International Travel, Travel Photography

15 Creative Christmas Photoshoot Ideas for Stunning Winter Photography

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Last Updated on March 30, 2021 by epapp

The holiday season is the perfect time to get creative with your winter photography, starting with a Christmas photoshoot!

Whether you’re sitting fireside or walking in a winter wonderland, there are infinite ways to capture the season’s magic.

Here are 15 whimsical wintry photo ideas to spark your imagination – and your Instagram feed!

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15 Wintry & Christmas Photoshoot Ideas to Spark Joy this Season

1. Write a Letter to Santa

Cold weather days are the perfect opportunity to flex those indoor photography muscles.

In addition to staying toasty, you’ll already have plenty of compelling backdrop options by utilizing your existing holiday décor.

So once your “stockings are hung by the chimney with care,” why not write a letter to Santa?

In addition, you can spice up this Christmas photoshoot by incorporating a plate of cookies for Jolly Old St. Nick.

PRO TIP: I recommend printing a script font on cardstock paper for your letter, as this will save you the hassle of writing it.

Alternatively, if you happen to have beautiful penmanship and/or are adept with a calligraphy pen, feel free to get creative!

2. Cozy Up for a Christmas Movie Night

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is that it’s an excuse to binge watch all of the Christmas movies!

So what better way to cozy up for a Christmas photoshoot than with your favorite festive flick?

Setting up a Christmas movie shot is not only fun to do, but it’s super engaging for your audience!

Simply freeze frame a scene from your favorite flick (or work those Photoshop skills) to showcase your movie of choice on the big screen.

Next, fluff some pillows and get to shooting!

PHOTO TIP: Incorporate extra pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and festive props to make your living space look more inviting.

3. Style a Festive (Human) Flat Lay

I’ve always admired the perspective of flat lays, especially when they include a human element.

So I decided to create my very own at-home festive human flat lay!

Flat lays are ideal when your environment isn’t especially engaging, as you can bring it to life by shooting from above.

They’re also perfect for those stay-at-home days, like when it’s especially cold out.

However, a flay lay is definitely a prop-heavy concept, so you’ll want to plan out your theme in advance.

In addition, these shots can be time-consuming, so be sure to allot enough time for the setup.

As a point of reference, the shot above took about an hour to arrange, not including the time it took to shoot!

PHOTO TIP: You’ll probably want to enlist help for this shot, as using a tripod can definitely be tricky with this angle. I suggest asking a roommate/friend/partner to help you shoot, if possible.

4. Wrap Colorful Presents

The holiday season simply wouldn’t be complete without gift giving.

Fortunately, incorporating presents into your shots is a great way to convey the joy of the season.

Here are some fun & easy posing ideas for your present-focused photos:

  • Wrap the presents
  • Hold a stack of gift boxes with a bow on top
  • Toss the boxes

PRO TIP: Wrap your prop presents in advance so you’re not scrambling to do this right before the shoot. Opt for boxes with a square or rectangular shape so they’re easier to wrap. Then, tape any gift stacks together so they’re easier to handle while shooting.

5. Frame the Festivities with a Candy Cane Heart

Christmas photoshoot or otherwise, everyone can appreciate a good candy cane.

Plus, these tasty candies are actually a wonderfully compelling way to frame your shots!

My frame of choice is the candy cane heart. Just have your photographer turn two candy canes inward toward each other in front of the lens to form a heart!

Alternatively, you as the subject can also hold the candy canes and frame yourself.

This simple idea is super effective for making an otherwise ordinary scene much more eye-catching.

PHOTO TIP: A longer lens (50mm or above) is best for capturing a more complete scene behind the candy canes. Ideally, avoid a wide angle lens, as this will distort the candy canes and make it tougher to showcase your subject.

However, while 50mm(+) is the preferable focal length, the longer the lens, the more difficult it will be for your photographer to hold the candy canes. Lenses above 50mm will require a stand to hold the candy canes in place.

6. Strike a Pose with Some Nutcrackers

Nutcrackers are so charming and festive, especially the oversized ones.

Plus, they’re often found in pairs, which is perfect for creating a symmetrical shot.

Just center yourself in between these cuties and start snapping away!

7. Capture Nature at a Christmas Tree Farm

My family always purchased a real Christmas tree throughout my childhood.

So naturally, one of my greatest joys during the holiday season is to select an authentic pine beauty from a tree farm!

These farms make the perfect natural setting for your wintertime photos, particularly with a festive pickup truck in tow!

PRO TIP: Research tree farms ahead of time and review their policies before you go. For instance, some tree farms require you to cut down a tree yourself, while others will take care of this for you.

Also check to see if the website has a photo gallery so you can get a good lay of the land for your composition.

8. Shop for Holiday Goodies at a Christmas Boutique

Many shops and boutiques dress up their window displays in accordance with the holiday season.

Fortunately, a festive window display makes a beautiful backdrop for your Christmas photoshoot.

I personally found some lovely storefronts in Newport (A Christmas to Remember) as well as in New York City (Lillie’s Victorian in Union Square).

Here are a few fun posing ideas for a storefront shot:

  • Hold a shopping bag with your holiday purchases
  • Gaze at the shop window and admire the merchandise
  • Twirl in the street in front of the window (Be mindful of cars!)
  • Toss an item in the air to add some playfulness

9. Celebrate with a Cup of Cheer

What’s the holiday season without a good ol’ cup of cheer?

Not only do festive mugs make for charming photos, but you can also fill them with your favorite holiday beverage!

Here are some of my favorite “cups of cheer” to enjoy post-shoot:

  • Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps
  • Gingerbread latte
  • Spiked egg nog
  • Wassail
  • Mulled cider
  • Mulled wine

PRO TIP: If you’re looking to capture a mug of cocoa, I highly recommend substituting shaving cream for whipped cream.

While you obviously can’t drink this concoction, the shaving cream will hold up much better in both hot and cold conditions. Whipped cream, on the other hand, is notorious for melting quickly and creating a sticky mess!

Plus, a more efficient photo session means you’ll get to drink the real stuff more quickly!

10. Channel Your Inner Christmas Angel

One of the best ways to dress up your festive photos is simply by dressing up yourself!

For instance, a Christmas angel costume can make for some fun and creative shots.

PHOTO TIP: I recommend looking for a dreamy backdrop so your angel really pops. I inadvertently came across these heavenly gates in Newport and thought they were perfectly fitting!

11. Dress as Your Favorite Reindeer

Who doesn’t love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

Rudolph is a super simple costume idea; all you really need is some antlers and the iconic red nose.

I used a Christmas ball ornament for the nose, but you could also color your nose with red lipstick!

12. Channel Holidays of the Past with a Vintage-Inspired Look

I’ve always loved a vintage aesthetic, so I figured Christmas was the perfect excuse to try this look on for size.

Here are some fun accessories to consider when creating your vintage look:

  • Long white or black gloves
  • Pillbox hat
  • Faux fur shawl
  • Pearl necklace
  • Clutch purse

In addition, for some vintage prop inspiration, be sure to check out my ultimate guide of photoshoot props for bloggers. There are some super cute retro finds in there!

13. Play in the Snow

A powdery day means it’s time to whip out the camera!

A fresh snowfall makes a beautiful backdrop for any winter-themed photo.

You can also create a completely different vibe depending on how you style the shot.

Here are some snow day photo ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Build a snowman
  • Make a snow angel
  • Go sledding
  • Make a heart-shaped snowball
  • Dance in the snow
  • Collect snow in your hands and blow it

PHOTO TIP: Since snow is bright white, you may want to shoot with a lower exposure so your shots aren’t overexposed.

14. Whip Up a Tasty Snow Day Treat

 Why not take advantage of a snow day by enjoying a cold-weather treat?

Just grab a festive mug, load it up with marshmallows and cinnamon sticks, and find a pretty spot to use as your backdrop.

Just make sure to wear warm gloves or mittens to avoid bright red fingers!

15. Spark Some Magic with a Christmas Tree

Of course, no Christmas photoshoot would be complete without the highlight of the season: the tree!

A Christmas tree will literally make your winter photography sparkle and shine.

Whether you’re shooting your tree at home or heading outdoors, you can’t go wrong with this classic shot.

PRO TIP: A pretty dress and a hair ribbon add the perfect touch. You can’t go wrong with satin or velvet!

Here are some fun posing ideas for an indoor Christmas tree shot:

  • Hang some ornaments
  • Climb a ladder and put on the tree topper
  • Admire the tree branches
  • Hold a present underneath the tree
  • Enjoy some Christmas cookies by the tree

Alternatively, for an outdoor shot, I recommend having your photographer capture you from behind as you admire the tree.

PHOTO TIP: I suggest using a wide angle lens (between 20mm – 35mm) for your outdoor tree shots. This will help ensure the entire tree and the topper fit in frame.

I hope this guide has inspired you to create some wintry magic of your own!

Even if you don’t have the luxury of a winter wonderland setting, incorporating some festive props can really work wonders.

Speaking of, be sure to check out my ultimate props guide for the perfect pieces to complement your frosty photography.

Here’s to a joyous season and to capturing those special moments to cherish for a lifetime!

Are you planning to take wintry photos or do a Christmas photoshoot of your own? What are some of your favorite ideas? Let me know in the comments below!

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