Ah, January. It can be such a beautiful month with crisp clear skies and a little frost in the air. It’s the perfect time for a photo shoot, no? If you have a portrait session planned when it’s cold outside, there are certain things you could should consider before stepping in front of the camera. In today’s blog post I present you with my top winter portrait tips to help you look good (even if your teeth are chattering).
Let me start by introducing you to Riva and Brett. They were married a couple of years ago, and unfortunately didn’t feel like they got as many bride and groom portraits as they would have liked during their wedding. (Note that I was not their wedding photographer.). They decided to schedule an after-wedding portrait session to capture both of them alone in a place that is near and dear to their hearts…Central Park. If you are familiar with my thoughts on Central Park, then you know that I don’t normally recommend taking photos here unless it is 7 AM on a Monday morning. Nevertheless, we persevered despite a park full of tourists and locals, and I think the photos came out great. You can make it seem like you have Central Park all to yourself even if there’s a guy walking a cat on a leash and a class of photography students to the left and right of you.
Winter is my least favorite season – as proved by the fact that I am writing this blog post from the sunny climes of Florida. I do everything I can to avoid the cold, but hopefully these winter portrait tips will make your shoot a pleasant experience.
Sunset is a firm deadline in winter. Remember that the sun sets early — and fast — starting in November, so you don’t have a lot of time after sunset. Also, keep in mind that the sun sets faster on the east side of New York City than the west side because of the tall buildings blocking out the sun.
Dress appropriately. I did another photo shoot in Central Park on one of the coldest days of the year. The family kept taking off their winter outerwear in order to look better (i.e., slimmer) for the photo. Bad idea. You can make any winter look work with cute coats, mittens, and hats. It is far wiser to wear a cute coat and be warm than look svelte and miserable without the coat. Trust me: if you are cold and miserable, it will show in the photo. Also, if everyone in the background of your photo, such as your fellow visitors to Central Park, are wrapped head to toe in coats and you alone are wearing just a vest, it looks strange.
‘tis the season to be covered head to toe in lint. Most people wear jackets with texture during winter (velvet and corduroy especially), and that means you will pick up a lot of fuzzy friends. Make sure you de-lint yourself or at least bring a lint roller with you to the shoot.
If it’s truly too cold and you’re uncomfortable, then it’s time to reschedule. You will be miserable, I will be miserable, and more importantly, my camera will not work that well (cold weather slows down the batteries). If you can’t reschedule, then try splitting up the shoot into an indoors-outdoors scenario. You could make some hot chocolate inside your apartment, then go outside for a stroll.
Know the limits of everyone who will be photographed. This especially applies to children being photographed in winter. If your child is very young and is not going to be able to tolerate the cold, then the shoot needs to be moved indoors or be rescheduled. You may want a winter scene in Central Park, but a crying baby never looks good in any season.
Static cling, you got me again. Hair in winter tends to get very staticky, so bring a dryer sheet with you or at least have the appropriate amount of hair gel applied.
Tissues are necessary. Have plenty of tissues at the ready for runny noses.
So as the temperature climbs to 70°, I will sign off on today’s blog. If you’d like to hear the weather report here in Florida, or schedule a portrait session, then give me a call.
If you would like to see more images from my portfolio, then please visit my website — www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com