Warmth is often associated with gorgeous beaches, palm trees, and the sea; freezing weather is the epitome of winter and indoor coziness. Thus, it’s natural to presume that these two elements never go hand in hand. However, snow casts a spell on the outside world, providing us with flawless and picturesque landscapes. Challenging as the winter months might be, this winter spell is as perfect for nature as it is for photographers. Using nature and your subject’s enthusiasm will allow you to naturally add warmth to your snowy portraits. Here are tips on how to achieve such warmth (and how to stay toasty in the process).
Preparing for a shoot in the winter can be a fun and cozy experience for you and the people you’re working with. Make sure you have comfortable and photogenic clothes which won’t let your subject freeze. The drinks and snacks you prepare could serve as pleasant photo additions, so remember to include them in your shots. Fun props like sparklers could also add both warm colors and a cheerful feel to your images. Take photos of everyone in your team, even if they’re assistants (or pets!). A happy team which feels accepted will warm any type of coldness, and this will inevitably add a heartwarming touch to your photographs. Make sure to take advantage of bright colors and happy smiles to create a stark contrast between your subject and their snowy surroundings.
A spontaneous behind-the-scenes snap of your subject sipping a cup of warm tea might find its way into your portfolio; a group shot of your friends staying warm and having a fun time could do the same. When it comes to inner warmth and great chemistry between you and your subjects, the time of year doesn’t matter. Remember to interact with your team, enjoy your snacks, and keep your hands and feet comfortable!
When you scout for locations, make sure there’s a place within walking distance which could serve as a warm temporary refuge for you and your subject. If you’re in a deserted area, acquire a tent to stay toasty in during breaks. (If a tent isn’t an affordable option, grab a few blankets!) This will ensure that you remain toasty no matter how cruel the weather gets. Photographing your subject next to a tent, or in a café, with a stunningly snowy background will create the coziest photo atmosphere. Again, make the most of the spontaneity; if you plan to relax in a tent for a while, photograph each other in it. A tent + snow = perfect atmosphere + perfect photos.
If possible, shoot during a time when the sun is present. If you live in a place which rarely sees the light of day in the winter then use artificial light (even a torch would be enough) to create the illusion of sunshine. Either method will create interesting photo opportunities that’ll open and challenge your creative mind. The combination of (artificial) sunshine and snow will give your photos a welcoming atmosphere, a feeling of acceptance during the coldest of times.
Regardless of the season, nature infinitely inspires those who pay attention to it. It’s particularly attractive in the winter due to its graceful way of holding snow. Nature, when adorned with snow, is a force to be reckoned with. Not only do branches heavy with snow and perfectly white trees serve as fantastic backgrounds, but they make ideal subjects, too. Ask your subject to enjoy their surroundings and discuss what they like most. Photographing them next to the things they find most appealing will result in breathtaking images. Even visiting a park with your subject and asking them to interact with their surroundings will lead to great photo opportunities the results of which you’ll love.
Embracing spontaneity, making sure everyone is comfortable, and staying warm are the most important parts of a successful outdoor shoot in the winter. Be open to new ideas, make the most of the weather, and know that achieving warmth is possible no matter how cold it gets.