Tips for a Winter Wonderland Session on Location [NSFW]

Tips for a Winter Wonderland Session on Location [NSFW]

This article contains media that the editors have flagged as NSFW.

To view this content you need to create an account or log in.

A thick blanket of white covers falling tree limbs in a beautiful landscape just calling for you to shoot your outdoor session. Navigating the labyrinth of paths to get the perfect scene is obtainable with a few from fellow photographers. Last week we discussed how to prepare for shoots in the desert and now we go to the opposite side of the spectrum with a winter wonderland shoot in the snow. A few suggestions will help the safety of your clients as well as getting those killer shots.

In a boudoir group forum, a fellow photographer had posted some amazing images from her most recent snowy sessions. As an underwater photographer, I know the issues that can occur in colder waters. Curious about her techniques on land for snow, keeping her client safe and warm I spoke to Aroha McKaig based in Ontario, Canada. First and foremost she warns about weather conditions. Make sure to monitor on a regular basis up until the very day of your shoot if you plan to shoot in the colder months. "if it is not going to cooperate, then for your own safety and the safety and well being of your client, just reschedule," she wrote. 

Prepping For The Day

Prior to this type of shoot McKaig goes over every aspect of the session and what will take place. "I do this so they are aware of what they will be required to do during their session but also so that they are prepared and don't face any unexpected surprises during our time together. Being well prepared for any situation is the key," she wrote. There is a lot to consider when preparing for a winter snow session. She writes that extra battery packs are a necessity due to many will lose power quickly in the cold weather. These types of sessions will be more labor intensive especially in the pre-shoot so helping to make certain everything is worked out will help keep your sessions momentum moving and your client's enthusiasm high as the temperatures drop. 

A great tip is to bring rice filled fabric bags that can be microwaved prior to the trip. She brings along a sleeping bag rated for sub-zero temperatures and added these rice bags inside in case the clients need to jump in quickly to warm up. Keeping them warm as well as yourself will be key to getting those images both you and your client will be happy with. 

Blankets, furs, throw rugs, and even a tarp will serve many purposes. They will help keep the client warm in-between sets as well as giving them a barrier to sit and lay on for the snow and damp areas. The throws can also help hide the tarps while giving the added element of texture. 

Location

While everyone would love a very secluded area, these locations will sometimes also be hard to find. Spending a little time as you can in the cold will benefit you and your model. Everyone may feel great getting to the location but the hike back might be difficult after being in the cold air for a full session. Scout out your area first as well she suggests so you are not taking up too much valuable time during your session. 

Wardrobe (Even if They Are Nude)

Educate your client on bringing warmer clothing even if the intentions are to be shooting nudes is an important tip. Layering clothing is a must as well as warm winter coat and boots for the journey out to the location. being able to wrap up in between will be valuable to your client. McKaig writes that a  good pair of winter snow boots along with warm socks will not only provide warmth but also help with stability in the deep snow or wooded areas. "It is often difficult to see debris that lies beneath the snow, so good, sturdy boots are a must," she writes. 

She suggests having your client put on her first look prior to getting to the location this way as soon as you get there you both can begin. Using the throws and furs you brought for sitting can also give a great look in standing shots. Adding a pop of color will bring a whole new look to the area. 

Better to Be Cautious

Be on the lookout constantly for signs of exposure. Blueness in the lips, redness on the skin, excessive shivering, or lightheadedness are just some of the signs you should look for in your client or even yourself. "Do not continue shooting if any of these signs are present. If you can see they are struggling then stop, check in with them and ask how they are doing. If they say they are ok and wish to continue, just be very mindful about how they are communicating with you and if you are unsure or have any doubt at all as to their well-being, then call it a day," she writes. In any type of session whether snow, heat, or even underwater there is no shot worth getting to risk the safety of all those involved. 

Other Tips and Tricks 

  1. Assistants are always helpful on any shoot and especially in these harsh conditions. The extra pair of hands can help grab blankets and coats to help everyone stay warm. They can also hold up a modesty curtain for her to change into another wardrobe item.
  2. If you have a car that is an automatic start and is close by, a good idea is to start just before you get back so your model is warm as soon as she arrives. 
  3. This last one is not only a great tip for your client but for you as well. Having a flask of hot chocolate or tea along with snacks in the car after the session is a great way to warm them up and get them chatting about their session. 

If you have any cold weather shoots you want to share or have any great tips leave them in the comments! 

All images with permission and courtesy of Aroha McKaig. 

Log in or register to post comments

3 Comments

Great advice and killer work!

amanda daniels's picture

Great article and amazing shots! I want so badly to get into boudoir photography, just have no idea where to start. I guess i need to ask some friends if they would model for me. I love these classy yet very sexy images! Absolutely stunning!

i really appreciate when the lead photographer details the outside photo op location, conditions and poses ahead of time. especially what comfort and privacy provisioning he will provide for me especially for nudes in cold locations. warm wrap around blankets take the chill off as well as avoiding staring eyes of crew between poses. i will definitely share these great suggestions with photographers in the future.