5 Tips for Taking Family Photos Outside in Cold Weather

Winter is my favorite time of year to photograph families in Seattle. I love the dark green trees, yellow (ie dead haha) grass, the cute brown boots and the matching red sweaters. The photos are so cool, crisp and cozy looking. I could go on all day about how beautiful Seattle family photography is during the winter. What you can't tell from the photos though are the obstacles that come with winter family photos. Here are my top three tips for preparing your family for a successful (i.e. fun, stress-free and happy) photo shoot with the Happy Film Company this season.

1) Hand Warmers: It gets nippy out there and little fingers get cold. Even my hands get cold and it's hard for me to push buttons on my camera. Have cute mittens for your kids and bring along some "Hot Hands" that we can shake up to save the day when the frost bites.

2) Blankets: Bring along a blanket or warm jacket that you can wrap up in. If you bring a cute blanket we can use it in the photos (you can wrap up cozy together). Even if we don't use it in the photos though, please bring a blankie so when we are walking around you can stay warm. This is especially useful when I'm focusing on photographing one kid - the other kids (or parents) can use the blanket. It's like an actor staying warm behind stage until you hear your cue to step in front of the camera.

3) Gingerbread Lattes: Love hot cocoa? How about Starbucks red cups? Nothing keeps your hands toasty warm like a yummy holiday beverage. Especially for us coffee-freaks in Seattle. Just like blankets, warm drinks (in cups or a thermos) can double as cute props and functional hand warmers. 

4) Location: Consider choosing a photo shoot location that is nearby a coffee shop, library, museum, book store, or other public heated building so we can run inside to warm up if necessary. This is tricky if we're taking pictures out in nature but even then sometimes just jumping in the car for a few minutes is a good option.

5) Tissues: Snotty runny noses. Need I say more?

In the winter, I make sure to work extra quickly and efficiently so if we have to end your shoot 20 minutes early because the kiddos' teeth are chattering we can. I get down to business right away, taking the most important photos first so I'm ready to end the photo shoot at any moment. I got your chilly backs! ;)

Thank you so much Ferreira family for being so playful during your winter shoot this season at the Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle. You guys are always so much fun to hang out with - so positive and joyful. I hope these beautiful family photos bring smiles to your faces this season! Lots of happiness, Chamonix.
Photographer: Chamonix
Location: Olympic Sculpture Park (Seattle)

Seattle Family Photography for Mother’s Day at Lake Hills Greenbelt Park

There is nothing quite so special as watching little kids sprout up from newborns into toddlers into young children. The last time I saw the Wilde family was at their West Seattle PEPS group photo shoot. Their son Nolan was just a wee baby with a giant smile on his face. I was blown away this past Mother’s Day when Nolan walked up to me looking handsome in his button up shirt and straw hat. It’s like magic! Plus, now he has a sweet little sister and their gorgeous family of four was just beaming with joy in front of my camera. This is the most magical part of being a Seattle family portrait photographer - I get to witness and capture growth. It’s incredible. For families that want to be photographed on a regular basis, we offer a special ‘Gold Membership’ at the Happy Film Company that includes 4 photo shoots in one year plus lots of little photography perks like rush delivery, free slideshows and an end-of-year video and photo book. Thank you Wilde family for choosing the Happy Film Company once again. We can’t wait to work with you again soon :) xx Chamonix & tHFC ladies

Photographer: Chamonix
Location: Lake Hills Greenbelt Park

Should I book my Seattle family photo shoot at Golden Hour?

What is Golden Hour?
You may have heard of the "golden hour" - it' a photography term that describes the time of day right after the sun rises and before it sets. In tropical places like Hawaii this light only lasts for 15-25 minutes, but in temperate regions like Seattle, golden hour can last up to an entire hour!

During golden hour, the light is traveling towards you through the earth's atmosphere at a certain angle that allows the red, orange and yellow light waves to travel further (so you see more of them and less of the greens, blues and purples). This makes the light in the sky appear more golden, hence the name, and it's absolutely beautiful in portraits! Having the angle of the sun closer to the horizon also creates more flattering back lighting (this means that the light hits you from behind your head rather than right on top of your head), making shadows less severe and bringing a dreamy, romantic glow effect to your photos. 

It's no wonder we photographers are obsessed with this gorgeous light!

However, while golden hour is an almost daily occurrence in places like California, it's a little more hit and miss up here in Seattle. We do our best to help families schedule their Seattle family photo shoots at these beautiful times of golden light but it can never be guaranteed. For your best chances of golden light during your photo shoot, check the weather forecast for a sunny day and reserve the first or last time slots on our availability calendar. 

Check out our last blog post: Why It's a Good Idea to Include Your Dog in Your Seattle Family Portraits