It may be cold and dreary outside but winter can provide some excellent opportunities for photography ….in ways that summer can’t.
People often consider winter a bad time for photography. It can be grey, cold, dark, wet … I agree, that doesn’t sound very enticing but from a portrait photography point of view these weather conditions can open up all sorts of options. If you plan to head out and about with a camera over winter, here are some tips for capturing some lovely photos.
1. Time of day makes a BIG difference.
The general rule with portrait and landscape photography is to shoot in the “golden hours”. These are the couple of hours after sunrise and before sunset. The sun is low in the sky making the light soft, golden and flattering. Shadows are less harsh and the light has a magical quality.
With far less daylight hours in winter compared to summer, this is an ideal time of year for photographing young children. You can head outside in the late afternoon, maximise the beautiful lighting and be back home in time for dinner. In summer you might need to wait until at least 7:30pm and with young children who are tired and cranky, you might not end up with the photos you had hoped for!
2. Plan what to wear.
Without leaves on trees and potentially less sunny days, winter can be a bit lacking in colour. You can brighten up any winter portrait by adding a pop of colour to your outfits. Make sure colours complement each other and avoid big logos and too many large patterns on clothing. Adding to and changing layers of your outfits (jackets, hats, scarves, gloves) can provide variety in photos and can let individual personalities shine through. Another big consideration is to make sure everyone is warm and comfortable. If they’re not, it’s bound to be evident in your photos.
3. Bring along some props.
Giving a child something to hold or play with during a photo session can make them feel more relaxed leading to natural expressions and an unawareness of the camera. An umbrella to carry, a toy to hold, a blanket to rug up in can all add interest to photos while still embracing the wintery atmosphere. Bubbles are another great option (at any time of year) as they provide an immediate distraction and fascination.
4. Be prepared for puddles!
Children love jumping in puddles and this can provide some fun and natural moments to capture. Bring along some colourful gumboots and a rain coat and let the jumping begin!
5. Look after your camera.
It can be very easy to get carried away with photographing the moment and not realise how wet or snowed on your camera has become. Just after taking this photo I noticed how much snow was covering my camera, with blotches on the screen being a dead giveaway that things could be turning nasty. I dried it off and fortunately all was well.
It also pays to have a spare set of batteries and to keep them warm. Batteries will drain faster than usual in cold weather and you don’t want to be caught out with uncooperative batteries when you have pictures to take.
So rug up, grab your camera and make the most of winter. It will be over all too soon!