Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! In celebration of the holiday, I am revisiting a very practical subject: how to look warm in front of the camera when it’s cold outside. I had the pleasure of photographing Ambioris and his family at Brooklyn Bridge Park. This family knows how to put on a fashionable front, despite a temperature high that day of only 35 degrees. So if cold weather is in the forecast for your photo shoot, then enjoy today’s collection of cold weather portrait tips.
Meet Ambioris and His Family
Let me set the (wintry) scene for you: Ambioris’s daughter was going to be celebrating her birthday on New Year’s Eve. As such, Ambioris wanted to give her the gift of a fantastic photo shoot so that she could share the photos at her birthday party. All was well and good for our mid-December session when – of course – it snowed. Never deterred, we rescheduled for the day after Christmas, and here are the fantastic results from their Brooklyn Bridge Park family portrait session.
Throughout the shoot, Ambioris and his family never complained once about the cold. While I was covered up in a huge puffy coat behind the camera, Ambioris’s daughter was rocking it wearing two gorgeous strapless gowns. So how do you look this good when you can see your breath in the air? Read on, my friends.
Six Cold Weather Portrait Tips
Be flexible. First and foremost, wild winter weather in New York City means the forecast can change even more quickly than usual. Case in point, Ambioris and the snowstorm. For the months of the year where snow (or rain) are highly likely, I always try to prepare clients ahead of time for the expectation that we may need to reschedule. Unfortunately, bad weather is one of the hazards of living in the northeast and I always like to have a back up plan ready when scheduling shoots. Indeed, I commonly book shoots for Saturday and then ask clients if they have the flexibility to move to Sunday should bad weather arise. The trick is to maintain a positive outlook along with an open calendar.
Go undercover with hidden layers. If my camera could talk, it would tell you that hidden underneath Ambioris’s daughter’s beautiful gown was a warm pair of sweatpants. If the camera can’t see your long underwear, then no one needs to be the wiser. Personally, I’m a huge fan of fleece-lined black tights as a way of adding extra warmth without extra bulk.
Wear a dressy wrap as part of your outfit. Most of my clients ditch their warm coats the minute the camera clicks. But if you are smart and plan your outer wrap as part of your outfit, then you never need to say goodbye your coat. A shrug or smart scarf can keep you cozy and well accessorized at the same time.
Plan for windy weather. Winter in New York City usually means that the wind goes up a few notches, which of course is not good news for your hair. Plan for the wind to be out in force, especially if you have scheduled a photo session along the NYC waterfront. Ambioris’s daughter looked beautiful with her updo, and with a sufficient amount of hair spray she kept looking lovely for the entire session.
Pair down your shot list. ‘It won’t be that bad,’ you say to yourself. Yeah, right. While adrenaline may keep you warm for the first half of any photo shoot, by the end you will want to come in out of the cold. Trust me…you will be colder than you think, so prioritize your shot list and get your best shots up front.
Plan for some indoor locations. Likewise, try to mix up your locations so you can warm up indoors. Note, however, that shooting in a private restaurant or building can be tricky permit-wise, so check to make sure your final destination is photo-friendly.
So that’s it for today’s blog post. Personally, I am ready for spring and warmer temperatures to arrive. In the meantime, if you are looking for some more cold weather portrait tips, then check out my earlier article on the subject.
Enjoy the photos and I’ll have more adventures for you in next week’s blog post!
If you would like to see more photos from my family portrait portfolio, then please visit my website KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com