It is time to shoot a Love story in winter forest. Winter! It would seem the perfect time of the year for photo shootings. It is because winter photos look so cute on social networking websites. I assure you that the situation with romantic winter photographs is similar to the situation with dolphins: everyone knows that dolphins save people, pushing them to the shore, but exactly because people, whom dolphins pushed from the coast, will never tell anything about this) You don’t see many failed winter photos, because they are simply not published. Moreover, in order not to see them even on the small screen of your camera, I venture to share my experience.
I use the camera Nikon, but Canon lovers should not be stopped by this fact. And it protects me from many troubles in sub-zero temperatures. D4 is a frost resistant model with protection from moisture, tolerant to temperature extremes. However, despite this, the camera matrix (which is in fact cold resistant) may be attacked by snow at the moment of lens` replacement (it can come from gloves of a photographer, from the sky or trees, from very naughty models).
Therefore, you should always:
- Find ways to change lenses as less as possible. Il is perfect to put required lens on each camera beforehand at home. The same requirement is applied to USB sticks, batteries, etc. Winter is not the best time to “play with glasses”. Shots that come to your mind while shooting with another lens, should be stored carefully on a shelf in your head, and get them out after shifting of lenses.
- Before changing the lens, place the camera in the trunk, making sure that you don’t have snow on it. Protect the trunk from the wind by your body.
- Make all operations on replacing of anything only without gloves with hands kept warm.
The most important factors of winter photography are:
The SUN. Winter shooting, if you caught clear weather, will give you an excellent opportunity to enjoy the low position of our day luminary in the sky. It gives no shadows under eyes. It can be used not only as a filling and drawing, but also as a backlight. It can often be put in the shot, making yet another element of the image. To soften shadows and illumination of persons` faces in the winter, I like to use the gold side of the reflector. I usually set up white balance manually on 3700 Kelvin that gives a bluish tint around the background and natural complexion of models.
SNOW. Of course, it might just be the White Silence, but it would be better if you make it help you tell a story. It can put dust still hanging around the main characters, gently get involved in shooting, emphasize the trend and momentum, and create volume and depth of a shot.
STEAM. Popular Hollywood cliche: if a hero and a heroine have a talk on the night street, whatever season is, their breath is pluming, which is lit by something taking away specks, even if there are only negroes detraining set of cars with carbon. Probably, I will agree with Hollywood operators, as it is at least pretty. I am not going to make you use cliches, I just advise you to have such an expressive method in your “piggy bank”.
By the way, steam can be produced not only by breathing of protagonists, but it can come, for example, from a cup of hot tea. Steam from the exhaust pipe of a car looks very romantic as well.
There is a little life hack. It often happens, that there is steam, but it is not enough, or it quickly disappears, for example, because of the wind. A cloud similar to steam can be created by deodorants. Electronic cigarettes are also good for the purpose (I don`t want to advise ordinary ones for two reasons: the first is that smoking kills, and the second is a cigarette smoke is perfectly recognized on most photos, because it is a smoke, with its characteristic texture and color). Only think first, how to disguise a source of such “special effect”.
COLD. Yes, this is also an important factor. I wanted to start with it, but decided that after ominous hints at artful dolphins, I should slightly ease the pressure on my reader, as he can become upset and close this article. Nevertheless, it is time now to get to know the awful truth: more than half of shooting opportunities during winter photo shooting are not implemented because of the cold.
His victims are usually:
HANDS. In particular, fingers of a photographer. What creativity can be when your fingers feel uncomfortable? Oh yes, you will endure all hardships with fortitude and deprivation, no doubt, but you will spend significantly more time on the camera settings. And very soon the burning questions concerning the change lens, focal length and other settings of shooting, as well as suggesting better posture for a model— will be resolved in favor of “leave it as it is”. Then one more ingenious solution pops up — “everything will be corrected in Photoshop”. And there is nothing more, you can go home. Usually a selfie appears in social networks with the phone number and the message “will soon publish the results of the photo shooting in the snow, it was in a super positive light, but … (see above). So protect your hands with warm gloves, in which you will easily use your camera. Warm and deep pockets on clothes are required: thus, your equipment hangs on the body and does not need to be in your hands. Chemical heating pads for fishermen and hunters are excellent helpers here.
OPTICS. It is often attacked with cold by fogging (it is enough to put well cooled lens into a warm room), and optics of relaxed victims are covered with frost mist (it happens if you take a perspiring lens back to chill). Frost mist can insidiously attack a viewfinder, which will get breath of a photographer. It is not that critical, especially in the face of clear AF function, but the pleasure of work will significantly reduce, so do not talk, gently removing the camera from your face. Besides, it is not polite.
The cold by itself will not cause it any significant harm. However, don’t rush at every opportunity to squeeze closer in heated up cabin to stretch before the fire your precious “carcass”. To put the case with equipment on the battery is also a bad idea. Variations from cold to warm are more dangerous, than the cold itself. Equipment put in a good, hearty trunk, cools or warms correctly by itself.
PHOTO MODELS. They are the favorite victims of the cold. My feeling is that about half of my models are foreigners from a hot country, who thought that winter is like the one in Italy, only with snow that is accurately like poplar fluff, but is better because people do not sneeze of it. And thus, at the shooting they learn that, it turns out, shoes and jeans are not suited to such conditions. Don’t be afraid to seem like a wimp. Tell, repeat, remind and recheck- one should dress very-very warmly. They have to change, freeze, turn to wind, bestrew with snow, roll in it and stuff. After all, we are talking about a photo shooting, and not just about a couple of shots “Me and the forest in the background”. In general, almost all of what they will do leads to enhanced heat loss, which will have to be restored.
I like when models move. The more movements, the more interesting and dynamic your shots are. Even if something goes wrong, it is fun and it usually warms. I prefer to make models move without pressure. We hinder to guess one`s motility, nuances of facial expressions and gestures without knowing a person well. Let him\her move, only slightly suggesting that, in your opinion, it turns out especially well, and expressing admiration to made shots. Let people relax, don’t look at him\her with a look of Admissions Committee member from acting school. If a person is in front of you, you have already agreed to work with him\her.
Sometimes, to encourage models, I show them a couple of good shots. They believe in themselves and understand what I’m trying to catch. However, I categorically do not advise to show each shot. It takes much time. By the way, not all the shots are eventually successful, and you can then print the announced ones.
Think the photo shooting beforehand, its idea and style. Times, when a photographer was invited just because he had a camera (and there was some hope that he knew how to use it) passed away long ago. The photographer is a stylist, mastermind, filmmaker, lighting designer, and more. A good camera allows you to trust the technology and pay more attention to what is happening on the set. So, do it! Work not as a simply adjuster of shutter and aperture, but create. As usual, but taking into account the above-mentioned “winter” factors.
Premeditated setups are especially important in winter. I will repeat myself, climate conditions usually do not have a long creative quest in the open air, so, you should at least have a rough thrust and momentum. “We come to the forest and will be photographed” is not a plan. My perfect plan of winter photo shooting consists of several parts, and there is always an opportunity to give yourself and models to warm up a little in cars with a cup of hot tea.