Hygge [hue-gah]

(n) an atmosphere of warmth, wellbeing and cosiness. Feeling at peace and able to enjoy simple pleasures and being in the moment.

Currently this image is up there as one of my all time favourite Mother and Daughter images. The colours, the lighting, but above all the feeling of being cosy and togetherness. An everyday moment, captured at the end of a family photoshoot it completely embraces the concept of Hygge.

It’s very unlikely you won’t have heard of this Danish concept  (pronounced hue-gah). Described by the little book of hygge as ‘an atmosphere and an experience rather than about things. It’s about being with people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, shielded from the world allowing us to let our guard down.’

Sounds inviting doesn’t it? Read on to find out how you can evoke more hygge in your life through the art of photography this Winter….

Hygge blog image of boy in woods with cosy jumper
Hygge image of fun family moment being shared between siblings and their dog
Chair stacked with folded blankets and quilt perfect for styling a hygge photoshoot
wall display of hygge image of Mother and Daughter wrapped in a blanket

CONNECT WITH NATURE Enjoy the atmosphere and feeling of well-being and contentment that arises from enjoying the great outdoors. Set your photoshoot against a beautiful background of your choice, a favourite family walk or a place of special significance to you and capture heartwarming family moments to treasure. And why not make the most of the togetherness a family photoshoot brings by extending it with a bracing walk followed by a hearty pub lunch next to a cosy fire.

COSY CLOTHING Think soft cosy layers, the cosier the better. Snuggly jumpers paired with skinny jeans and boots or a head-to-toe knitted dress with warm woollen tights are ideal. Add hats and scarves into the mix and the hygge look is complete. My top tip is to include additional layers underneath so that you can ditch the heavy jackets for the shoot without feeling the chill.

COLOURS In Winter natural backdrops tend to become muted and lend themselves beautifully to creating a sense of calm. Add a clothing palette of blush with creams and beige, earthy browns or greyish neutrals and don’t be afraid to inject a bold splash of colour such as a rich burgundy, mustard yellow or dark shades of navy and black.

LAYER THE COSY FACTOR Add a blanket or quilt to curl up on and to wrap around. It’ll add warmth as well as texture and colour to your images. I admit I have a growing obsession for blankets and quilts so have quite a selection I can bring along!

ENJOY A HOT DRINK Winter photoshoots will often end with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and why not? Hygge along with my favourite decadent alternative the ‘Salted Nutella Latte’ recipe – it’s impossible not to feel happy with a mugful of this.

GATHER THE FAMILY and relive the moment. Create an inviting and relaxed atmosphere by lighting the fire and candles (yep no health and safety here!). Then carve out sometime to spend quality family time together snuggled up on the sofa flicking through the pages of an heirloom album or prints of your photography session and enjoy sharing memories of your session with each other.

FUEL THE SENSE OF BELONGING Refresh your interiors and create a sense of belonging and togetherness with a wall display of family photographs. A collection of Hygge inspired images will add a feeling of cosiness and happiness with their tones and relaxed vibe. It’s also the perfect indoor Winter activity if you’re not in the mood to brace yourself for the cold!

Oh the irony! Just ten minutes into writing this post we lost all our power. Cue the kids misery as Fortnite came to an abrupt end. As for my husband, he was eating his words as I lit my multitude of tea lights which, apparently I have far too many of, but turned out to be quite useful. In what turned out to be quite a short spell of time my family had gathered. Without the distraction of technology and in the soft candlelight we made hot chocolate on the hob and reminisced about the power cuts of the 70’s. Plans of an early night and snuggling under the duvets with a good book were dashed when as suddenly as it had gone, the power flickered on. The drone of the appliances mustering themselves back into action and the melodic mobile phone alerts drawing us in to the chitter chatter of the outside world announcing our interlude of hygge was over.

Moira is a Southsea photographer who works throughout Hampshire and the UK.  She specialises in children and families and is a member of the British Association of Professional Child Photographers.

For more details visit her website or facebook pages.