While our busy season here in Wisconsin is most definitely May through October (when the weather is optimal!), we do have a handful of weddings + engagement/portrait sessions in the winter!! And for us, winter means snow. Lots of snow!!! Shooting in the snow can pose a lot of difficulties for photographers, so today I’m sharing a few of the top ways we combat those difficulties during our winter sessions!!!
1. Have a Gameplan
Personally, I believe the MOST important thing you can do to prepare for a GREAT winter session is to have a gameplan!! Let’s face it, it’s going to be c-o-l-d outside + you will have to move fast!! In order to capture those authentic, raw, emotion-filled moments, your couple needs to be thinking about how in love they are with one another + NOT how cold they are!! How can you make this happen?
- Know exactly where you want to shoot + go scope the locations BEFORE the session (this is the game plan)!! On warm summer days, it’s totally okay to walk + chat with your couple, not knowing necessarily exactly where you’re going to shoot + waiting until you feel inspired to stop + take the shots! When it’s below freezing, there is no time to lolly-gag (yes, I just said that!)–of course, chat with your couples on site, but know where you are taking them so their time outside is kept to a minimum!!
- Have an inside location as a backup–you know, in case it’s just too cold to be outside, or temperatures are below what you were originally anticipating. Additionally, be sure you are shooting in close proximity to your parked vehicles or somewhere like a coffee shop where you can escape from the cold for a few minutes if need be!!
- Know what poses you are going to do ahead of time along with the locations. Again, time is of the essence here–have a set of poses ready to go in your mind + then just switch up hand positions, which way they’re facing, etc. to get a variety of different poses in a short amount of time!!
2. Spot Metering
We have found this to be key for us when shooting in the snow–switching from evaluative metering (where the camera takes into consideration the light of the ENTIRE scene to set your exposure) to spot metering (where the camera sets your exposure based on the exact spot you tell it to meter). When you use evaluative metering in the snow, like we mentioned, the camera is taking into account ALL of the light it is registering in the scene–which tends to be a LOT of light since the snow surrounding your subject is bright + reflective. As a result, your subject(s) will often be underexposed since the camera thinks it is really bright. However, if you spot meter for your subject’s face, the camera has a much better chance of properly exposing your subject’s face(s)! Which is what we want–a bright, glowing face!! Overall with spot metering, the image might be more overexposed, however this is an easy fix in Lightroom!
3. Educate your client
Again–SO important!! Remind your client of the importance of dressing warm for their winter session! Not only do cute hats, mittens + jackets appropriately fit a winter backdrop, but your client will stay warmer longer (not be thinking about how cold they are right away) which helps create more emotion-filled images!! Plus, if they are warm (I mean, you can even recommend hand warmers for those mittens!!!), they will ENJOY their session that much more!!