I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to photographing people. There is just so much to think about that it’s almost impossible to think about it all consciously. Somehow things need to become second nature so that you can focus on the important thing, the people.
Every time I do a photo shoot I take 1-2 elements to focus on consciously during the photo shoot. For the rest I prepare in advance as much as I can, winging it is a good way to fail, but I’ll be fine if I forget or don’t excel with what’s not my focus.
One of the things I’m still leaving to chance is posing, I do have a few poses in mind but I leave most of it to my models. There is so much details which can clutter the mind for posing that I don’t feel comfortable yet to focus so much on it. In this case, Sophie and Stefan were fantastic and they were posing almost perfectly every time. Making my life so much easier.
One of my main focus for this shoot was background. It’s almost the end of the winter so I’ve seen many winter shoots lately and the one thing which bothers me most often is the background. It’s really hard to find good wintery background which does good imagery. Really, leafless trees are ugly and all those branches and tree trunks are so distracting and uneven. But if you balance it well it can work.
So here’s 4 tips I found to work well…
Put the background completely out of focus. My Fujinon XF90mm f2.0 (137mm equivalent) is awesome at this. Open your aperture and use a long telephoto. You can still see enough to know it was taken in the winter, the soft brown really complement the skin tones really well. For this make sure the couple is far enough from the trees to blur the background completely. This will work really well with head shots and close-ups.
Isolate one tree or other background elements, so that they’re not directly behind your model. Here is just enough out of focus to complement the shot but without distracting from the model . Make sure nothing is distracting specially around your model’s head. Finding those plain backgrounds works really well when shooting full body pictures.
Environment shots works better in black and white. In this shot the path was dirt brown and trees grey and brown. Removing those colors makes us pay more attention to the couple in this case while keeping all the winter feel to it. Here the road leads the eyes to our couple. I find the big tree behind them comes a little close to their heads but I’m being picky here.
Lastly, just don’t include a background at all. Use a long telephoto lense to avoid distortion from wider lenses (and avoid being inches from your model’s face).
Unfortunately, winter is almost over and chances are that I won’t have the opportunity to do another shoot in the snow. Unless you want one? If so don’t wait to ask! But most of these principles will be very useful for spring before the greenery gets out.
I hope you enjoyed this little bit of information no matter if you’re a photographer or just snapping pictures of your family with your phone, these tips will help make better photos!
Do you have any other trick or things your like about taking picture during winter?