Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about shooting fashion content in the winter time. If you are lucky enough to live in a climate without snow, in a location that stays relatively mild throughout the winter, you may not know about the struggle that comes with regularly shooting in freezing temperatures.
Many of you know that I live in Minnesota, which is the state that borders Canada. We deal with a lot of unpredictable snowstorms, and a lot a weather around 5°F (-15°C). When we have weather over 40°F (4°C), it often feels like spring to us. As a student, I do not have a lot of open days to shoot- my best friend, and fellow blogger Sam (@capturingsam) and I usually shoot together, and we both have Fridays' off, so we typically shoot then. Because we do not have a lot of flexibility in our schedule, Friday tends to be shooting day, no matter what the weather looks like.
The winter months are hard, because it is unrealistic to shoot what you are actually wearing. I tend to shoot outfits that I would wear if the weather was warm enough that I could get away with it. Unfortunately, with the amount of snow and ice on the ground, and the unbearable windchill most days, if I were to shoot my actual outfit, it would be the same coat, winter hat, and chunky boots every single day.
So for my fellow cold-weather bloggers, I decided I would share some of my tips for shooting in the winter, and how to get the best content (without looking miserable in every shot.)
1. Find a Shooting Location Where You Can Go Inside
Sam and I usually shoot in downtown, which means that most of the buildings we shoot in front of, have public access to go inside. Often times, it's simply too cold to shoot outside for more than a few minutes without fear of frostbite (i'm not even kidding), so Sam and I will run outside, shoot one of us for a minute or two, then run back inside. We will do this multiple times over, until we both have enough content. This way, not only do we feel less miserable, but we also avoid the problem where your skin turns blue from being outside for too long...
The photos above were both taken on a day with a -20°F windchill (-28°C). The only reason I don't look miserable is because we shot quickly, and went inside regularly between shots. This day was deadly cold.
2. Do Your Motion Shots First
The cold tends to slow down the camera- Sam and I both rely on "Sports Mode" to take our walking shots, but when it's as cold as it is, the shutter speed tends to slow town really fast, so we shoot them first.
These walking shots were taken yesterday, when it was about 6°F out (-14°C).
3. Layer Up + Bring Extra Clothes
Sam and I look like idiots when we shoot, because one of us (the one being photographed) is typically underdressed, while the other one is wearing two coats. The little pink heels in the photo above are super cute, but my toes would probably fall off if I wore them for more than a few minutes. Wear heavy boots, pack an extra coat, do not brave it. Not only is that stupid (don't risk frost bite for a outfit shot???) but your photos will not be as good. If you feel miserable, you will look miserable. Your feet will be blue, your hands will be white, your face will look sad. Just bring extra layers.
4. Learn How to Edit Your Skin Tone
First things first, I am not a professional photo editor. I don't even know how to use Photoshop- I use very easy, user friendly editing apps to do my work. I have talked about it before, but Snapseed is my favorite app to edit my photos. If the cold is still making you look a little washed out or blue in your photos, you can use Snapseed to specifically darken certain areas of your skin, and increase saturation, in order to bring a little life back into you. Whatever app or editing software you use, you should learn how to edit your skin tone if you shoot in the cold.
The Original Photo
Increasing Saturation + Decreasing Brightness
Final Image (After Editing + J2 Filter on VSCO)
5. Experiment with Shooting Inside
I realize that this one might sound like giving up... but it's not. Sometimes it's just too damn cold. And sometimes there's a blizzard outside- what can you do?
Take this as an opportunity to experiment with flat lays, product placements, selfies, coffee shop shoots, indoor setups... there are all sorts of ways to capture content inside, you just need to explore them.
Here are just a couple shots I took the other day, but if you go through my Instagram (@blackdenimchic), you can find many photos for indoor shoots I've done recently.
Running a fashion blog in the winter is hard when you live somewhere cold- it tends to take more meticulous planning, and a lot more work goes into getting the same amount of content. It definitely doesn't have that effortless feeling that comes with summer blogging- if you live somewhere warm year round (as in, you can go outside in just a sweater), I envy you. But this is the reality for many of us, so I wanted to share my tips on how I make things work in the winter time.
I definitely think this sort of blogging builds character too. You can't expect to go on a blogging hiatus for four months and still expect to grow (and I would never want to, anyway), but this method definitely invokes creativity, and makes you all the more grateful when the weather is warm.