How to Dress Kids for Winter Photo Shoots

Winter can be a great time for family photos! The snowcapped Colorado mountains make a beautiful backdrop, and the sun sets early so you can get that rich, golden light that comes just before sunset without keeping kids up past their bedtimes. The drawback though, is that it can be cold! It’s so hard for little kids to stay happy and smile for photos when they’re freezing, and once they’re freezing, your photoshoot can go downhill fast. Here are some tips for how to make sure that doesn’t happen!

  1. Dress them warmer than you think they need to be. Here in Colorado, the weather can change on a dime, and the temperature tends to drop quickly as the sun starts to go down behind the mountains. Your kids may be playing outside happily without jackets an hour before your session, but the weather could look a lot different by the time you’re getting out of your car on location for your photoshoot. If you’ve overdressed them, you can always remove layers, but you can’t add layers that you haven’t even brought with you.
  2. Put a layer under the cute outfit that you want them to wear. Thermal knits would be ideal for this, but I always just use what we have! If you’re dressing your boy in khaki pants and a sweater, you can put tight fitting pajama pants under his dress pants and another shirt under his sweater. If your little girl will be wearing a dress, you can put on two pairs of tights or leggings, and another shirt under her dress.
  3. Bring along layers that you can add on top of their cute outfit. Bring an extra sweater or nice coat for each kiddo. If you’re hoping to not have them wear that extra layer, you can leave it in the car and start without it, but you’ll be so glad you have it if you end up needing it. I promise it will be better than having to do the photoshoot with your daughter wrapped up in her big brother’s dirty coat because it’s the only thing you have with you! You can also bring cute hats, gloves, and scarves to keep kids warm and add some variety to your photos.
  4. Consider bringing their winter coats or a big warm blanket for them to use between photos. This isn’t always necessary, and sometimes can backfire if they refuse to take the coat off, but it can really help if they can warm up when it’s not their turn to have their picture taken. You may even want to do this for the adults in your group too! The cold isn’t so bad if you only have to take your coat off for a minute or two at a time.
  5. Consider bringing a warm drink for a mid-session break. I have to give credit to one of my clients for this idea! Knowing that her photo shoot was going to be on a very cold, windy evening, she came prepared with a thermos full of hot cocoa and a straw for each of her kids. When the kids were starting to melt down, she wrapped them up in their coats, surprised them with the hot cocoa, and they were ready to take some photos again after a short break! You may want to bring a travel mug with apple cider or hot, sweetened herbal tea instead of cocoa (which could stain clothes if it spills) as a mid-session treat or post-session bribe.
  6. Consider choosing a location where we can stay close to the car. Sometimes it can help kids if they can take a quick break to warm up in the car in the middle of a session. Some locations work better for this than others, depending on how far we have to walk for the pretty backdrops. If you’d like to try to leave that option open, I can suggest a few spots that would work well!
portrait of a baby smiling at the camera while his mom and dad snuggle with him in the Colorado snow

Maybe not all of these ideas will be right for your family, but hopefully you’ve found a few tips here to help set you up for success! Winter photo shoots in Fort Collins really can be fun and beautiful as long as you’re prepared!

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