Effortless Ideas for Stunning Winter Family Photos

Find creative color schemes and proven tips to keep everyone cozy and smiling.

Published February 8, 2023

What to Wear in Winter Family Photos


Figuring out what to wear in pictures is always a bit of a challenge, but when you add in the cold temps of winter, it can feel even trickier. No worries, though. Winter family photos are actually some of the easiest to dress for because the backgrounds tend to be super neutral. A few color schemes are proven winners, and you can use them as inspiration for choosing your outfits and backgrounds.

One great starting point is warm tones. Winter light tends to be cool colored (and often very bright), so warming things up with your clothing colors is always a good idea. Consider coats and accessories in shades of burgundy and orange mixed with lighter neutrals.

Cozy Woolens and a Pop of Color


Snowy forests make wonderful winter family photo backgrounds, and the perfect woodland outfits are snug sweaters and wooly accessories with a bright pop of color. To pull this look off, have everyone dress mostly in neutrals and choose a bold shade to highlight. Gold is a great choice.

Quick Tip

A simple formula for adding a pop of color is to have one person wear an article of clothing in that shade and then repeat the same hue in other people's accessories.

Mad for Plaid in Winter Family Pictures


Plaid is another winning option for your outfits. Dress some family members in solids and then mix in different plaids with one repeating color. For example, someone could wear a bold red buffalo plaid shirt, and someone else could wear a dress with a smaller plaid pattern that features the same shade of red.

Soft Pastels for Effortless Coordination


Pastel shades add a little color to an otherwise muted picture, and the really cool thing about these shades is that you don't need to look super matchy to make color scheme work. Winter light can be softly overcast, giving flattering, low-contrast lighting to your family photos. If your outfits are also low-contrast, such as a selection of pastel colors, the entire photo will feel put-together without looking like you tried too hard.

White-on-White Snow Photos


Another beautiful low-contrast option is wearing shades of white and ivory in front of a snowy background. Dress everyone in variations on this theme, bringing in different textures like knits and fur. Your photos will feel sophisticated and elegant without a lot of work on your part.

Quick Tip

Be sure you talk about a white-on-white color scheme with your photographer ahead of time. Depending on the lighting, this can be tricky for a photographer to make work (you don't want to totally blend in with the snow, after all). The photographer will need to make sure there is more light falling on you than there is on the background, and that may affect your choice of location.

Bright Matching Coats


If you have kids that are about the same age and the budget to support it, matching winter coats are an adorable choice for your family photos. Look for bright coats with fur hoods and dress everyone else in neutrals. This lets the coats (and the kids wearing them!) take center stage in the pictures.

Playful Mixed Colors


A playful choice is to bring a ton of color into your winter family photos, especially if you'll be shooting somewhere with a neutral background. Colorful coats, patterned sweaters, bright hats, and pretty scarves create a riot of whimsical hues that work super well with photos involving young kids. Mix in a few light-colored neutrals to keep it nice and bright.

Non-Matching Neutrals


You don't have to go crazy trying to get everyone to dress in the same colors, especially if you're going to have a large group in your photos. Instead, just ask the family members to wear neutral coats and sweaters; no need to pick a specific shade. Black, tan, brown, ivory, grey, and beige all look beautiful and put the focus on people's faces instead of what they're wearing.

Stunning Shades of Blue


One winter family picture color scheme that works every single time is a palette of mixed shades of blue. This looks gorgeous with any background, and it gives a super wintery vibe to your photos. Mix pale ice blue knits with navy and medium blue coats and woolen items to create layers of cozy and cool charm.

Fashionable Fur for Your Winter Family Pictures


Fur is a fun element to incorporate into your pictures because it works well in accessories, coat hoods, and even jackets. Give a few people in the photo something furry to wear, and the whole picture will look put-together even if you have different colors and styles of clothing. This is especially great for multi-generational family photos.

Woolen Maxi Skirt With Neutrals


It can be fun to bring in a wool maxi skirt and let that add some cozy feminine style to your pictures. You don't have to keep everyone else's clothing neutral, but if you do, the skirt will have more impact with nothing else to distract from it. This can be a very sophisticated look that's actually pretty easy to make work.

Simple Outfits for Indoor Photos


Outdoor winter family photos offer lots of amazing background options, but sometimes, the weather might force you to shoot indoors. If it does, look for a spot with great light, such as next to a patio door or big window. You may not be able to get a totally clutter-free background, so plan to keep your outfits cozy and simple to compensate for that. Sweaters in neutral tones are perfect, and so are simple tops.

Proven Tips for Successful Winter Family Portraits


Winter really is a great time to have your family pictures taken, but there are some things to keep in mind in order to make your photo session successful:

  • Stay warm. Cold people are not happy people, so wear something warm enough. Plan to take breaks to warm up in the car too.
  • Shoot in the afternoon. Winter days are usually warmest in the afternoon, and that's also when you'll get some of the best light. If it's a sunny day, go for about an hour before the sun will go down.
  • Get active. You can definitely get some pictures with everyone posed together and smiling, but also plan to get some active shots. Especially if you have little ones, changing things up and adding a fun activity like sledding or a snowball fight can give your photos extra charm.

It's All About the Emotion


What you wear for your winter family photos does matter, but it's not the most important thing. Emotion is what really makes your pictures stand out and become the family heirlooms they should be. Get silly and show your love for one another, no matter how chilly the temps might be.

Effortless Ideas for Stunning Winter Family Photos