It can be tough to get motivated to go shooting on a cold day, what with your cat Snugglepuss at your feet and the copious amounts of warm cocoa you’ve been pouring down your gullet. I get it, I love the comfort of my warm house as much as the next person. But I also love the opportunities that come up with cold weather Street Photography. Funny looking jackets, idiots running down the street because they’re too cool for jackets, strangers huddled together at bus stops, these are just a few of the things you’ll find on a cold day in the city.
Cold weather can create challenges as well, there are generally fewer people out-and-about in the city when the mercury drops. You can those lousy lemons into lemonade though and try a more minimalistic Street Photography style. I came across this scene early on during my last outing, I liked the juxtaposition of the old lady compared to the young man as well as the images in the windows depicting an old lady, athletic/handicapped man, etc.. Normally there would be more people on the street here but because of the cold weather (and admittedly timing) I was able to create this shot.
Just like in warm weather, you’re going to want to go to where the people are. Think about where people need to be and where they would go to stay warm. Coffee shops are hot spots in the winter both because they serve warm drinks and they are a warm place for people to wait for the bus. Instead of going into the coffee shop to photograph people I’d recommend photographing through the window. I’d try to capture candid shots of people drinking coffee and be mindful of the reflections in the window.
Subways are also a great place to photograph in the winter, it’s not much warmer (at least in Pittsburgh) than being out in the cold but it’s where people have to go if they want to get a quick ride as opposed to hoofing it in the chilly weather. There is a ton of potential street photographs with the escalators, signs, street performers, etc.. Keep your eyes open and don’t go near the track, try not to turn your back on people either.
Be sure to take a spare battery or two when shooting in cold weather, the batteries will lose their charge more quickly than they do in warmer weather. I like to keep my spare batteries in the inside pocket of my jacket where they will be the warmest. Find form-fitting gloves so you can make adjustments to your camera and press the shutter button without having to remove your gloves each time.
We have not gotten much snow this year but you can bet your butts I’ll be out shooting the first time we get a nice snow in the middle of the day. Inclement weather has a way of presenting scenes that are completely different and stand apart from the average street shot. If you really don’t want to get out and shoot because of the weather then there is a good chance 90% of the other Street Photographers are staying home as well… All the more reason to get out and capture something unique.
You can share your cold weather Street Photography with us over on the Facebook page if you’d like. Be sure to bookmark DecisiveShot.com and visit frequently.