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What to Wear for a Winter Photoshoot

If you can get past the cold, winter photoshoots can be absolutely beautiful! Elements like snow, sun and frost are incredible backdrop and add interesting visual elements to any portrait session. Before booking a winter session, many clients have questions about what they should wear for their session. To help answer these questions, I’ve created a Pinterest board full of outfit examples and have outlined a few tips below on staying warm during your winter photo session.

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Tip #1: Stay Warm With Full Winter Gear

Staying warm and being comfortable to crucial to getting the best photos during your session. When I plan a winter photo session outdoors, I do two things to keep my clients as warm as possible. First off, I always make sure there is a place nearby to warm up between shots. Second, on every winter shoot we ask you to bring your winter gear.

When I say winter gear, I mean your warmest jacket parka, mittens, boots and hat. Having your winter gear is crucial to the success of our shoot. It means you can stay toasty warm while we are picking a spot to shoot and in between shots when we have a few minutes of downtime.


Believe it or not, wearing warm winter gear can look beautiful for photos. If you chose to go this route, I recommend wearing a solid or neutral coloured coat (without any labels or logos) and accessorizing with colourful mittens, hats and scarfs.

Tip #2: Wear Layers

When a viewer looks at photos taken outside in the winter, you don’t want the first thought that pops into their mind to be that the subject looks cold. Adding layers to an outfit helps make a subject look toasty warm and comfortable (even when they are not). When taking photos outside in the cold, I always recommend dressing in layers. Layers can include sweaters, cardigans, lighter jackets, mittens, scarves, leggings, tights, hats etc.


While wearing layers creates the illusion of being warm and comfortable, Calgary winters still require that you have full winter gear close by for warming up between shots and walking to and from the shoot location.

Tip #3: Neutral Base

Tip number three is something I suggest to clients during all seasons at any time of the year. To create a timeless look for your photos, I always recommend a neutral colour scheme and no logos or graphic t-shirts. Starting from a neutral base ensures your photos won’t look dated within a couple years. It also allows the viewer to focus on you- the subject of the photograph.


Tip #5: Accessorize

I love accessorizing. Accessorizing an outfit for a photoshoot is where the fun comes in! This is an excellent opportunity for clients to bring in their own personality with fashion forward elements like chunky jewelry or bright shoes. In the wintertime, accessories can also include mittens, scarves and hats. I usually recommend selecting winter accessories in natural looking fabrics like wools or other knits and avoiding more sporty looking accessories.


During the winter, it can be fun to also incorporate props that will keep you warm. When shooting outside in the winter, props like warm wool blankets, skates and hot lattes in to-go cups look great and help keep you warmFB__001-69PIN

Tip #4: Stuff you Feel Comfortable in

Before getting dressed for a photoshoot, ask yourself two questions. First off, do these clothes make me feel comfortable? Secondly, do these clothes make me feel confident and good about myself? Being able to confidently answer these questions with a YES will help create me create the best possible photos.

Please note that feeling comfortable in your own skin doesn’t mean throwing on a pair of sweat pants. For some people (like me), it usually means wearing a nice dress and looking fashion forward. For other people, it could mean wearing a nice pair of jeans and a comfy sweater.FB__001-74PIN

Tip #7 If you Have Questions, Ask me!

Before any photoshoot I ask my clients to think carefully about their wardrobe for the day. I am always happy to give feedback. People will often send me photos snapped with their phones of the clothing they are thinking about wearing. I am also happy to accommodate outfit changes if a client is interested in getting a couple different looks out of our photoshoot.

As your photographer, I want to help prep you for your session so we can get the best results possible. A successful photoshoot is about so much more than me, my camera and the light. You need to feel comfortable in your own skin. You need to envision the look you want for your photos and pick your clothing accordingly. The choices you make will have a big impact on your photographs.

If you need some visual inspiration, check out my Pinterest board on dressing for winter photo shoots. Thanks for reading!