This Year’s MUST TAKE Winter Photos

 This Years MUST Take Winter Photos

For most of the year, the weather has inspired us to get outside with our children and take lots of photos. However, winter is finally upon us, which has the potential to mean a lot of low lit indoor photography. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

We encourage you to put on your coat, warm up your camera and get back outside. The winter months are no time to hibernate. There are still plenty of photos worth taking and today we’re going to uncover this year’s MUST TAKE winter photos as well as a few tips for capturing those moments. 

1. Baby’s First Snow

Like all “first” moments, a child’s first experience with snow is worth capturing. If your child is really young, you can use a Bumbo for support. 

2. Catching Snowflakes

We haven’t been able to capture any of our children catching snowflakes on their tongues YET, so this “must take” photo is at the top of our list. 

Winterize Your Gear Before you ever step into the winter air with your camera, there are a few things you should know: 

  • Allow your camera to adjust to the cold temperatures for at least 10 minutes before shooting. 
  • When you come back inside, let your camera warm up slowly (try placing near a window) to prevent condensation. 
  • Keep your camera protected from the elements by using a waterproof cover. You don’t need anything fancy. Try using a plastic freezer bag. 
  • Batteries tend to lose power much faster in cold weather. Bring spare batteries and keep them warm by putting them in your coat/pant pocket. You can even wrap them up in a small towel. 
  • Wear thin gloves so that you can still adjust your camera. 

3. Macro Snowflakes and Icicles

If your kids are too young to catch snowflakes, try your hand at capturing macro snowflakes or icicles. 

Capturing a snowflake is no easy task. The easiest approach requires you to use a DSLR with a macro lens or extension tubes and a ring flash (okay, the ring flash is optional). You also need a black mitten. 

Set your mitten out during a snowfall and wait for the snowflakes to land (which means you need to be dressed appropriately). Once you see those beautiful flakes start to fall, start shooting. You’ll have to shake off your mitten a few times and you may not get exactly what you want the first few times, but with a little patience, you’ll get the shot. 

4. Building a Snowman

“Do you wanna build a snowman?” What kid doesn’t want to build a snowman? Regardless of how much snow is on the ground, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be outside helping your child build a snowman this year. At some point during the building, be sure to grab your camera and snap a few photos. 

Set Your White Balance

The bright white color of snow has a tendency to screw with your camera’s white balance. If you’ve ever tried to photograph snow before, you’ve probably noticed that your photos are either too dark or too cool (blue tone).  Therefore, manually set your camera’s white balance using a gray card.

5. Snow Angels


Once you’ve built a snowman, it seems only natural to lay in the snow and make snow angels. Capture this timeless tradition from multiple angles. You may even want to bring out a small ladder to capture your child from above. 

Turn On Your Flash

Much like any other time of the year, your best light for winter photos will occur during the morning and late afternoon. If you’re goal is to take great photos, plan your winter activities (building a snowman, making snow angels, etc) around those times.

That said, the bright white of snow and ice reflects sunlight much like the white side of a reflector, which means your photos are still at risk of being overexposed.

Instead of blowing out your highlights, try using your flash. It seems counter-intuitive, but the flash will balance out the light off the snow by filling in darker areas, so you get perfect exposure. 

6. Winter Action

Sledding, sleigh riding, snow fights, ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding. Winter offers so many opportunities to capture action, so choose at least one of these action shots and add it to your “must take” list. 

For young children, we especially like sledding, but how do you capture it? We suggest 1 of 2 ways: 

  • Shutter Priority (TV) or Action Mode: We always recommend using a shutter speed of at least 1/200 any time you are photographing children in action. The same applies for photographing any sort of action on a winter day. 
  • Video Stills: Many cameras have a video feature. You can videotape the experience, then sort through the frames to find a perfect shot.

7. Landscapes

Winter landscapes make a fantastic canvas that comes to life with contrasting shapes and colors, such as buildings, trees, animals or your family dressed in colorful winter threads. Keep your eyes peeled for beauty camouflaged in white. 

We even like the idea of planning a family photo during the winter months — maybe at a Christmas Tree farm.

8. Hot Chocolate


After a day of playing in the snow, come back inside for a big cup of hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies. Have your kids sit near a window to take advantage of the best light, but don’t force a photo shoot. You have plenty of time to capture these types of moments. 

So that’s our list. What did we miss? Whatever the case, don’t get stuck inside this winter. Keep that camera shooting!

Looking for more fun ways to keep busy this winter, check out: 
Winter Swimming Lesson Tips

Photo credits: Ashley Sisk,  The Quinntessential Mommy, rik, and Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.





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Ashley Sisk

Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children and Kitty Paw. She’s a work-from-home mom with a natural light photography business and a passion for sharing everything she knows. Since leaving the corporate world, she now spends her time chasing her preschooler, nursing her new baby, writing and finding ways to enjoy life. You can find her on Facebook, Google + or on her website.

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