Wednesday, February 12, 2014

No Day Like a Snow Day


     In honor of this week's snowpocalypse, I thought I'd begin my behind-the-scenes posts with a snow shoot. Two weeks ago, during 2014's first big snow storm, Asheville saw around an inch of the fluffy white stuff. While almost every part of me wanted to curl up in a blanket and read all day, that nagging little photographer voice in my brain knew that the weather had given me the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot.

     Snow is one of nature's most unpredictable artistic tools. On the one hand, a flat white snowy expanse can be about as boring as it gets, a blank canvas begging for a human or natural touch. (Of course, this is more of an exaggeration, snowy landscapes are often the most majestic.) However, a white blanket of snow also creates a natural reflector to throw indirect sunlight back into the shadows - perfect for portraiture. And the sun always shines a little brighter when you don't have class, doesn't it?

      For this particular shoot, Jaimie put together a (sassy!) white and animal print work outfit that happened to pair beautifully both with the white snow, and the earthen tones of the sky and trees. Though I am typically drawn to saturated colors, something about the flatter natural tones really brings these photos to life.

    My favorite part of the shoot was the quality of light that nature gave me. While I am perfectly comfortable shooting with an external flash and interior lights, working with natural light creates an aesthetic that I find much more pleasing. Sunlight brings out warm tones alluding to pleasantness, a nice change from the typical cold light of the not-so-great indoors.
     Not only did the sun act as a reflector, as I said before, naturally filling the photo with warm light, but it also gave me a great backlight and spotlight. The rays hitting Jaimie's profile gave her an angelic halo, and the sunlight streaming onto her face created a radiant glow that accentuated her features. Best of all, the snow and sun played together making a dark-to-light gradient that added interest to each photo and helped bring the viewer's eye through the image. And, of course, who can pass up a good lens flair?

I didn't take many close-up in this particular shoot because the openness of our "studio" allowed me to use my 50mm fixed lens at far distances. But, I couldn't pass up the chance to shoot one cropped-in portrait, and I couldn't be happier with the bright and beautiful photo that resulted. We certainly had a more productive snow day than many other college students did.