Ya know, if my back wasn’t seized in pain from shoveling snow, it would have been a great day to make portraits in the snow ;)

A fresh blanket of white has a lot to offer a portraitist like yourself. Who doesn’t look adorable bundled in warm clothes with naturally rosy cheeks? Plus, the backdrop becomes much easier to deal with when it’s all covered in white.

But there’s a major thing to remember, and a simple way to finish your pictures made on a snowy day.

It’s supposed to be bright!

Last week I talked about how pictures made at night are supposed to be black and dark. Well, pictures made in the snow are supposed to be bright.

But your camera doesn’t know that. It thinks you’ve overexposed the world and it wants you to darken the whole picture with a faster shutter speed.

This is one of the major mistakes I see at the county fair each year. If you use program mode or aperture mode, the camera will always try to make a snowy scene too dark. I see beautiful landscapes with gray snow and I know the photog didn’t override the camera’s limited brain.

Even when you shoot in manual mode, the light meter will tell you to make the picture darker. But you’ve got to override it. Even to the point that blinkies show up on the LCD verifying that the snow is … white.

If you don’t brighten that snow, then your subject’s faces will be too dark along with the rest of the scene.

But when it’s bright, it’s washed out

Sometimes, especially when it’s snowing while you make pictures, the photo will just be too white, and it looks kinda washed out like there’s not enough contrast.

So, you should increase the contrast. Simply darkening the Blacks slider and maybe turning up the Dehaze a touch will give make your subjects stand out even in a blizzard.

If I were you, I’d keep an eye on the weather and make plans to make pictures with your favorite subjects during/after the next snowstorm. It’ll be a ton of fun and liven up your portfolio. If you’re like my pal Vanelli and you live in a place (Florida) where it’s not likely to snow anytime soon, then it’d be worth a trip.

Just remember to have someone else do the driving.

Portrait Tips come out each week, and you can see them all right here.