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