How to Create a Wintry Self-Portrait (Even If You Don’t Have Snow)

If you think winters are just for cuddling in front of fire sipping hot chocolate, think again. Some photographers spend hours in the cold making images—and not just of the dull, colorless landscape. Sometimes they indulge in a bit of self-portraiture. For Bella Kotak, a RAW frame is just a license to go wild. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how she made this almost surreal photo:

1. Take the shot.

The first step was to make the image. Kotak went out with her camera and tripod and made several adjustments until she got just the frame she wanted.

how to make winter vibe self-portrait

2. Find a snow texture.

The next task is to download a suitable snow texture.

3. Embellish the hair.

Copy paste a tuft of flowing hair. You can skip this step if it doesn’t apply to your image.

4. Fine tune the results with a layer mask.

application of Liquify tool in Photoshop

Kotak used the Liquify tool here to fine tune the results and make everything appear “normal.”

5. Dodge and burn.

dodging & burning in Photoshop

Dodge and burn to adjust the exposure. Kotak recommends using Curves as a non-destructive technique. There are other methods as well.

6. Use your favorite actions.

Kotak next used a set of actions to give the image a particular vibe.

7. Snowflakes.

The snowflakes were added next.

experimenting with snowflakes

8. Cropping.

Use cropping to tighten up the composition.

9. Final tweaks.

A bit of further tweaking with the actions and colors, and here is the final look.

cold weather self-portrait

Kotak doesn’t let winter keep her from making amazing self-portrait images. Give this a try and let us know how it goes!

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