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Last Saturday morning when I woke up for an engagement session in Baltimore I checked my phone for the weather. It said 30 degrees. I waited for it to refresh. Surely it wasn’t 30 degrees. It probably was 30 overnight but it was warmer now, right? Nope. 30 degrees. I guess I was in denial or something before this moment, but guys, it’s officially fall and officially cold!!

winter photo shoot - bean boots

We’re at that point in the year where the temperature is one of the major factors when planning a photoshoot. If you’re like me and don’t want to spend the next few months avoiding the outdoors and only shooting inside, we must get creative. There are so many great reasons to photograph portraits outside in the winter (snow!!) that it would be a shame to miss them. So I’m sharing all the things I do to prepare for and bring to a photoshoot to survive the cold.

So here’s a “What’s in my bag winter edition.”

Let’s start with the shoes. I wear Bean boots to almost every shoot I possibly can. They’re a bit of an investment but I’m in love with them. They are completely waterproof, and extremely warm which is exactly what I need for cold weather. I bought them with the “gore-tex” lining which is their warmest type, for those wondering.

(C) Joy Michelle Photography 2014

Then I layer, layer, layer! Along with my winter coat, I pop on a scarf, and a hat (or ear warmers). I wish I could wear gloves but I feel like I can’t move or shift dials on my camera quickly in them, so I usually go completely without or use the fingerless kind (which only half counts!)…but what I DO use are hand warmers. I leave them in my coat pockets and anytime I’m not actively taking photos I have my hands in my pockets. Let me tell you- this works!! The pockets of my coat get all warm and toasty when I use these. It makes a huge difference when you are standing in the cold to have warm hands and feet.

I use hand warmers from landsend and L.L.Bean as well as sporting good stores.

(C) Joy Michelle Photography 2014

As for your clients staying warm and battling the cold red nose –

Encourage them to dress warm and use laters as well!

Have them bring blankets so they don’t ever sit directly on the cold ground and they can wrap up between poses and locations.

Even if they’re taking their coats off for pictures, let them leave it on until the last minute and in between locations/lens changes etc.

Bring along some hand warmers for them too.

Bring coffee or hot tea in a thermos or to-go cups. Having something warm to drink is the BEST when you’re trying to stay warm.

As you plan out the shoot, keep in mind that using nearby shelters like cars, shops, or restaurants, whenever you can makes the cold more bearable. Keep the shoot short but efficient. Know your path and locations before you start so you don’t spend any unnecessary time deciding these things.

(C) Joy Michelle Photography 2014

I hope these tips help you to keep shooting beautiful work even in the cold or encourage you to have some awesome portraits taken in the winter months.

See you next week!

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