Cam­era tech­niques Shoot a ‘cool’ win­try por­trait

James Pater­son re­veals how to cap­ture a mag­i­cal win­try por­trait – what­ever the weather!

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

If you’re lucky enough to have snow for a por­trait shoot, then make the most of it – snow is a nat­u­ral re­flec­tor of light so it gives lovely, soft, flat­ter­ing light with sub­tle shad­ows. Here in the UK, though, it seems that it only snows when we don’t want it to, and never when we do, so for this project we had to make our own white stuff!

A fake snow ma­chine such as the one we used sprays out a stream of soapy flakes that drift gen­tly down to the ground, just like the real thing. You can hire fake snow ma­chines from most en­ter­tain­ment sup­pli­ers – the same places that of­fer disco hire and light­ing rigs. They won’t break the bank ei­ther: ours was £25 for the day, and came with a bot­tle of soapy fluid to make the snow flakes (you can hire spe­cial­ist ma­chines that cre­ate real snow, but they cost more, and the air tem­per­a­ture needs to be be­low freez­ing for them to work). Our snow fluid lasted for about 30 min­utes of con­tin­u­ous use, so fire it in bursts to make it last. For the best ef­fect, have a helper direct the snow so that the flakes fall both in front of and be­hind your sub­ject while you shoot.

As well as making your own snow, we’ll look at a few of the key tech­niques and rules for shoot­ing out­door por­traits, whether you want to fake a bliz­zard, cap­ture sub­jects against beau­ti­ful sea­sonal colours, or shoot any kind of por­trait in nat­u­ral light. With the right choice of lens, aper­ture, shut­ter speed and fo­cus con­trols, the rest is easy – we’ll show you how to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful win­ter por­trait whether you have the weather on your side or not.

Fake snow ma­chines won’t break the bank: ours was just £25 for the day, and came with a bot­tle of soapy fluid to make the snow flakes. You can fire it in bursts to make it last

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