• Caitlin Anderson

What To Wear: Winter Edition

Winter sessions are some of my absolute favorite, both to photograph and to actually participate in. One of my fondest memories as a child growing up was the year my mom decided she wanted family pictures of us in the snow. At the time we lived in Washington (state, not city for you local people) and the amount of snow that we had gotten that year was rare, so besides needing new family pictures, we also had a unique opportunity for a background. Mom had everything all planned out, and although we knew it would be cold, we also knew that Dad wouldn't let us do anything else until she was content with the pictures she had gotten.

So on the outfits went and we trampled out into the snow, down the driveway to Mom's chosen location. She set up her camera on a tripod across the driveway and set up the timer on it. After posing us kids, she'd push the shutter then run over to pose next to us. The red light would flash - BLINK. BLINK. BLINK. CLICK! Then she'd go back over and review the picture.

Now it was pretty out, but like us kids had figured, it was also freezing cold and our outfits weren't exactly the warmest. Some of my siblings weren't exactly in the best of moods, and the youngest didn't quite know what was going on. Needless to say, all things combined, Mom wasn't getting the look she wanted. Instead of "Yay, we're in the snow!" smiles, she was getting, "I'm freezing cold. Why am I out here?" grimaces.

Luckily our story has a happy ending. After the fourth or fifth try, she pushed the shutter and we all smiled at the camera. Just as the picture was about to take, BOOM! A whole bunch of snow dropped on us from the tree branch above! Somehow we all managed to keep our shocked smiles facing the camera, and just like that, one memorable family photograph.

Anyways. You didn't come here to read a photography story, you came here to read about OUTFITS!

What To Wear For A Winter Session

First, there are a couple of general clothing guidelines you should follow regardless of the season.

  • DON'T wear logos or other "loud" clothing items. These are incredibly hard to edit around and will end up being distracting in your photos.

  • DON'T dress too casually. Think business casual or church best!

  • DON'T forgo planning. Scrambling last minute to find Jimmy's shirt is never fun.

  • DO flatter your shape. Baggy shirts tend to make one look bigger; try a more fitted shirt or sweater!

  • DO keep it relaxed & natural. If you wear something you're uncomfortable in, it will show in your pictures. Keep your makeup more natural looking, and try to frame your features with your hair.

  • DO coordinate with everybody else. Choose a color palette and a vibe you're going for, and make sure you see everyone's outfits together before the day of the session. It may take a little more work, but the results will be well worth it!

  • DO be yourself! These are guidelines, so treat them as much! If you want to be a little more bold & edgy, go for it! Wear whatever you & your family will be most comfortable in.

Choosing A Color Palette

For a winter session, your only source of natural color will either be the white snow, the brown trees/grass, or the occasional green evergreen. This is a great time to use pops of color in the clothing! You could go with the traditional Christmas bright reds & greens, either red or green by itself, or choose a unique color such as blue or orange to add some zing to your portraits. Neutrals also work well in every season!

Do keep in mind where you intend to use these photos. If you intend to print and put them on the wall, be careful not to clash with your interior decor! Or if you want to use them for Christmas cards, you can find a design for most any color scheme nowadays, but the red & green is always classic.

Here are some ideas for color palettes:

Clothing For Mom

Choose an outfit that makes you feel as beautiful and eye catching as you truly are! Here are some tips to help create your look:

1. Structured shirts are very flattering. Button-downs, peplums, or heavier fabrics that aren't too clingy will make you look polished.

2. Dark jeans are slimming!

3. Statement necklaces add sparkle without being intrusive.

4. Boots are a great sturdy winter choice for hiking around outside.

5. An outer layer, such as a vest, cardigan, or blazer, will complete your catalog-worthy look!

Clothing For Kids

Pull from your look to help coordinate your kids clothes. Keep an eye out especially for textures & patterns that you can carry over. Don't forget to lay out everything next to each other to make sure it matches!

Child #1 - Boy

1. If you or dad are wearing jeans on the bottom, try switching it up by having someone where a jean shirt on top.

2. Make sure the younger your child is, the more layers they have to combat whatever weather is thrown your way. Layer a sweater on top of the denim for warmth!

3. Accessorize with a brightly colored tie & shoes to bring some contrast.

4. Solid chino pants will keep him comfy.

Child #2 - Girl

1. Try a skirt in a darker color, with some tights underneath for color & warmth.

2. Match your accessories with her necklace and shoes.

3. A button down shirt or neutral sweater always looks cute!

4. For your younger girls, adding a headband frames their face and adds some eye-catching sparkle.

Child #3 - Baby

Warmth is most important when it comes to babies. If it's going to be super chilly, try to find a matching bunting bag or fleece zippered coverall. If you can't find that, again think layers. Start with a onesie and a pair of leggings or tights, then jeans or thick pants and a sweater over that. Finish with a hat & socks in a matching color, and keep a good thick blanket nearby for warming up between shots.

Clothing For Dad

Guys are the easiest! Pull two or three colors from your palette, and keep it simple.

1. Try a neutral button down or flannel on top (if he can stand it, rolling up the sleeves makes for a more casual look).

2. Dark jeans always look classy on a guy, or to mix it up a bit, try khakis or other dress pants.

3. Finish off with some leather boots or shoes, and add a watch for some manly sparkle.

4. Bonus: for added pops of color, try a hat or scarf.

Hope this gives you some ideas for your next family session! Check out my Pinterest board for more color palette & outfit inspiration.

See you later!


#Christmas #family #session #outfits #clothes #snow #winter #kids #mom #dad #baby

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St. Louis, MO   |  caitlinaphotographystl@gmail.com  |  (636) 290 - 9465


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