Winter can be a time of wonder and beauty. The snow covers the ground, ice hangs from the trees, and our families are bundled up and exploring the outdoors. Capturing these moments can create memories that last a lifetime.
While most of us aren’t professional photographers, there are still steps we can take to make beautiful pictures that will let us always remember these fleeting moments. We reached out to some of the best photographers in Naperville and the surrounding area and asked for their advice on taking the perfect winter photos. Learn what these photo masters have to say and turn your photos into cherished keepsakes!
1. Appreciate the Landscape:
“Appreciate the winter landscape by not competing with its simplicity. When the world is bathed in white, you can get gorgeous images by keeping everything subtle in colors with just a bold pop here or there. For example, keep people in whites, creams, or light greys, so they stand out more. If you go with bold colors, you focus on the clothes, and not the people. Also remember that when there is snow on the ground, it acts as a reflector, bouncing light back up, giving you more light than you would have in other seasons. If you want to take good portraits, be sure to keep children warm – no one wants red and runny noses.”
- Megan Drane of Firefly Nights Photography is an internationally award-winning portrait and commercial photographer.
2. Always Be Ready:
“In order to capture that spontaneous look that you see in magazines, you have to have your camera ready at all times and look for the moments that are fleeting. Don’t ask your kids to look at you, or even worse, to smile. Watch the background and position yourself so the simplicity of the composition draws your eye straight to the subjects. This time of year is especially beautiful outside at dusk because the color palette is so blue.”
- Todd Pierson is a photographer from Oswego who loves to shoot in a style that evokes an editorial feel. His work can be seen at www.piersonkids.com.
3. Exaggerate the Scale:
“When shooting pictures like these, I tend to put my camera in a low position. This subtle move changes the point of view, making subjects feel more monumental and important. I also like to shoot with wide angle lenses to include more of the surrounding context. Context is generally what’s attracted me to a subject in the first place. I like to stay close to the subject exploiting the wide lens’s nature to exaggerate scale further giving the subject more importance. As we read horizontally (left to right), shooting horizontally gives pictures a narrative and cinematic quality. Lastly, I often shoot on overcast days where hard shadows and bright highlights are not present.”
- Saverio Truglia enjoys photographing odd combinations found in daily life and is best known for off-beat environmental portraits and concept driven images that are both specific and widely universal. You can find his more of his work at his site, Saverio Truglia Photography.
4. Accentuate the Season:
“This photo works as a winter seasonal photo for a couple of reasons. First, it is winter without being “holiday”. Also, it is a candid, not a posed shot; you can see the surprise on their faces when they realize the birdbath is frozen. It obviously represents winter with the snow and the hats, but it also subtly represents winter as the subject is taken against the frozen summer elements of the bird bath and the flowers now brown and covered in snow.”
- Paige McFadden received her first camera as a present for her eighth birthday and has been shooting photos ever since. You can find more of her work at Paige McFadden Photography.
5. Find the Genuine Moments:
“Many people choose to do family sessions in the winter, especially around the holidays. While winter isn’t always the best season to do portraits outside (unless it’s white with fresh snow) we will set up a session in our families’ homes. While we feel it’s important to capture the portraits with everybody smiling and looking at the camera we also want to capture real moments of the family. We try to get parents and children to laugh, smile, and interact with each other. No matter what the season is these are the types of photos you will want to cherish.”
- Jake Moreland of Two Birds Photography works from home, side by side with his wife, Jennifer. Their photographic goal is to capture the essence of who their subjects really are.
6. Keep it Simple:
“Clothing is a key factor in creating a professional looking portrait. Keep it simple, and avoid bright colors like red, or any other primary color. Patterns, stripes and logos are also a distraction, so stay away from those as well. Choose a time of day where the sun isn’t harsh, like early morning or close to sunset. Cloudy or overcast days are also good sometimes, as they can create a very even light, which is great for faces. For a more casual portrait, organize your group, but don’t overthink it. I have found that portraits look better when they are not so rigid.”
- Neil Gates is a professional family photographer who excels in capturing the special moments of families. Find out more and see his work at www.neilgatesphotography.com.
BONUS TIP - Capture Your Vision:
“For photographing your children inside, try to capture moments that just happen and are not forced. Try to hug an window to utilize the most light you can. Don’t worry about taking photos straight on, just try to capture your child how you see them. Those are the real life memories you will cherish forever.”
- Emily Lucarz has become known in the Chicagoland area for her ability to capture the beauty of life’s moments, as well as the itty-bitty details of newborns, which are her specialty. Find more examples of her work online at www.emilylucarzphotography.com.
BONUS TIP #2 – Don’t “set up” your shot:
“When working with children in any season, I find that if I focus on capturing what I see rather than trying to “set up” shots, I get the most natural pictures. Tell your children you are going on a hike, or an adventure, or set up a picnic in the summer. Once they are playing, step back and shoot away! Winter scenes especially are pretty and the snow makes a beautiful backdrop. Try shooting before noon or about an hour before sunset and you will have beautiful light. Another tip: move around and try different angles, you will be amazed at the difference this makes!”
- Carol Graham has a true passion for photography and specializes in children and graduating seniors. To view her work, please visit www.carolgrahamphotography.com