5 Tips for Winter Family Photos

Family … isn’t it about .. Time?



Also, Family pictures .. isn’t it about time? Other than our Christmas pj session – we haven’t taken family pictures since last year.  My current state (not being able to fasten my pants) makes me a highly uninterested in photos of myself.  And let’s face it, family pictures are basically just photos of myself and a few other people whose faces don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. 

We did, however, take some stellar family pictures last winter that turned out amazing enough to last me two years! I had been wanting to do Christmas tree lot photos for a while so we decided to go for it.  Also, we thought we’d make them real authentic so we called up the weather man and asked him to drop a little extra snow for the occasion. If you need us to order some weather for you, let me know. We know a guy who knows a guy.  We’re kind of a big deal.

Seriously though, when I initially scheduled our pictures for DECEMBER I wasn’t making the mental note that it would be balls to the wall cold.  I’m not proud of my brain capability some days.  Most would say that’s sort of an obvious deduction but I would say my mind was probably wondering if I had enough time to run by Swig that day.  Priorities.  So when I finally decided to check the weather and saw there was a 200% chance of snow for the day I said, “Bring it”.  Or a more accurate telling would be that I ate a box of doughnuts and cried because I am a whimp when it comes to temperature.  I have approximately a 1.3 degree tolerance threshold. If the temperature goes above – Imma do like Nelly and take off all my clothes.  If it drops below – you better believe I’m bumping the heat up to 88.  Utility bill?  Never heard of it.  So pictures in the snow with two toddlers were a Shark Tank worthy idea in my book. 

I would’ve been really well off this year though! What is this sad excuse for winter? We saw more snow in North Carolina last winter! I’m really hoping that Santa drops a few flaked on Christmas eve because I am getting sick of the sage brush view out my windows.  

I did, however, have a few grandiose ideas to maintain homeostasis during this Elsa photoshoot that I thought I would share.  (And some terrible ideas that I won’t embarrass myself by revealing) but instead I’ll share some other magnificent ideas that I thought of after the fact in hopes that they’ll help somebody else who may want to take their “winter” family pics a little too literally. 

5 ways to survive family pictures in the cold/snow.


  1. Hire a talented and experienced photographer. Working with Meg Bird Photo was the first, if only, good idea I had.  She is so incredibly talented.  I kid you not one time I was scrolling through her Instagram and she posted a photo she had captured of something outdoorsy like a leaf or stick or something, (I don’t know – I don’t get ourdoors much) but it was so pretty it made me cry.  I don’t even know how to explain it .. and no, I wasn’t pregnant or nursing or watching a lifetime movie at the time.  Her work is just THAT good.  Meghan knew exactly what needed to be done to keep us moving and to keep the photo shoot time to a minimum.  I love her natural style.  Definitely hire her.  She’s, for lack of a better adjective, amazeballs.
  2. Hand warmers. Initially I thought, I’ll get us a few hand warmers to hold while we’re trapesing through (fjords?) of snow.  But much to my surprise, they now have not only hand warmers but also toe warmers, body warmers, and family size variety packs.  Every American’s favorite.  I put hand warmers in the girls’ gloves.  We stuck the toe warmers to their socks before putting their boots on. (TIP – when using Toe Warmers, let them oxygenate and warm up before putting your shoes on.  If you don’t they won’t ever warm up because once your shoe is on they’re deprived of the oxygen they need to chemically react and heat up).  I learned that one in elementary school when I was a regular skier. And by regular I mean twice a seaon.  I was a champ at pizza skis.  Not so much a champ when it came to vacating the ski lift.  I still have PTSD from the time I fell off the ski lift.  Story for another time.

Back to methods of warming the body.  The body warmers they’ve come out with now are genius.  They’re sticky so you can adhere them to your inner most layer of clothing.  You better believe we put that family size pack to use.  We taped them to our bums, our legs, our bellies, our backs, you name it.  And by we, I mean the girls and myself.  My husband is much too cool for such sissy warmth antics.  He’s bad A. 

  1. My next tip is layers. Layers for days.  We came with sweaters, coats, beanies, gloves, tights, socks, scarves, and more both on us and in a bag.  Another good tip from our photographer was to come over dressed (no, not like in a sparkly ball gown and tuxedo, thank goodness I got the clarification before showing up) she meant loaded in layers for warmth and then we stripped down a few layers for a few photos when our chilled bodies could handle it.  Even a cute blanket could be a good layer that doubles as a photo prop.
  2. Number 4 is Scotchguard. Scotchguard is the bomb.com.  It basically waterproofs stuff.  We sprayed it on ALL our shoes so that the snow wouldn’t … penetrate (ewww I hate that word!) them and make our feet wet or cold.  We’ve scotchguarded our coats, hats, tights, you name it, we’ve waterproofed it.  It’s a good idea to spray your shoes regularly just to give them a barrier from water and snow.  Life hack.  You’re welcome.
  3. Pull ups. Put your “potty-trained” toddlers in a pull up.  Because if there was ever a time for those “quotation marks” to expose the validity of that claim –it would be during family pictures in the middle of a snowy tree lot.  So, just in case, slap a diaper on that baby.  Heck – throw some depends on your teenagers while you’re at it.  That way if anybody needs to “go potty” and cut your session short, you’ve already solved that problem.  You go girl. 

Also, if you’re wondering, tip #5 was brought to you in part by real life experience.  Nora peed her pants during our photoshoot and then it started to freeze to her legs like an innocent tongue licking frost off a flagpole on a December day.  So basically our family session was cut short and you bet your bottom dollar (or twenty) I wish I would’ve put her in a Pull Up. 

So there you have it.  Learn from our mistakes and get some good photos!  If you’ve taken winter photos, drop a line and tell me how you survived them!  Or tag me in one on Instagram! I would love to see! Thanks for reading folks.

One Reply to “5 Tips for Winter Family Photos”

  1. LOVE your outfit!! I’m taking my first set of family pics in November and struggling with what to wear! I love your dress and cardigan! Can I ask where you got them? Beautiful pictures and awesome tips!! Thanks!!!

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