Let the Wind of Mother Nature Be Your Art Director

I’ve conducted hundreds of photography workshopsfor almost two decades 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, but not sleet — and always practice safety, see lighting, hear thunder, take safe cover. Never put your subjects or yourself at risk.

Wind Photography Models

This photo of Dilara was created in the wind and she’s illuminated with a SUNBOUNCE Mini fitted with the 3-D Silver Raindrops reflector fabric.

Mother Nature’s elements can 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 even then, take all safety precuations.

Model Wind Photography

Photographer Mike Majewski used a SUNBOUNCE Sun-Cage to help reduce the wind while also creating beautiful light.

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 to the wind.

Wind Model Photography

This photo of Kyra was taken with the wind blowing from the side.

4. Don’t shoot on motor-drive spray and pray mode, make your photos count. Learn to use your mind, eye, and 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. Safety first!

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 on your lens.

7. Shoot plenty of images to have a greater selection but try and make every shot count. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

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, or image stabilized sensor, take a tripod or monopod to reduce camera movement. Wind styled photographs work well with longer lenses especially when photographing models.

10. Go to your local department store and hit the fabric section and look for the closeout remnants of fabric, usually about one dollar per yard, and purchase a variety of colors in about three-yards in one whack. These work great for those somewhat cliché photos of a model holding a fabric in the air for the wind to catch but also try and come up with your version of this photography technique.

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, anyone can take pictures, few take photographs.

Rolando Gomez is a professional photographer and author of five photography books that has traveled to 45 countries for assignments. The former soldier and U.S. Army combat photographer has taught hundreds of photography workshops for almost two decades. A 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Writer for Quora, his partial credits include Newsweek, Parade, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Rangefinder, New York Times, Stars & Stripes, and various other publications. 
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