Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow

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.

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Reflective Snow

Offset Image by Petra Silie

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.” 

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Playing in the Snow

Offset Image by The Good Brigade

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.

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Carry Extra Batteries

Offset Image by The Good Brigade

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.”

Kit Oates

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!

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Pack Warm Clothing
Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Prepare for the Cold

Offset Images by Kit Oates

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.

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Plan Your Gear Carefully

Offset Images by Kit Oates

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.

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Think About the Environment
Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Incorporate Your Surroundings

Offset Images by Petra Silie

Liz Sallee Bauer

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.’”

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Long-Lasting Light

Offset Image by Liz Sallee Bauer

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.

Offset Artists Share 12 Tips on Shooting Portraits in Snow — Manual Focus

Offset Image by Liz Sallee Bauer

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.

Not a contributor yet? Click here to apply to Offset and here to join 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

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