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Locations and Props to Shoot in Winter

When the winter kicks in, it can be easy to just head inside the studio and stay there. However, there are some fantastic opportunities for location shoots still available! What’s more, when everyone else is inside, you will get those unique shots that your clients love. So long as you make sure that everyone wraps up warm, a snowy scene can be a perfect way to create photoshoot magic. These are the locations and props that you just have to shoot in winter!



The woods – if it snows in your area, finding some beautiful woods are a great way to take advantage of the beautiful snowfall. Find somewhere secluded where others don’t go to get a blanket of unmarked snow. The darker lines of the trees in the background will provide a great contrast for the shot.

Image is courtesy of Shannon Squires Photography

Edited using the Arctic Dreamscapes winter digital background collection


An ice skating rink or lake: double points if you get permission to go in while it’s closed, giving you and your clients a private session. Your clients will love skating around together, and you can create some truly unique photos.

Image is courtesy of Shannon Squires Photography

Edited using the Moonstruck moon overlay & Photoshop action collection


A snowball fight: alright, so strictly speaking this isn’t a location, but it’s something you can create. Get your couple into a snowball fight, or have the kids playing against one another. You’ll get a natural healthy glow into their cheeks, lots of genuine smiles and laughs, and plenty of candid moments.

Christmas tree farm: this is a classic location to choose for holiday cards, clients eat this location up mainly because it features the main event of Christmas day.. the Christmas tree!


Image is courtesy of Stephanie Ratto Photography

Edited using the Winter Lights Bokeh Overlay and Photoshop Action Collection


The wedding venue: if they are having a summer wedding but want to shoot engagement photos in winter, then a shoot at their wedding location could be perfect. It’s best if the location is somewhere snowy, as the look will change really dramatically. This will tie their engagement and wedding photos together in such a sweet way.

A balcony or bridge: when the snow has fallen, you can create a really dramatic effect by finding a balcony or bridge where your clients can stand with the snow in the background. The snow will create a subtle effect, especially when your depth of field is right, and your clients will stand out against it.

Image is courtesy of Shannon Squires Photography

Edited using the December Lights bokeh overlay & Photoshop action collection and the Luminosity Lights overlay and Photoshop action collection


A wood cabin: this can give the perfect wintry vibe, especially if you have your clients wrapped up warm on the porch or sitting by the fire. If you are struggling to find one you can use, try a service like AirBnB to hire one as cheaply as possible in your area. You can also fake it with a wooden backdrop made by hand, with cheap materials picked up from craft stores.

Their home: your clients probably have a wonderful home, and it certainly gives you a lot of information about their personalities and lives. Shooting somewhere personal to your clients has the added advantage of keeping you out of the cold weather.

Downtown: taking a stroll downtown during the holiday months can guarantee a array of gorgeous backdrops. This includes capturing gorgeous bokeh using the holiday lights to your advantage.


Image is courtesy of Allie Borba Photography

Edited using the Winter Lights bokeh overlay & Photoshop action collection



A patchwork quilt: especially if your clients happen to have one that is handed down in their family, a big quilt can make for a great photo. Have your subjects cuddled up together under the quilt to share their warmth to really capture the wintry theme!

Mugs of hot cocoa: warm up your clients and share a sweet moment with mugs of hot drinks. Get yourself a matching pair with hearts on or the word ‘love’, for example, and your engagement or couples shoots will have an instant touch of romance.

Pine cones and stockings: it’s always a great idea to get some Christmas props in the shot, as it allows your clients to work with something that looks perfect on Christmas cards. You don’t have to go over the top – a simple string of pine cones hung as a garland in the background could work for both a seasonal shot and a perennial portrait.

Wooden crates: crates are a very versatile prop that can be used literally every season, and can be especially useful for in the winter to help keep your clients off the cold and wet snow!

Image is courtesy of Shannon Squires Photography

Edited using the Arctic Dreamscapes winter digital background collection


Warm knits: knitted hats, jumpers, and scarves always look so cosy! Ask your clients to dress up or supply a wardrobe of your own. This will serve the double purpose of looking great and also keeping them warm.

Fake snow: no snow in your area of the world, or still a bit too early? Fake it! You can buy fake snow as well as snow machines, and create a winter wonderland in your studio. You can also take the fake snow outdoors. The other alternative, of course, is to fake it in Photoshop with the Summerana WinterizeMe Photoshop action and brush collection or the Winter Play – snow overlay and Photoshop action collection!

Image is courtesy of Daniel Venter

Edited using the Winter Play snow overlay and Photoshop action collection


String and ornaments: when shooting outdoors, bring along some brightly colored ornaments – preferably red or green – and hang them from branches of trees to create a magical effect. Your clients can stand or sit underneath them to have their very own Christmas scene.

String Lights: string lights are a great way to add a little extra magic to your image. They can be hung in the background to create jaw dropping bokeh in your images.

Image is courtesy of Shannon Squires Photography

Edited using the December Lights bokeh overlay & Photoshop action collection


Hanging lanterns: as the days draw in and get darker, why not illuminate your scene? Just like with the ornaments, hang some beautiful lanterns around your scene. This gives a great contrast to the image too, with extra light from the lanterns to illuminate your subjects. Be sure to set your white balance correctly before you start, and think about finding battery or solar-powered lanterns rather than candle or oil lanterns.

Reindeer: this one might be a bit of a stretch, but your clients will love it! You can find out if there are going to be any reindeer in your neck of the woods during the winter, perhaps for a Santa’s Grotto or a display. You might be able to book a day spent with these beautiful animals, which are often tame enough to make great photoshoot companions. Just be sure of any health and safety concerns, and ask a trainer to be on set with you.

Image is courtesy of Stephanie Ratto Photography

Edited using Summerana’s reindeer overlay and Photoshop action collection


Don’t be afraid to shoot in the snow. Since the early days of film, photographers have known that snowfall can create some of the most beautiful natural lighting! What are your favorite winter props and locations?

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