14 Dec


A Candid Family Snow Session

Snowy scenes offer a unique and playful setting for a candid family snow session, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. So, I’m sharing some tips for both photographers and families to make the most out of these winter photo sessions.





For the Families: Preparing for Your Family Snow Session

1. Dress for Success… and Warmth!

Layer Up: Utah winters are no joke. Dress in layers to stay warm. Think thermal undergarments, cozy sweaters, and waterproof outerwear. Remember, you can always remove layers if you get too warm.

Accessorize Wisely: Colorful scarves, cute hats, and mittens not only add a pop of color to your photos but also keep you warm. Coordinated but not matching outfits work great for a cohesive look.

Footwear Matters: Ensure everyone has waterproof boots to keep feet dry and warm. Cold, wet feet can quickly turn smiles into frowns.

2. Snack and Hydrate

Bring Hot Drinks: A thermos of hot cocoa can be a lifesaver during a winter shoot. It keeps everyone warm and can be a great prop for cute, candid shots.

Snacks are Essential: Especially with little ones, having snacks on hand can prevent hangry meltdowns. Choose snacks that aren’t too messy and easy to eat on the go.

3. Plan for Short Bursts

Keep Sessions Short: Kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) can only handle the cold for so long. Plan for shorter sessions with breaks to warm up in between.

Play and Interaction: The best photos come from natural interactions. Have a snowball fight, make snow angels, or just let the kids play. Authentic smiles and laughter make for the best memories.


For the Photographers: Capturing the Magic of Snowy Family Sessions

1. Mastering the Winter Light

Golden Hour is Key: The soft, warm light just after sunrise or before sunset can create a magical winter wonderland effect. Plan your sessions around these times for the best lighting.

Overcast is Your Friend: Don’t shy away from cloudy days. The diffused light from an overcast sky can minimize harsh shadows and bright spots, perfect for capturing the subtle details of a snowy landscape.

2. Gear and Settings for Snow

Protect Your Equipment: Use weather-sealed gear if possible. Keep extra batteries warm in your pockets – they drain faster in the cold.

Exposure Compensation: Snow can trick your camera’s metering system, leading to underexposed images. Adjust your exposure compensation to avoid grey, dull snow.

Focus on Contrast: Autofocus can struggle against the uniform white of snow. Look for areas of contrast for sharper focus.

3. The Art of Candid Shots

Anticipate Moments: Watch for interactions and expressions. Candid shots are all about capturing the essence of the family’s relationships and individual personalities.

Shoot Continuously: Use continuous shooting mode to capture sequences of action, like a snowball fight or the building of a snowman.

Bonus Family Snow Session Tips

1. Turn It Into a Snowy Adventure

Scout Unique Locations: Utah offers a diverse array of winter landscapes. From pine forests to open fields, find a spot that provides a beautiful backdrop and room for play.

Incorporate Winter Activities: Sledding, ice skating, or a walk through a snowy path can add movement and excitement to your photos.

2. Embrace the Unexpected

Be Flexible: Winter weather is unpredictable. Embrace the spontaneity of a sudden snowfall or a change in light. Sometimes the best shots are unplanned.

Capture the Full Range of Emotions: Laughter, silly faces, and even the occasional pouty expression can add character and authenticity to your photo session.


A family snow session is more than just a photoshoot; it’s a memorable experience for the entire family. For families, remember that preparation is key – keep warm, have fun, and let your family’s unique personality shine. For my fellow photographers, embrace the challenges and beauty of winter photography. Pay attention to the technical aspects, but don’t forget to capture the candid, fleeting moments that families will treasure for years to come.


The Merrill’s Candid Family Snow Session




Looking for a family snow session during this Utah winter? Let’s chat! Click the image below to get in touch, and browse my posts on IG for more winter galleries!