How to Photograph Winter Portraits with Snow Inside a Studio

Looking for a way to capture the beauty of winter without subjecting yourself to the conditions that come along with it? As Gavin Hoey demonstrates, even the smallest of studios can be used to create a convincing cop of the harshest snowy conditions:

Listed here are five simple tips that can give your photographs the look and feel of a winter wonderland:

  1. A grey background is always a versatile choice. Depending on the look you’re aiming for, you can use lighting to create a bright white background or a dark, dramatic scene. Consider in depth how the position of your lighting could directly impact your background before making any definitive decisions concerning the studio set.
  2. Find out if there are any problems with the scene before mixing snow into the equation. Constant adjustment and close attention to detail is the best way to ensure a successful shoot. Two lights should be enough to make the scene work (one to light the model and another to separate the model from the background).
  3. Artificial snow comes in cans and is often used in theatrical stage settings. Similar to shaving cream in consistency, it is equally useful in the studio and leaves very little mess. Instead of trying to manage the snow and the camera simultaneously, get an assistant on the scene (but outside of the camera’s field of vision) to spray some of the snow into the air.
  4. Once you’ve finished photographing, play with the color balance during post-processing to create a colder feel to the overall image. Opt for blue tones over yellows and oranges to replicate the appearance of a frigid winter night.
  5. Use Photoshop or similar editing software to add and amplify the snow in the scene. In this tutorial, Hoey uses a Photoshop action available on his website to automatically insert flakes and different sizes and opacities.  However, this can also easily be done by hand to your personal liking.

Using these helpful bits of advice, there’s no need to brave the cold. Instead, you can stay warm and dry indoors with just a few creative choices and the slightest bit of tech savvy.

replicating winter in studio

“It’s amazing how just changing a few simple thing in your photograph completely changes the look and feel of the image.”

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