Winter landscapes make for inspiring and whimsical portrait backgrounds. Uncover the secrets of shooting portraits in snow with these twelve effective tips from Offset contributors.
Shooting portraits in snow can be an opportunity to capture gorgeous photographs that seem plucked out of a fairytale. White reflects light, which is why snow can be considered almost a natural reflector for photographers. This ability to reflect light off its surface means that snow can be fantastic to work with, if used correctly.
We asked a collection of fantastic Offset artists, whose snowy portraits inspire our team and our customers on the daily, to share their tips on capturing portraits in the snow. If you’re located in snow-covered areas around the world, this is a great opportunity to hone your skills and upload snow portraits for Offset or Shutterstock.
Here are some tips from pro artists on Offset on capturing beautiful portraits in the snow.
Lisa Curesky and Christina Dittmar | The Good Brigade
Based in: New York, USA
“A snow day can be such a great opportunity to create portraits that are fun and whimsical. Or quiet and beautiful, just like the snowfall itself.”
Tip #1: Invest in a good pair of gloves
Our favorite pair has rubber tips, so I can still easily use the buttons on the camera (and my phone). However, some have the flip-back thumb and forefingers that also work great
Tip #2: Use your zoom lenses instead of prime
As much as I love using prime lenses, if I am shooting outside, I’ll opt to use my 24-70 zoom so I can avoid changing my lenses. This minimizes the risk of any condensation from setting in and damaging my equipment.
Tip #3: Bring extra batteries
Make sure you bring extra batteries if you’re shooting in snow or cold weather. When batteries are cold they lose their charge much quicker.
Tip #4: Have models wear bright colors
Creatively, I like to play with the color palette of wardrobes in the snow. Sometimes it’s just one bright pop of color on a model to play against the white winter backdrop. Other times, it might be styling that’s more in touch with nature and has a good impact, with colors such as dark browns, greens, grays, and navy blues.
Christina Biasi adds, “Snow lacks color so pictures get more interesting by adding color. Yellow and orange work particularly well since these are complementary to blue which is the color found mostly in the snow.”
Based in: London, United Kingdom
Tip #5: Use snow to soften shadows
Snow is great because it bounces daylight onto your subjects face, which softens shadows. Photographers should use this to their advantage. It especially looks good in cloudy conditions. But, if you are shooting in bright sunlight, you might be getting too much bounce. You can fix this by overexposing the background to create an unusual hazy aesthetic. Just make sure your subject is exposed!
Tip #6: Warm your clothes before a shoot
Things always take longer than planned when you are on a shoot, and you may be standing around a lot when shooting portraits in the snow. I was shooting portraits at a Bulgarian folk festival for eight hours in -15 degrees Celsius. I had all my ski gear on, and felt great, but was only wearing my hiking boots and one pair of socks. Soon, I realized that fashionable hiking boots were not as warm as I thought!
Tip #7: Plan your gear accordingly
Plan your gear so that you won’t need to constantly be opening bags, or taking off bulky equipment or clothes. Put any spare batteries and other bits that you need access to into more convenient side pockets or jacket pockets.
Tip #8: Invest in a good camera harness
Taking portraits while skiing is a complete pain, with all the ski gear restricting your movements. That’s why I use a Blackrapid camera harness so the camera hangs down by my hip, almost like a shoulder bag. I can safely ski with the camera in the harness, and quickly pull it up for a shot all while knowing it’s safe and out of the way.
Christina Biasi | Petra Silie
Based in: Kuopio, Finland
Tip #9: Include the environment
There’s nothing more picturesque than a winter landscape. That’s why you should always incorporate the environment. I love the simplicity of environmental portraits in the winter.
Based in: Wisconsin, United States
“I love shooting in the winter months. The light is at a lower, more beautiful and flattering angle for the majority of the day which means you aren’t as restricted to ‘the golden hours.’”
Tip #10: How to see snowflakes
If you want to see snowflakes falling, you need to place your subject in front of a darker object. For example, evergreen trees work really well. That, combined with a long lens, will really give your snowflakes dimension.
Tip #11: Use manual focus
If you are shooting during a snowfall or blizzard, use manual focus because most autofocus systems will have a difficult time focusing on a subject when snow is falling in front of them.
Tip #12: Protect your gear
You have to protect your gear when shooting in the snow! Plastic bags or scarves wrapped around your camera in between shots will keep them from getting too wet.
We hope these tips help you with your next winter portrait photo shoot. We can’t wait to see the content you create next at Offset and Shutterstock.
Top image by The Good Brigade.
Looking for more inspiration for your next shoot? Check out these articles:
Professional Tips for Magical Winter Landscape Photos
Top Tips for Capturing Beautiful Travel Photographs That Sell
January Fresh: New Content We Love
Journey to the Most Inaccessible, Coldest Places on Earth
19 Unexpected Things Photographers Keep in their Camera Bags
The post Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.
Read more: shutterstock.com