Winter Photography Tips

While I consider myself modest when evaluating my photography skills, if there is one thing that I am truly an expert at, it is winter photography. Born and raised in Chicago, I have endured some of the toughest winters seen by the lower 48, and here are some pointers that I think will really help young photographers make excellent images during the winter time.

1. Better safe than sorry. When it comes to preparation, you are better safe than sorry.  Dress warm, put on one or two more layers than you think you need.  Bring a hat, gloves, scarf, two pairs of socks, facemask etc.  You don’t want to find yourself rushing, or even passing on more compositions or angles simply because you are too cold.

Lonely Tree by Santo Rizutto

2. Tis the season. Take advantage of things that are only around during the winter time.  Snow, whether it is fresh on the ground or falling out of the sky, makes for fantastic images. Furthermore, Christmas lights, trees and other holiday decor will add important context to your holiday photographs.

Manzella Cascade Gloves

3.Gear Up. Make sure that you have the right gear for the season. Photography gloves are a great addition to your gear collection, keeping your hands warm while still giving you the ability to move the controls on your camera. Try the Manzella Cascade gloves, pictured right.  Also make sure that you have a warm jacket, hat, pants, boots etc, and anything else you can find that will make you feel comfortable and not let the winter weather get the best of you.

4. Tis the Off-Season.  For most places, the winter time is the off-season for tourism. Take advantage of the empty streets, and shoot places that you normally wouldn’t dare because of the heavy influx of people.  Super Bowl Sunday and New Years are great days for photographers to capture the most touristy locations without the people. Hope you don’t like football!

A Matrix of Lights by Christopher Schoenbohm

5 Tips for Great Portrait Photography

If you are wondering how to create striking portrait images, you have come to the right place. In today’s post I would like to give my five most important tips to making great portraits.

  1. Bring out the Bokeh – While getting a bokeh just right takes some practice, it can really bring attention towards the part of the portrait that you would like to emphasize.  Also, point and shoot cameras are incapable of shooting at low f-stops, so using a dslr to take a picture with a very out of focus background adds not only drama, but a sense of professionalism to the photo.

    What to my wondering eyes should appear ...

  2. Capture it in the Camera- We’ve all broken this rule.  You take a picture with what you think is a minor flaw and you think to yourself, “it’s ok, I can fix that in photoshop”.  This is really bad practice that we all need to break immediately. It can lead to putting little effort into the shoot itself, and expecting to produce a quality photo from something that simply is not.  While being proficient in photoshop can be a great asset to photographers, it is important to remember that we are photographers first, and that is the skill which we should primarily seek to improve.

    The cutest boy in the world

  3. I say it’s all about the Eyes- The eyes are the most important part of almost any portrait. Think about it, no other body part expresses as much emotion as the eyes, and it’s no surprise that when shooting a portrait you should focus on them.  Often, the eyes tell the story of the portrait, and can even lead the viewer into looking a certain direction.


  4. Capture Candidly-  Having someone pose for your picture gives you a chance to set up and gather the corect settings in attempt to capture something “perfectly”, however, we need remember that photography is an art and not a science.  More often that not, a candid image expresses more emotion, and expresses a more real experience to the viewer.

    Snowfall - No. 12

  5. Shoot Early, Shoot Often – Back in the film days, photographers had to pay for each roll of film that they used.  Think about the advantage that we have today with manufacturers being able to cram more and more space into smaller and smaller devices. Take advantage of this!  If you find yourself questioning whether or not a scene might look interesting from a different angle or with a different pose, it can’t hurt to take it. As they say in sports, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.