When the temperature drops and it's time to start piling on warm layers, it can only mean one thing: winter is here. Thankfully, this chilly time of year is also one of the best for capturing beautiful photos, whether you want to shoot frosty landscapes, cozy indoor scenes, or fun snow-filled days with your family.
If you need a little bit of inspiration to help you get started, then you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up our top 10 winter photography ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Grab your camera (and your scarf) and be prepared to be inspired by the following winter photo shoot tips!
Our Top 10 Winter Photography Ideas
Pick and choose which winter photoshoot ideas take your fancy the most, or use this list as a set of weekly photography challenges; it’s up to you!
1. Winter Landscapes at Golden Hour
Golden hour is always a wonder to behold, but winter makes it especially magical. The way the golden and blush-toned light reflects off a fresh coating of snow is a photo opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Golden hour typically peaks about twenty minutes before or after the sun rises or sets, so ensure you do your research and plan accordingly.
2. Cozy Cabins in the Woods
If you come across a cabin in the woods on your travels, be sure to photograph it in all of its winter glory. Whether it’s festively decorated, dwarfed by pine trees, or dusted in snow, there’s just something about a rustic log cabin that encompasses those winter holiday vibes.
3. Macro Shots of Nature
Bring your camera on your next long walk and pay attention to the details you might not normally notice, like foliage covered in frost.
You can use the macro setting on your camera or mobile phone to capture up-close images that provide a different perspective on the things we overlook each day. Using macro photography to capture nature like this is a great way to showcase the changing seasons.
4. Frozen Lakes
If you live near a lake that freezes over in the winter, why not take your camera to capture it in all of its frozen beauty? This is because frozen lakes often feature incredible reflections of their surrounding scenery, not to mention unique textural details when photographed up close.
A word of warning, however: don’t walk out onto a frozen body of water unless it’s been approved for foot traffic!
5. Frosted Windows
In the coldest depths of winter, it isn’t unusual to see ice crystals that have formed on your home or car windows overnight. While they can be a little inconvenient (especially if you’re late to work and your car window is covered in frost!), they sure make for stunning winter photography.
Use the zoom or macro feature on your camera or mobile phone to capture as much detail as possible.
6. Winter Photography Ideas Without Snow
Now, what about if you live in a location that doesn’t receive snowfall? You may think that you can’t capture beautiful landscapes during this season, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
For winter photography ideas without snow, embrace settling mist, rows of pine trees, or even the eerie beauty of spindly trees that have lost all of their leaves. These things all scream of winter, even if there isn’t any snow in sight.
7. Winter Wildlife
There’s just something enchanting about animals in snowy landscapes, whether it’s a flock of deer grazing or your pet dog rolling around in the snow. Be sure to use a telephoto lens to capture wildlife safely from afar, but if it’s an animal that feels comfortable with your presence (like your dog), then feel free to get up close and personal for that magical shot.
8. Family Fun in the Snow
If you’re looking for some winter photo ideas for your family, look no further than some fun in the snow. Not only does the stark, white snow provide a wonderful backdrop to your wintery photos, but it also gives you and your family plenty of opportunities for candid captures. This is because some of the best winter photo shoot poses include building a snowman, throwing snowballs, or riding on sleds. Documenting these fun moments is the best way to avoid any awkward, staged family photos.
9. Keep It Cozy With Indoor Winter Photography Ideas
Looking for a winter photo shoot idea for couples that doesn’t involve getting outside in the cold? Keep things cozy indoors and document moments to cherish with your special someone. Some of the best wintery backdrops include a burning fire, your Christmas tree, or even a large window looking out onto a snowy scene.
Think about layering up in cozy sweaters, or why not wear matching winter pajamas? Additionally, we recommend shooting in the evening, when the glow of the fireplace or twinkle of lights adds warmth to your photos.
10. Wintery Scenes Shot From Above
It’s one thing to capture winter from the ground, but have you ever wondered what it looks like from above? If you have access to a drone, now is the perfect time to capture some aerial shots of your favorite winter landscapes for a whole new perspective.
How Do You Take Good Pictures in Winter?
While any good photo requires preparation, this is especially true in winter. Take the weather into account and plan ahead, whether that’s scouting out your location beforehand, pre-selecting your model’s outfits, or creating a mood board of the types of shots you want to capture.
Once you’ve taken your photos, be sure to edit them to perfection too. Here’s an article on the 6 photo editing techniques you can apply to enhance your winter photography.
What Colors Photograph the Best in Snow?
Bright or high-contrast colors photograph best in the snow, as they really pop against the stark white backdrop. Take this into consideration when planning your winter photoshoot outfit ideas!
What Should I Wear for a Winter Photo Shoot?
Speaking of outfit ideas, you might be wondering what specific garments your winter photo shoot models should wear. Sweaters, jackets, and boots are great for keeping warm and comfortable during shooting, while patterns like tartan can really pop in images. Additionally, faux fur, knitting, and velvet textures add to the winter vibe.
How Cold Is Too Cold for Photography?
Most modern cameras are cold-proof and can operate in temperatures as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or zero degrees Celsius). To be on the safe side, check that your camera has freeze-proof certifications, as well as specific weather-sealed elements.
No photo is worth hypothermia, so if it’s simply too cold for you to safely be outside, opt for one of our indoor winter photography ideas instead.
Capture the Season With These 10 Winter Photography Tips!
You can take stunning photos all year round, yet there’s something magical about those overcast winter skies and frost-covered foliage. By embracing our top 10 winter photo shoot ideas above, you’re sure to create your most beautiful photos yet!
Don’t forget to edit your winter photography to perfection using the wide range of tools and effects available in our Photo Editor!