Winter came early in Chicago!! And while snow lovers are in heaven (including yours truly), snow, ice, and cold temps definitely make photography more challenging! In my opinion, the hardest part of wintertime portrait photography is capturing relaxed, authentic, genuine images when it’s freezing cold! While shooting indoors is always a great option, outdoor natural light is just as lovely as lovely can be, no way around it, and unless it’s dangerously cold, you’re going to be grateful that you ran outside for a few gorgeous portraits on your wedding day! Here are a few tips for cold-weather portraits that you might want to tuck away for a snowy day 🙂
1 — Work Fast!
This tip really applies to any extreme weather (rain, intense heat or cold, etc.): if an indoor or sheltered area is nearby, I’ll work out exactly where I want my bride and groom or bridal party to go, before they step foot outside! Then, I’ll coach everyone on exactly what to do, while we’re still indoors. Finally, we’ll run outside, grab the shots as quickly as we can, and run back in!
2 — Bring Your Layers!
If an indoor location isn’t close by or if we’ll be doing a lot of walking to get to a preferred location, many couples incorporate coats or shawls into their bridal party wardrobe. Soft, fur-lined gloves can be a beautiful gift from a bride to her bridesmaids. Brides, if it’s a bit of a messy-weather day with snow or slush in the forecast, ask your bridesmaids to bring a pair of boots to wear under their long dresses during outdoor portraits!
3 — Buy Hand Warmers!
HotHands hand warmers are the BEST on chilly days! I bring them to family shoots and have the dads give them to the kids to play with in between shots (they’re easily hidden in tiny palms!). Brides and bridesmaids can hold them under their bouquets, and groomsmen can tuck them in their pockets. It’s amazing what a little bit of heat can do to help warm you up!
4 — Drink Up!
Incorporate hot chocolate, coffee, or tea into your shoot! For family or engagement sessions, plan an outdoor hot chocolate party, complete with cozy blankets, marshmallows, and warm mugs!
5 — Pretend You’re Outside!
Chicago has an abundance of gorgeous indoor conservatories that make it look and feel like you’re in a tropical paradise, in spite of the cold! These greenhouses let in an abundance of natural light that’s perfect for portraits! Garfield Park Conservatory, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Oak Park Conservatory, Wilder Park Conservatory, and the Chicago Botanic Garden greenhouses are all beautiful indoor, natural-light options during the cold-weather months.
6 — Embrace It!
The beauty of photography is that it captures your life exactly as it is, one single moment at a time. If your wedding day is snowy and freezing cold, we’ll find as many ways as possible to keep you warm while still documenting the beauty of your day, in all of it’s wintery-wonderland-ness! Winter photos are pure magic: clean, crisp, and gorgeous, sparkling with twinkle lights, reflecting light off the snow! Embrace your winter portraits — they’re going to be incredible!