Shooting on Location – minding the weather

Shooting on location is super fun! You can discover new places, use the surroundings to create a very special and unique photo. But what if you plan a location shoot in the middle of winter or summer? Here are the things to keep in mind!


– Make sure you bring plenty of water for you and your team. Especially the model, because he or she has to stand in the bright sunlight for a long period of time.
– Parasols, sunglasses and large hats are also a good idea to bring, for when the model can take a little break between the shots.
– Be careful when the model has to do a lot of active poses. Exchaustion + warm weather + not enough water can cause your model to have a heatstroke. So make sure to take enough breaks and look for shade whenever you can.
– Avoid shooting in the “dangerous hours”, where heatstrokes are bigger risk.
– Models: it’s very hard to pose in heavy sunlight because you get teary eyed and will squint a lot. What helps is to close your eyes and open them on a 1, 2, 3 count with the photographer. Your look will be more intense and your eyes will have a chance to pose with you before you have to squint them again.
– If you are at a location that’s close to a plug, you can put an electric fan outside. If you don’t have this advantage, ask the team members to fan some fresh air towards you and your model with an old fashioned fan or a piece of cardboard.
– Sunscreen is important. MUA’s, learn how to work with your makeup to keep the model’s skin protected. MUA’s can also be in charge of re-applying sunscreen to the model during the shoot.
– MUA’s, pay close attention to the model’s skin as well. Sweat has to be removed, but so that the makeup stays intact.
– Make sure not to go too far into the middle of nowhere – in case of emergency, you can ask for help much quicker.
– Also take something with lots of sugar with you, in case the model is feeling a bit weak. A cold can of soda (in a portable cooler!) usually does the trick.
– Watch out for bugs! It’s a good idea to bring a bug spray so the model doesn’t go home with 235898754254 mosquito bites.


– Make sure to bring lots of fleece blankets and fluffy bathrobes to keep your model warm in between shoots! Heatpads are lifesavers too. You can buy them everywhere, and all you need to do is crack them and they become hot. Afterwards, you can “repair” them again by putting them in hot water.
– MUA’s: when it’s cold, the model’s skin can change color – that’s why it’s important to put foundation on exposed skin. Hands, especially, since they tend to turn purple or red rather quickly.
– Make sure the models feet are warm. This sounds weird but when a model has cold feet, he or she tends to pose more cramped and limited.
– Bring a thermos with a hot drink. I was at a shoot once and a friend of the photographer had brought a thermos full of hot chocolate, it was amazing.
– Only shoot for short periods of time if the model isn’t fully clothed. Make sure your model takes lots of breaks to get a bit warm.
– Keep your model dry. If you ask him or her to pose in an ice cold river or pool, do that as the last part and keep him or her warm afterwards.
– Try to catch as much sunlight as you can and warm up there.
– Give your model the time to warm up after the shoot. If they go home right away, they might not get warm enough. Buy them a hot drink, invite them to a warm house or appartment, let them have a shower. This is really important, to avoid the model getting sick.
– Poses that require movement are preferred over static poses. Movement is always better to keep warm.
– Warn your team you are going to shoot outside! Tell them to wear thermal undergarments and thick coats.


Disclaimer for all extreme location shoots
If the model says he or she had enough, stop immediately. Not “5 more minutes!”, because the model is probably pushing themselves really hard, and it might already be too late. So models, too: be honest and don’t be shy to tell the team when you’re at your limits.


I hope this helped to prepare you for that extreme location shoot! Do you have anything to add? Let me know in the comments!

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