like knit scarves, cute coats and boats, colorful mittens, and such. Or if you’d rather not have your photos taken while wearing winter coats take the layering approach. Think leggings or thermal under clothes that aren’t bulky but will give you the extra warmth, especially for younger kids. Cute sweaters, long sleeves, vests, and jackets can all be layered to give a completed, stylish look while also keeping you warm. If you have cute blankets or throws consider bringing those to help keep warm and use as a cute prop. I don’t utilize a lot of props in my sessions but a blanket is always a nice go-to for me and adds a natural feel to photos. I bring a blanket to my family sessions in case clients might not have any  they would like in their photos. I also advise to bring your nice winter coats even if you don’t plan on wearing them for your photos, so you can warm up between photos, especially for little children. And when planning out your outfits, I recommend you choose a combination of neutral palettes (brown, beige, black, maybe avoid white to not blend in with the snow) with pops of color.

  • Pack these cold weather necessities. Little noses tend to run in the cold, and glasses can fog up. Bring tissues, hand-warming packs, a change of clothes, and hot beverages to keep everyone happy throughout the shoot. You can also make your photoshoot a fun outing with the promise of going out for hot chocolate afterwards. (I especially like Orem’s dessert cafe The Chocolate’s flavored hot cocoa and their cookies!)  

The Chocolate Cafe Orem turtle crinkle peanut butter cookie

  • Start times for outdoor portrait sessions is a lot earlier in the winter. In Utah the sun sets around 5pm after daylight savings! Schedule for photos about an hour and a half to an hour before sunset on days with good weather. On extremely overcast days it’s best to schedule a little earlier for plenty of light.


  • Have a game plan and work fast. We don’t want to be in the cold for too long, so we’ll work fast to get the important shots done first. Even on days with good weather I like to work fast because you never know how long little ones will last before they decide they’re over with the photo session. Strategize with the photographer ahead of time and let them know which photos are most important to you to capture.

Winter in Provo Canyon

  • Plan to have fun playing in the snow! If you have snow on the day of your session why not take advantage of it? After getting the standard shots, let loose and have fun! Snowball fight? Building a snowman? Snow angels? Sledding? There are so many possibilities! And if playing in the snow together as a family is a regular winter activity, why not plan an in-home lifestyle session where you get shots playing out in the snow, warming up inside over hot cocoa, and sitting around your Christmas tree?

Outdoor and in home lifestyle family session winter


If doing a session outdoors still doesn’t seem like something you’d enjoy I’d recommend an in-home lifestyle session (great for both newborn and family sessions!), finding an indoor location, or there is also the option of renting a studio space. But if an outdoor winter session sounds like your ideal photo shoot, I’d love to capture these memories for your family! Contact me today to schedule your family snowy photo shoot! 

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