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The Complete Guide to Winter Photoshoots in British Columbia (15+ inspiring photos!)

All images by Pursell Photography. 
All images by Pursell Photography. 

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Table of Contents

The seasons have changed and it’s officially the best time for winter photoshoots in British Columbia.

British Columbia is full of magical places, so why not take advantage of those special moments? Here is our complete guide for the best winter photos:

*All photos by Pursell Photography

Decide what you are going to do for your winter photoshoot in British Columbia

The Lower Mainland of British Columbia has a variety of climates. It can be snow-free at sea level and a winter wonderland in the mountains. That is one thing that makes winter one of the best times of the year in British Columbia to have your photos taken for an elopement, wedding, engagement, or portraits. Some photoshoot locations we suggest might even give you both green rainforest and snowy mountain tops all during one photoshoot.

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Mountains for snowy portrait photos

There is something extremely special about shooting on a snowy mountain top. If you are a fan of mountains, snow or cold weather, this is the time to have fun with the weather. In the mountains, you will find plenty of amazing photography locations.

There are many different ways you can take pictures in the mountains.

Winter Photoshoots in British Columbia

Our favourite is by helicopter as this will give you the mountain top completely to yourself. It is the most time-effective and easiest way to get amazing photos in the mountains. The helicopter also makes a great prop. It is worth noting that if the weather is looking bad the helicopter is unable to take off so it’s always great to have a backup plan. See our full tips on helicopter elopement packages.

snowboard-wedding-photos Whistler BCAll of the ski resorts have great access to snowy locations. Some of the ski hills in Vancouver require a permit to take photos. Some Locations just require admission. Some have great locations right off the parking lot.

Taking an off-road vehicle or snowmobile is also a great way to go on an adventure into the mountains for adventurous couples.

Villages outside the Lower Mainland such as Manning Park and Whistler often have snow right down to the bottom. This is a great way to access snowy scenes close to the highway.

Top easy places for mountain top photoshoots:

There are many amazing mountains to explore in the Lower Mainland. Below are the easiest access mountains for photos.

Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver)

The Grouse Mountain Gondola is a cable car that takes you from the base of the mountain to a chalet that’s about halfway up the mountain. From there, you can explore tourist attractions and a little ice rink. The lack of a hike makes this an ideal choice for those who want to enjoy outdoor winter activities without too much physical exertion. See more grouse mountain photos. (https://www.grousemountain.com/)

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Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola (Squamish)

The Sea to Sky Gondola is a sightseeing attraction, mountain and ocean view photography location, and wedding venue. The Sea to Sky Gondola offers panoramic views of the North Shore Mountains, Howe Sound and Howe Sound Bay. More photoshoots from Sea to Sky Gondola. (https://www.seatoskygondola.com/)

Sasquatch Mountain (Fraser Valley)

Sasquatch Mountain is a small mountain with a quaint village sitting at the top of it. The village offers scenic views of the Fraser Valley and is perfect for those looking to capture the beauty of nature with smaller crowds.

ski wedding photos

Cypress Mountain (West Vancouver)

Walking down the cross-country ski trail offers beautiful forest views and cute little cabins. Taking the ski lift to the top of the mountain offers great views of the Howe Sound. (https://cypressmountain.com/)

harrison lake snow portraits

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Mount Seymour (North Vancouver)

Seymour offers great views from the parking lot. It is recommended to get permission at this location before booking your photoshoot. (https://mtseymour.ca/)

Manning Park

Manning Park is a beautiful wintery resort that is an easy day trip from the Lower Mainland. The resort has several trails for hikers of all levels, in addition to an ice skating rink, snowshoeing and skiing and is a great place for winter Photoshoots. (https://www.manningpark.com/)

Lower elevation photo spots

One of the absolute best things about winter is most of the busy parks and beaches are completely dead during the winter months! This could be the number one reason you might want to have your photos during winter. We have even photographed full photo sessions without seeing one person around! This can be an amazing opportunity to capture those intimate moments you want to have in your photos without having onlookers and gives you more room to move around.

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Rent an indoor location for your winter photoshoot

If you want to ensure you stay warm, renting an indoor location could be the perfect solution for your elopement, wedding and portraits. Renting an awesome cabin in the mountains with a great view could be a great option. We can always sneak outside and grab photos if you are up for it! We created a full blog post for indoor locations.

Great places to rent cabins for winter elopements and photoshoots:

Rustic Wedding in Vancouver

Do a winter activity for your photoshoot

If you’re looking for a unique idea for your photoshoot, there are a lot of winter activities that are perfect for photos. From snowmobiling to skiing, ice skating, hiking, snowshoeing, or tobogganing, there are so many options for getting in some fun winter activities. We are super excited to try any activity you are interested in.

Ski proposal photography

Be Flexible with Your Date

Booking close to the date of your photoshoot gives you a chance to watch the weather forecast.

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What are the Best Clothing Choices for a Winter Shoot?

What to wear for winter photoshoots in British Columbia? There are a few important things to consider when choosing clothing for a winter photoshoot. The first is that your clothes should reflect your style. This doesn’t mean that you have to go all out with the latest fashion trends, just that it should reflect who you are as an individual.

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Dress in Layers

While on a photoshoot on a cold winter day, it is very important to make sure that you have enough layers on. Our recommendations: dress for cold weather in layers, choose clothes that go with your coat, wear thick socks, and wear leggings to cover your undergarments. If you have to wear pants, make sure they’re long enough to cover your boots. If you are wearing a wedding dress make sure you have kind of jacket.
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Bring umbrellas just in case

Winter in the Lower Mainland is unpredictable. It is always a great idea to have an umbrella to stay dry if it starts raining during your photos. Check out our blog post about rainy photos.

Winter clothing tips

1- a long-sleeved shirt that matches your coat

2- a sweater that matches your coat

3- your winter coat

4- leggings

5- jeans that fit over the leggings

6- one pair of thick socks and one pair of regular socks

7- Good shoes for walking

8- Hand/foot warmers

Select warm, comfortable, cute outfits

It looks great in photos to add a pop of colour to your winter accessories. A colourful beanie/toque, scarf and mittens add visual interest, while also keeping you toasty. If you can’t imagine a photoshoot in anything other than a dress or skirt, we recommend pairing it with warm leggings, wool socks and booties. 

whistler wedding snow

Props for your winter photoshoot

A blanket will keep you warm, plus it can be used as a prop to create a cool pose.

A coloured scarf can be a great accessory. If you don’t have a scarf with a pop of colour, just try to find a coloured sweater to use.

Your winter coat is the most important accessory you can wear. Your winter coat can be made from any type of material, and it can be either a winter jacket or a coat. If you are choosing a location that might have rain consider a Gortex jacket (we know almost everyone has one in the Pacific Northwest :-))

ski engagement photos

Start early for the best light

It gets dark early in winter, and the sun goes down pretty darn fast. Also, the sun just isn’t as bright as it is in the warmer months.

To make sure you’re getting the best lighting for your photoshoot, we bring our own lighting equipment to every outdoor shoot.

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How do we photograph winter photoshoots?

Photographing snow is one of our favorite things to do, especially when it’s snowing outside. Snow photography is so much more than just taking pictures of the snow. It’s about capturing all those little details that make winter so magical. We love using off-camera lighting to really make the snow and ice “pop.”

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We love helping you choose unique photo locations that will bring your winter memories to life, and we’re always happy to surprise you with some ideas that we think will be perfect for your photos.

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Printing your images as wall art and albums is the perfect way to preserve your memories. We have a variety of products that can take your photo, turn it into an amazing work of art, and then print it on our various products. This ensures that your investment in our products will last for years to come – you’ll be able to enjoy them every day!

Winter photoshoot inspiration

It’s time to start planning for your winter photoshoot!

Winter is a great time of year to get some gorgeous photos for elopements, weddings and portraits.  The snow, the holiday season, snowcapped mountains and the cozy fireside make for some amazing backdrops. But don’t wait too long! Winter will be over before you know it. Check out more winter photoshoots or if you are ready to book get in touch for your winter photos now.

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