Five Fantastic Winter Photo Tips

I’m going to jump right back into the blog (and the winter season) by sharing some of my favorite winter photography tips for taking your own images this holiday season!  It’s not too late to capture some amazing photos despite the chill in the air.  And if you live anywhere northwest Minnesota right now, there will be plenty of snow after today’s blizzard!  Here is a few simple tips to help you get out there and shoot.  Just make sure to bundle up and charge your camera batteries!

1. Aim to shoot your photos during the “Golden Hour” – one hour before sunset.  In our area of the world, sunset in December is around 5 p.m., so you’ll want to start photos no later than 4 p.m. to capture the best light.  Be sure to shoot with the sun behind your subject.  Ideally you’ll want to photograph with a camera that you can change the settings on, but if you only have a cell phone handy, make sure after you compose your photo, touch the screen somewhere over their faces and bodies so your exposure will be based on the light on your subject and they won’t be too dark.

2. Find a unique background.  Winter can make any scene magical.  Finding a wooded area (especially someplace with evergreens!) can prove especially beautiful.  Tree rows create a nice perspective as well, and placing your subjects in the center draws your eye in.  Finding pops of color that contrast nicely (red is a popular choice) create the best scene for that picture-perfect Christmas card!

3. Embrace the cold.  Dressing warmly can also make for some fun photos!  Winter coats, hats, scarves–use them in your photos to your advantage.   Don’t worry so much about the temperature when planning your shoot, however you’ll want to keep an eye on the wind.  As long as it’s not windy, you can generally be outside in lower temperatures.  Just make sure to take a break to warm up every once in awhile!

4. No Snow, No Problem!  If you’re a little more advanced in Photoshop, you can add snow to your pictures in post processing, as well as shoot creatively to give the appearance of a snowy day.  Look for snow overlays (they are super simple to apply, and there are lots of tutorials online how to do it).  Just make sure to use them sparingly and be careful that it not look too “fake”–the right amount will add just a touch of sparkle to your images, and nobody will ever know it wasn’t really snowing!


5. Hold your breath!  Along with the cold weather oftentimes you can “see your breath” whenever you exhale.  The water vapor in your breath condenses into lots of tiny droplets of liquid water and ice (solid water) that you can see in the air as a cloud, similar to fog.  In photos this can be a distraction and cover up the faces of your subjects.  A few seconds before you shoot your photo, tell everyone to hold their breath while you take the picture.  It’s not as hard as it sounds, trust me!

And there you have it!  Five tips to help you with your winter photos.  Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the beauty of the season.  Snow can definitely provide a beautiful and unique backdrop if you keep these tips in mind.  And if you still need a little extra help or want to just book a winter photo session (and leave all these tricks and tips up to a professional!) feel free to reach out to me by clicking on the contact link above to book your own magical winter photo session.  There’s plenty of snow left this season to enjoy!

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  1. Great tips! Do you have anything for snowflake photography?

  2. Lacey Reimann says:

    So pretty, Megan!! Takes me back….. 🙂 Please keep blogging!!

  3. Alicia Anderson says:

    beautiful images, I’m your biggest fan!

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