10 Tips for shooting photos of kids in the snow

Dec 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. ET

Take advantage of stunning snowy weather. We've got fun tips to help you take excellent photos of your kids in the snow.

Boy sledding

Don't be daunted by photography in the snow. We talked to Aimee Giese, a graphic designer, web developer and photographer from Denver who also writes the fun parenting blog Greeblemonkey. With these 10 tips and Aimee's help, you'll be on your way to taking print-worthy photos that help you remember all of your family's winter fun.


Practice with your camera settings by yourself

Snow tubing

Impatient, chilly children don’t care if your settings are right. Take a photo walk in the snow when you have plenty of time to practice. "On a DSLR, an easy way to 'warm' up snow photography is to change the White Balance setting to 'Flash'," says Aimee. "Although to be clear, do not use the actual flash that adds more light to your scene — just trick your camera to think you are using a flash and it will adjust accordingly." Once you get a hang of adjusting your settings you’ll be ready to capture every snowy moment with your kids.


Dress kids appropriately

Happy kids make for beautiful photos. Cold, wet kids aren’t happy kids. When shooting a portrait or candid in the snow, make sure your kids are dressed for snowy weather. No one wants to smile while trying to ignore a frozen bottom. Don't forget your own comfort, either. Aimee recommends fingerless gloves.


Be willing to get up early

We all know that the light is gorgeous at the end of the day, but when it comes to winter landscapes, the snow might not be gorgeous by the evening. Get a similar effect early in the morning when the snow is more likely to be pristine.


Don’t make it harder than it needs to be

If you’re still getting comfortable shooting on manual, don’t try to shoot portraits in difficult lighting conditions.

Aim for clear weather, but avoid harsh light and shadows. Midday sunlight can be challenging. "Snow reflects the sun, so you'll have additional sun-in-the-eyes and squinty kid faces for your photos," says Aimee. "Be prepared to move them (and yourself) around to not have the sun directly in their eyes."

Check out tips for hassle-free holiday photo shoots >>


Use a lens hood

Most amateur photographers can get by without a lens hood. However, if you’re planning on shooting in the snow, glare will be a problem unless you use a lens hood. The good news is, they’re relatively inexpensive.


Let kids be kids

Give your kids permission to goof off during your photo shoot. You’re shooting digital, so it’s not like you’re wasting film. Oftentimes the best image ends up being an unexpected candid shot. Play time gives you genuine laughter and smiles you can’t recreate in a pose.


Play with color

Kids playing in the snow

When you’re working with a lot of white, colors really pop. Throw your kids in vivid colors like bright blue, red or orange. Colorful winter hats and mittens add festivity to your winter photography.


Give kids props

When you’re shooting playful winter candids, give your kids props. Snow toys, chalkboard signs, silly hats and ribbons keep little hands busy and help you come up with cute and creative poses on the fly. "Think of snow like a prop, and use it!" says Aimee.

See 20 Baby photo fails that made us ROFL >>


Bring all of your gear

Once you’re out in the snow, you don’t want to trek back to the house or car for something you forgot. Stock a weather resistant camera bag or backpack with your favorite lenses and an extra battery pack. "I keep a clear plastic bag with me that I have cut a lens-hole out of for when it is actually snowing while I am shooting," says Aimee. Don't forget a clean microfiber towel just in case.


Have a game plan… or not

Approach a snow photo shoot with a general goal in mind. Are you looking for a group sibling photo? A creative landscape dotted with playing children? A holiday-themed photo for your Christmas card? Once you’re in the swing of things, embrace flexibility. Maybe your children will surprise you. Roll with it and keep clicking.

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