“I live in Finland where there are really cold winters. Last year’s winter was exceptionally cold and without snow, and our lake froze quickly and had only a very thin layer of powder snow on top of the black ice.
Sunsets come here in winter around 3-4pm, which is an ideal time to take family portraits.”
Niki’s Photography Tip:
Since I am well-acclimated to working in the cold, I’m going to pass on my best tips for chilly weather sessions (though keep in mind these aren’t necessarily in order of importance):
1. Dress warmly. This doesn’t always mean that you have to have a winter jacket on either – adults or children (though it is a good idea to have one nearby in case someone gets super chilly). Layers of wool with more layers of functional winter underwear is really the ticket.
Gloves are a must, however, as are warm socks. It’s also helpful to have a thermo-bottle full of hot tea (and perhaps a splash of something sharper for adults).
2. No dry lips. Two words: lip balm! Don’t skip this, dry lips hurt and they will only get dryer. Treat your lips well before the shoot. Dry lips look bad, in real life and in pictures. Can I make it go away in Photoshop? Yes. Do I want spend my precious time like this? Not really. Lip balm!
3. Action. No matter how warmly dressed you are, if you are not moving, you will be freezing soon and there is really no reason to catch a pneumonia because of a photo. Have some fun action ready for your subjects. If you get cold, start running and jumping and doing crazy stuff. But as with everything, it only works if you put your heart in it, so have a ball!
4. No sitting on snow. If you must, supply something warm and fluffy (such as the winter jacket, currently not in use, or a fluffy blanket) or you risk a frozen bottom. You can always make it disappear in the photo with creative posing or clothing adjustments.
5. Planning. Scout your location, plan the time of day, plan the photos. If you can, plan it so you can take most of the images within a few minutes of a well heated home. Because the truth is, you will get cold.
Perhaps in half hour, most likely sooner, especially if it is windy. When your models start feeling cold, don’t push it – pack your gear and march home. Remember, locations are everywhere, you just have to start seeing them.
Good luck getting them awesome winter portraits!
Niki used a Nikon D4 with a Nikkor 2.8 70-200mm lens to capture these images.
Click here to see more tips on Location.
Family portraits are great, but if they only stay on a disc or USB drive it sort of defeats the purpose.
Make sure you’re giving your client a good assortment of physical products to choose from (and doing an in-person sales session to make sure they understand the value of physical products!).
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