Our top winter family photo ideas

Capture stunning family portraits with ease this winter

Winter is filled with photographic opportunity. With shorter days and cooler weather, the winter months allow us to get creative when it comes to our family photos. Nature puts on a show with beautiful snowy landscapes, and you have the perfect excuse to put the kids in adorable beanies and mittens. These fun photo ideas will be perfect when the time comes to make your winter family photo book. Discover our top tips to capturing beautiful winter family photos. 

Young child in beanie catching snow

1. Dress for the weather

As we mentioned, now is the time to pull out the adorable beanies and the cute winter gear. Scarves and mittens, big puffy jackets, not only does it look cute but the more comfortable all of you are, the more time you’ll be willing to spend outside getting those great shots. We recommend wearing plain colors with little or no graphics/text as really showy, distinct items can distract from the subject of the photo. One of the exceptions to this rule is if you're creating something like a Christmas card, then you can dress for the weather and the occasion and go all out with matching outfits. Distract away!

Boy and girl building a snowman

2. Plan a rough shot list

Map out a rough idea of what kind of photos you want. There’s nothing worse then wrapping up the day only to remember that something was missed. Go to Pinterest or our blog to look for family photo inspiration. The MILK Gallery is filled with family Photo Books made by members of our community. Flip through a few and let them help you decide what photos you should be taking beyond the main ones; family altogether, individual portraits, children in play etc. and make sure the "photographer" gets in a few pics too. Too often one parent is the sole photo taker and then is inevitably missing from the family photo book. Make sure they step out from behind the camera and join in the merriment.

Children and dog playing in snow

3. Make the most of the outdoors

Snowmen and Christmas lights are the perfect at-home backyard backdrop for family portraits. Turn it into an activity and make a day of it. Build snowmen, make snow angels, go sledding, even have a snowball fight. The joy of a winter’s day will bring the family to life and of course that will make for great pictures. While you could just as easily line the kids up for a quick series of portrait, there’s nothing quite like getting amongst the outdoors together. It makes for more authentic reactions and also keeps the kids entertained for longer. Another great idea is to bring pets into the picture. Bring the beloved dog or cat to play too.

Two kids on screen devices indoors

4. Or cozy up inside

If you can't brave the cold, the home is filled with creature comforts and more than enough backdrops for family portraits. Like with the previous tip, we recommend taking photos while in activity as this produces the most natural photos. This could be putting up Christmas decorations together or baking a delicious wintry treat in the kitchen. Even taking a few snaps as you snuggle in front of the fireplace and watch a holiday movie would make welcome additions to the family photo collection. Wear matching tartan pajamas in true Christmas fashion or your comfortable winter onesies. And don't forget to get a snap of those over-top hot chocolates.

Young girl in snow

 5. Try these helpful photography tricks

Capture scene details.

This adds depth to your story telling and helps provide context. If you’re capturing the kids in play, spare a few shots for the snowman, the sled or the snowy backyard. Add context with pictures of the treats you baked together or the movie you watched. Essentially, don't just capture the family, capture the scene around them too.

Take backlit photos in golden hour.

Backlit photos look great in print and the late sun offers a soft light that isn’t too harsh. While this technique does take some time to get right, the resulting photos are beautiful. Best achieved at golden hour, you’ll want to make sure the sun is behind your subject but in front of the camera. This has a soft effect that adds extra depth to your photos.

Add lens flare to your photos.

Capture flare by snapping photos when sun shines through the lens. The effect forms a haze or a starburst. Shoot directly facing the sun and place your subject in front of the sun, to diminish the harshness but create a hint of flare in the corners. Try to get only a very small bit of flare right at the top or side of the lens, and you will still get some good details, rather than a completely hazy image, devoid of any definition or detail.

Take your family photos up a notch this season with these great winter family photo ideas. Once you have a good selection of pictures, the next step is to create your winter family photo book. Don't let your pics sit on your camera roll or SD cards until next winter. Give them new life in the MILK Photo Book or Album they deserve. Or if you have a few favorites from your winter collection, your beautiful family photos will turn into wonderful gifts for the holiday season; beautiful archival Canvas Prints for the grandparents or evenly lovely picture frames for your living room.

Discover these winter family books

Explore our family Photo Books & Albums


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