Feature Story

10 Photo Tips To Let It Blow, Let It Blow

Belly Dancer
Ashly at Sunset
Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough

I've conducted hundreds of photography workshops for almost twelve years now, and I can tell you, often I see photographers fighting the elements of Mother Nature, like the wind, instead of capitalizing on the beauty it can provide in their photographs. Why fight it? Capture it! Let Mother Nature Bless you with wind, rain, snow, OK, not sleet.

Mother Nature's elements often help you out when you run out of photographic ideas, if you don't try and fight her. If it's raining, as long as there is no lighting and you take all the necessary safety precautions, capture your subject walking in the rain, but for now, especially for legal reasons, I'll stick with the wind and if you get struck by lighting, I warned you, don't do it without a meteorologist as your assistant.

When capturing images where the wind is blowing, here are a few things to remember:

1. Turn your model in the direction of the wind.

2. After you've done #1 above, turn your model where her side faces the wind.

3. After you've done #'s 1-2, turn your model's back into the wind.

4. Don't shoot on motor-drive spray and pray mode, make your photos count. Learn to use your mind, eye, hand coordination and make those shots count—you can do it!

5. Never place your model on the edge of a cliff or dangerous ledge, especially if she's facing the wind and has her back to the drop off. Common sense works here folks, be careful.

6. Experiment, use slow shutter speeds with higher aperture values, and if it's a normal day, work your way up to faster shutter speeds, without flash, so you can capitalize on the effects of the lack of depth of field at lower apertures (F/stops) on your lens. Just keep your ISO the lowest you can go, normally ISO 100 on most digital cameras.

7. Shoot plenty of images to have a greater selection, but try and make every shot count.

8. If you really want to take things seriously for "wind" styled shots, check the weather ahead of time so you can plan for it rather than taking a crap shoot chance.

9. If you don't have an image stabilized or vibration reduction lens, take a tripod or monopod to reduce camera movement. Wind styled photographs work well with longer lenses, my favorite, the Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM lens, it's not only image stabilized, but with it's zoom capabilities, you can get various crops of your subject standing in the wind.

10. Go to your local Walmart styled store and hit the fabric section. Look for the closeout remnants of fabric, usually about one dollar per yard, and purchase a variety of colors, these work great for those somewhat cliché photos of a model holding a fabric in the air for the wind to catch.

Now those are ten quick photography tips on how to work with one of Mature Nature's forms of energy and while Mother Nature has other forms of energy, like lighting, for now and for safety reasons, stick with the wind. However, stay away from cliffs, ledges and drop offs, otherwise, especially if your subject is a featherweight and is not careful, she could become another Scarlett O'Hara and be gone with the wind. The same rule applies for photographers, never believe you can beat Mother Nature, she's a lot more powerful than any man. So have fun with Mother Nature and go take some great photographs, not pictures.

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—The JPG team

5 responses

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (21 Oct 2010):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • chris drake

    chris drake gave props (14 Jan 2011):

    has my vote

  • Jeff Slater

    Jeff Slater (Deleted) gave props (29 Apr 2011):

    Excellent advice. Got my vote too!

  • Sean-Michael Gettys

    Sean-Michael Gettys gave props (23 Jun 2011):

    voted yes!

  • vonAsh

    vonAsh gave props (5 Jul 2011):

    Excellent story! I'd like to see more photos!

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