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Planning Snow Family and Maternity Photos in Northern VA Weather

Snow photos are among my favorite type of outdoor photos. It is SO cold out there, but the results are so pretty that it’s worth the temporary freeze. In addition to just plain being worth it, I have a few tips and tricks to share that may help keep you warmer than just tossing on a dress and running to play in the snow.

Last March, we happened to have a very late cold snap and late snow.  It worked out well that I also had 2 friends who I knew wanted maternity photos taken in the snow.  Jess and DJ made it out for couple maternity photos in the snow.  One friend of mine, Justine, is also a photographer over at Fluttering Shutter Photography.  She and I met up with our good friend Blaire with Second Ave Photography. I absolutely love the way both of these sessions turned out.

Photo of couple in front of bamboo. Maternity photo in snow.
Jessica and DJ pose in the snow in front of Bamboo.

Planning your session:
Snow photos can be hard to plan if you live in an area like Northern Virginia. We get snow but it is often unpredictable as to when or how much we might get. If you want snowy family photos, or will be pregnant during the winter months of December to March (yes, even March) and have snow maternity photos on your wish list, email me well in advanced.  We can get started on the booking process and I will put you on a list so that I know to call you when snow is in the forecast. Unlike most maternity sessions, snow sessions are taken when mother nature allows. Luckily work from home days, or days off usually go hand in hand with snow days.  Maternity photos are suggested between 32-36 weeks, but there is wiggle room to that based on your own personal preference.

Excitement and fear of melting snow might make you think to run out at sight of first flakes, but good snow cover is suggested.  It is best to wait until the snow stops falling, mostly for your own safety.  If heavy weather is predicted, sit back and wait for the roads to clear.  With good snow fall, photos can be taken the day, or even 2 days after it snows.  This is typically how you get slightly warmer weather and also get snow.  There is still sometimes wind the day after, which can be just as cold.

Aim for the warmer times of day.  Solar noon is typically the warmest weather you can find in the winter.  Typically snow comes with large clouds and very overcast days so it is safe to shoot at peek sun and get nice results.  The snow will reflect nice diffuse light on your face, in addition to heavy cloud cover doing the same from above. You can absolutely take photos during golden hour, just before sunset but it will be colder.

Burgundy dress in snow maternity photo.

Dress the part:
Snow maternity photos are best paired with a pretty gown and that can be done without freezing off a toe.  Family photos are a bit easier to bundle for but most of these rules apply or can be adapted.  Just like you would when going sledding, layer up. Dresses are long for a reason.  I suggest wearing leggings, good socks and snow boots under your dress.  I personally have a pair of Under Armor active cold gear leggings that I managed to shimmy into when I was pregnant.  If you have something similar, dig them out of the closet for photos.  If not, any leggings will do.  It is important to make sure any under layers are not showing through your dress. This includes the waist band of leggings, or even your bra.  A selection of my prop dresses are long sleeved, you can take your pick from what I have, or bring your own, but long sleeves make a world of difference out in the snow.  If you have pretty fur or faux fur, bring it with you for an extra layer and extra fancy look. Bring your warmest coat and plan to put it on and take it off between photos and walking from location to location.  You can also wear ear muffs and gloves in between as well.  Just be mindful of hair and makeup when choosing something to cover your ears.

Photo of couple along shoreline. Pregnant woman, with her husband.
There is no snow here but it was quite cold this day.  Julia’s faux fur was the perfect touch. See more from this session here.

Logistics:  
You will want to stay near a heated home, or at minimum a car with the heat on and plan to take breaks. My in-home studio is surrounded by a wooded lot and very close to a walking trail.  It is perfect for popping in and out for snow day photos.  Your photographer will be in layers and likely won’t get cold as fast as you do.  If you are too cold and putting your coat on for a few isn’t cutting it, tell your photographer so that you can stop and warm up.  Your comfort is worth 5 minutes if you need it!

2 Photographers in the snow after maternity photos.
Blaire of Second Ave , and Justine of Fluttering Shutter, behind the scenes.

Embrace the cold:
Aside from dressing the part and planning your best, there isn’t much you can do about the fact that snow is just cold.  Sometimes it is fun to simply snuggle up too.  Plan to cuddle in jackets, or a blanket with your significant other.  It provides a different look and feel on top of an elegantly styled session.

Couple wearing coats in snow maternity photos

Are snow family or maternity photos on your pregnancy bucket list?  Email me!  Contact me here!

 

Gonzales Family, Party of 5 | Loudoun County Photographer

It was so nice to meet and photograph this family of 5!  The weather was gorgeous, fall was just beginning and the sun was beautifully perfect for their session.

 

 

Lifestyle NICU Photos | Northern VA

A few months ago I met this beautiful pair of strong ladies.  This sweet tiny baby you see here is such a little fighter.  She was born at 23 weeks and had quite the start.  These photos were taken just a few days before she finally got to come home, right around her due date, which is amazing!

We planned my visit during care times when baby girl needed to eat, be changed, dressed and snuggled.  I also got to stick around for a little of her Physical therapy.  Little miss just loved her mama and cuddle time.  It was obvious that the nurses and staff at the hospital had grown fond of this family.

I myself had pre term labor at 23 weeks pregnant with my son, and while we were fortunate that he was born later, we still spent quite a bit of time in the NICU.  Their story is one close to my heart and it was such an honor to document this time in their lives. While it may be a harder start, it is important that every baby have the opportunity to have first photos taken.

Sunflower Themed First Birthday Photos | Northern VA Photographer

This sweet little sunflower came back to visit me for her first birthday photos!  She makes the sweetest little conversational baby sounds and loved pointing at everything in the studio.  She gave us some quick smiles mixed in with lots of serious faces.

Mama requested a sunflower session because her baby shower was sunflower themed.  This was so much fun to create!  Mama also had a few other requests for her session that we certainly worked in, but I will leave it to her to share the rest!

Brust Family Photos | Alexandria VA Photographer

There is nothing better than when my tiny clients get out of the car and tell me “Miss Jamie is my best friend!”  Big sis and I go way back to her newborn days.  If you’ve followed me for a bit, you have no doubt seen them before.

As a matter of fact, I last photographed them 6 months ago when baby brother joined the crew!

It was so great to see these four again.

 

Rainy Day Photos | Fairfax, VA Family Photographer

I have had had the pleasure of photographing this sweet family since their oldest was born.  This year was the first year we have had to contend with unfavorable weather.

Jamie Romaezi -FV5A0640-Edit
Fun fact, when I was in middle school, I thought I wanted to be a meteorologist.  Who knew I would grow up to be a photographer, aka a part time meteorologist.  The weather predictions for their session waffled between rain and sun shine the entire week.  My typical policy is to check in 2-3 days before photos if weather is looking particularly unfavorable.  Usually no decisions are made until the night before, or the morning of a session because weather predictions can change so much.  The night before photos, mom and I chatted on the phone.  Together we weighed the pros and cons of rescheduling to another week. Big con, these leaves don’t stay up on those trees forever!  The evening appeared to be rainy and the morning sunny.  In the end, we waited until the next morning and decided to move their session time up 30 minutes since it wasn’t predicted to rain until 6.

It turns out, that was a lie.  Ok, really it was a bad weather prediction, but it started raining 20 minutes into their session time.  We rolled quickly through some really great poses for big brother, the whole family, and then baby brother, mom and dad then the sprinkles started.

These guys know me and my work pretty well by now, they know they can trust me.  I was prepared with a rain coat and umbrella as well as other gear needed for light rain.  So at their decision, we trucked on!  I have a really amazing app, Dark Sky, that shows you how hard it is supposed to rain, and when it will stop within the next hour.  We decided to wait the rain out since the app predicted a short break in 10 minutes.  The rain did as the app predicted so we dashed back out to finish up!  When started sprinkling again, we learned it was very dry under a large pine (no lightning so it was safe).  The color of the leaves in the background popped so beautifully from the glow of the rain on them and their photos have a beautiful water color effect!

 

Reed Fall Family Photos | Northern Virginia Photographer

These photos were so much fun for the whole family.  First family baby, their dog, included!  I have a new favorite spot that this family explored with me.  This family was a dream to work with.  The amazing sunlight through the trees and wildflowers during their last days in bloom only sweetened the pot!

When mom and dad reached out to me, they wanted to document their time as a new family of 3 so we talked about and booked outdoor fall photos.  This little lady will be coming back to see me for her first birthday in December too and I can’t wait for their studio session!

We also took a couple of photos of just baby to document her milestones.  She’s a solid sitter and just learning to stand assisted.  Look how cute she is with those bright blue eyes of hers!