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  • Writer's pictureEmily Irwin

5 Tips for Staying Warm During Your Outdoor Photoshoot

If you are anything like my kids, you don't love the cold. I've got you covered for your next photo session.


Baby girl, bundled in a white snowsuit, looks up to the camera and points and smiles in the snow on a bright day

Picture it, you've booked a session with your photographer (ahem, me), it's the perfect day except for one thing, it's freezing (or even just a tad bit chilly). You don't know what to do since you want the photos, but you know your kids, your husband, or even yourself, and you know you don't love being outside in the cold. I feel lucky to run a bit hot, but that doesn't mean I don't get cold, too. I've spent a lot of time outside in the cold working with the Brush Monkeys painting windows around Ann Arbor, Michigan in November and December so I know a few tricks to staying warm! (Secret side note, bet you didn't know I am also a painter!) All of this to say I can help you keep that photo session date with your photographer AND stay warm. Read these 5 tips I've compiled for staying warm!


Family of 5 stand together during golden hour in the fall

1. Wear layers

This one is key. Seriously. Long underwear, fleece-lined tights, thin thermal layers (especially for littles), undershirts, long-sleeved shirts under sweaters, multiple pairs of socks (preferably cotton as the first layer), and warm boots/shoes are great for those cold days. Layers can make all the difference if you have cute outfits you want to show off and don't want to run into the whole Halloween in the north issue (iykyk). When I used to paint windows in the cold, one of the worst things was when my layers didn't overlap, so think through that too. You don't want your belly or back open to the elements, that gets cold quick!


Siblings stand in a field of tall grass during golden hour and laugh together

2. Wear cute outerwear

Wearing cute jackets, boots, and accessories can add so much to the feel of your photos. I'm especially fond of things like wool coats vs ski jackets, but if that's your look then go for it! I just think that neutrals for the major pieces (like coats or snow pants) are going to be better than bright colors. Heck! Classic Carhart jackets are PERFECT for photos. They're warm and neutral. If you don't want to invest in new outerwear for everyone, crowdsource! Ask your friends, make a post in that mom group on Facebook, or just hit up the thrift stores. This one takes a bit of planning if you usually wear bright pink/blue/green jackets in the winter, but can be done in time for your photos for sure! When in doubt make sure to check with your photographer (again, ahem, me) to see what they think about the colors.



3. Bring mittens, hats, & scarves

Mittens, hats, & scarves can make or break an outdoor photo session. This also ties into tip #2 but can be a standalone tip as well. Think about these accessories as props. Not only will they keep you warm if you're not planning on packing on the outerwear and want to instead show off your outfit, but they can make your photos feel that much cuter! This is one spot where I think a pop of color can be fun! I mean, come on, think about your hands all decked out in red mittens against the white white snow. So cute! Double check with your photographer again for color suggestions though!


Family of 4 with two teenage boys squats in front of a wood pile in the snow, all wearing winter gear

4. Use hand and toe warmers

Ok this one I know from experience with the Brush Monkeys can really make your experience in the cold a good one. Not everyone has the best boots or mittens, but that's ok if you've got hand and toe warmers! I really love the toe warmers if you're going to be spending any amount of time out on cold concrete. The transfer of cold up into your boots from concrete is brutal, so stick a few warmers under your toesies and keep 'em toasty! There are even larger warmers you can get that go on your back or front. I wouldn't suggest these going directly on your skin, though. It's best to have something between your skin and the warmer (even on your hands, so double up on the mittens) if you're planning on keeping it there during the whole photoshoot. I usually bring these with me during photo sessions, so hopefully your photographer has some with them if you forget!


Family or 4 with two girls walks towards the camera and laughs together at a Christmas tree farm

5. Take breaks

Ask your photographer, they're probably cold, too, and might want a break right along with you. Warming up inside, or even just throwing your coat on for a few minutes can save your photo session. Maybe even bring some hot drinks with you (these could even turn into props for your photos!), but make sure they won't stain your clothes if they spill a bit. If you're short on time like during a mini session, this might not be possible so always be prepared for your photographer to say no. If that's the case then tips 1-4 should be plenty helpful!


Toddler boy laughs while playing in the snow on a bright day

Bonus Tip!

Come with a good attitude. Nothing hurts your photoshoot more than a bad attitude, especially if you've got any empaths with you, they'll feel your bad feelings right along side you. Remember that it's only a small part of your day, but you'll have some really great photos to look back on for years to come. You'll forget how cold you were, OR it'll turn into family legend how you all stuck with it and had a fun time even though you were cold!


Pregnant woman in emerald green dress sits on the snow laughing and holding her belly

Make sure to plan ahead and you'll be fine, but hopefully more than fine, you'll be warm! Keep in contact with your photographer and make sure they're in the loop for potential changes in wardrobe or plans. Your photographer may have tips beyond these for staying warm in your climate, so checking in is a great idea. Now go forth and have fun, get those snowy photos, and be confident that you don't have to cancel just because it gets a bit chilly!


If you're ready to book a cold or snowy outdoor session with me, you can reach out here and we can get everything squared away. I do love some fun snow photos, and as long as my camera can work in the temp I'm willing to go out! If you need a refresher on what sessions I offer you can see them here!


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