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What should I wear to a family photo shoot in the winter?

Planning outfits for a family photo shoot in the winter can seem daunting. Between coordinating colors, styles, and keeping everyone warm, it can be hard to know where to start. The good news is that with some strategic planning and layering, you can pull together memorable looks that both look great and keep your family comfortable in the cold weather.

Think About Color and Style Cohesion

When dressing a family for photos, you’ll want to strike the right balance between having coordinated, cohesive styles while still allowing individual personalities and styles to shine through. Here are some tips for nailing family color coordination for photos:

  • Pick 1-2 main colors that will be the basis for your color palette. Neutrals like black, gray, white, navy or earth tones like olive green, camel, and brown make great base options.
  • Add some festive pops of color with accents like scarves, socks, jewelry etc. Red, winter berry tones, and metallics like gold and silver are fun for the holidays.
  • If you’ll be outside with a natural backdrop, make sure your color palette complements and doesn’t compete with the setting. For example, avoid bright neons if you’ll be in front of evergreen trees.
  • Keep patterns and prints minimal, and make sure they complement each other. A buffalo check flannel shirt can pair nicely with a fair isle knit sweater for example.

In terms of style, aim for a cohesive look while allowing each family member’s personality to shine through. Having everyone in jeans and sweaters is a fail-safe option. Or go for a more polished look by coordinating dressier pieces like button downs, slacks, and blazers. Just make sure everyone feels comfortable and like themselves!

Layering is Key for Warmth

When it comes to dressing for winter photo shoots, layering is critical for keeping warm and looking stylish. Follow these layering guidelines:

  • Start with thermal under layers on both top and bottom to retain body heat.
  • Add sweaters, cardigans, vests as mid-layers for extra insulation.
  • Choose outer layers like coats, jackets, scarves that are stylish but also provide protection from the elements.
  • Bring extras like blankets, hand warmers, and booties to stay warm in between shooting.
  • Have a strategy for shedding layers when going indoors to avoid overheating.

Some great winter layers to incorporate for family photo shoots include:

  • Long sleeve thermal undershirts
  • Turtlenecks or mock neck sweater tops
  • Vests, cardigans, zip/button sweaters
  • Puffer coats, peacoats, wool coats
  • Scarves, mittens, earmuffs, beanies
  • Fleece lined tights or leggings
  • Boots, boot socks/liners

Photo Shoot Outfit Ideas for Family Members

When assembling winter outfits for a family shoot, aim for cohesion in style and color but also tailor looks to each individual. Here are some ideas for flattering winter looks for common family member pairings:

Mom Outfits

  • Turtleneck sweater dress with thigh high boots and faux fur coat
  • Jeans, snow boots, and an oversized wool sweater with blanket scarf
  • Crisp white button down with vest, jeans, and sweater coat
  • Faux suede leggings with tall riding boots and chunky knit pullover

Dad Outfits

  • Dark wash jeans with sweater, peacoat, and beanie
  • Corduroy pants with plaid flannel shirt and puffer vest
  • Wool trousers with turtleneck, blazer, and overcoat
  • Dark straight leg jeans with fisherman’s sweater and knit beanie

Teen/Tween Girl Outfits

  • Oversized cable knit sweater dress with black tights and ankle boots
  • High waisted jeans, sweater, and faux fur lined denim jacket
  • Skater skirt with sweater tights, tall boots, and chunky knit pullover
  • Leggings with over the knee boots, thermal tee, and fuzzy cardigan

Teen/Tween Boy Outfits

  • Khaki joggers, sneakers, hoodie, and parka
  • Corduroy pants with sweater, vest, and beanie
  • Dark jeans, thermal henley, puffer coat, and boots
  • Olive chinos, sweater, denim jacket, and booties

Kids Outfits

  • Ruffle neck sweater dress with leggings and Uggs
  • Corduroy jeans, thermal tee, puffer vest, and beanie
  • Sweater tights, velvet dress, and bolero jacket
  • Jeans, button down, sweater vest, mini parka, and mittens

Baby Outfits

  • Footed pajamas or thermal bodysuit, hat, and blanket
  • Turtleneck dress with leggings, sweater booties, and headband
  • Jeans, puffer vest, beanie, and mini Uggs
  • Ruffle neck sweater bodysuit with pants, knit socks, and coat

Accessories to Complete the Looks

Accessories are the finishing touch to any winter family photo shoot ensemble. They allow you to add personality while tying looks together. Smart accessory pairings to consider include:

  • Coordinating beanies, gloves, scarves
  • Statement necklaces, earrings, cuff bracelets
  • Leather bags, structured purses, wristlets
  • Leather boots, booties, shearling lined shoes
  • Knit socks in complementary colors
  • Sunglasses for bright days

When accessorizing, just remember to keep the focus on the faces! Avoid anything too bulky or distracting. Choose classic pieces that enhance your look without competing for attention.

Top Stores for Winter Family Photo Shoot Outfits

Not sure where to find stylish cold-weather looks for your family shoot? Here are some top retailers to check out:

Store What to Buy
H&M Sweaters, thermal layers, coats, accessories
Zara Coats, knits, boots, accessories
Nordstrom Designer sweaters, coats, boots
Gap Denim, sweaters, puffer coats, scarves
Old Navy Cozy knits, thermals, accessories
H&M Kids Sweaters, dresses, outerwear

How to Care for Winter Photo Shoot Looks

Getting stains or damage on new outfits right before a shoot can lead to emergency trips to the mall. Avoid any clothing mishaps by properly caring for your winter photo shoot apparel:

  • Follow all garment care labels – dry clean only items early if needed
  • Wash items beforehand to allow time for air drying
  • Steam or iron clothes to remove wrinkles and look polished
  • Check for loose buttons, missing sequins, or needed repairs
  • Keep whites white by avoiding stains from makeup, food etc
  • Store clothes in garment bags to prevent dust and pet hair cling
  • Pack accessories like shoes and scarves carefully to avoid crushing

Taking a little extra care will ensure your whole family steps in front of the camera looking flawless!

What to Wear for Common Winter Photo Shoot Locations

Your outfits for a winter family photo shoot should complement the backdrop and setting. Here are some outfit ideas tailored to common winter photo locations:

Rustic Cabin Shoot

  • Plaid flannel shirts, chunky knits, jeans
  • Faux fur coats, knit beanies, leather boots
  • Corduroy pants, cable knit sweaters, riding boots

Snowy Landscape Shoot

  • Dark colored base layers with pops of bright color
  • Heavy duty parkas, snow pants, waterproof boots
  • Faux fur hats, thick gloves, blanket scarves

Urban Rooftop Shoot

  • Wool coats, sophisticated styling
  • Leather gloves, structured purses, menswear details
  • Minimal patterns, sleek silhouettes, cool tones

Home/Indoor Shoot

  • Cozier textures like cable knits, fuzzy socks
  • Fewer layers since indoors & warmer
  • Play with festive colors and prints

No matter your backdrop, just make sure to check the forecast and dress for the weather! The last thing you want is a wardrobe malfunction due to rain, snow or cold.

Stay Warm and Stylish Between Takes

Even with excellent layering and winter-ready ensembles, extended time outdoors in the cold for a photo shoot can get uncomfortable. Come prepared to stay cozy between shots with:

  • Hand warmers and foot warmers
  • Emergency blankets for added insulation
  • Lip balm and lotion to prevent chapped skin
  • Thermos with hot cocoa, coffee, or tea
  • Battery powered socks or gloves for portable warmth
  • Heated seats/blankets if shooting near vehicles

Having back-up options for keeping warm means you’ll stay comfortable and looking your best throughout the entire shoot – even if it takes a few hours to get all the perfect shots!


Planning coordinated looks for a family photo shoot while keeping everyone warm requires strategy. Start by picking cohesive colors and styles that complement your backdrop. Layer properly for warmth and allow individual personalities to shine through. Shop early at retailers carrying stylish winter fashion essentials for the whole family. Take care of your looks and pack emergency warmth items. If you follow these tips, your crew will look fabulous and be able to focus on smiling instead of shivering!