In the midst of a busy day in Tokyo, people stopped and stared at the snow falling thickly on the ground, the perfect time to take pictures of a mysterious new side of Tokyo.
A few years back, Tokyo experienced a day of unusual precipitation. In a city where snow generally melts in the air, or the moment it hits the pavement, the flakes began to pile up underfoot in a way locals hadn’t seen for four decades. Over the years, the Japankuru team has done photoshoots in snowy climes like Nagano, Fukushima, and Hokkaido, so the snow was no shock, but the rare white blanket settling upon Tokyo lent the city an unusually mysterious and romantic atmosphere that we couldn’t resist. The allure of the snow pulled us out of the old Asakusa Japankuru studio and over to Sensoji Temple, and once the photoshoot began, the shutter wouldn’t stop clicking, even despite the cold air biting at our fingertips. In the rush to get out there and start the photoshoot, our preparations were a little lacking, so to get ready for next time: here’s a list of musts for the next shoot in the snow.
Even the Japankuru team sometimes forgets these helpful items when we’re in the middle of things, so here are some handy reminders for you… and for us.
Especially once the sun has set, if you want that glittering white winter wonderland look for your pictures, you’re going to need good lighting. So tip #1 is simple, don’t forget your flash! Whether you use the built-in flash on your camera, or you bring along an external strobe light, the brilliant light brings the fluttering snow to life.
Tripods come in handy for a number of reasons when shooting in the snow, so bring one along! Once you’ve decided on the angle you’re aiming for, it’s tripod time. The stability of the setup means that you can take multiple shots, which is especially important if snow is falling, because once you get to the post-processing stage the multiple shots give you more options for creating the perfect snowy foreground. The cold temperature is also a great reason to get the tripod out―cold hands aren’t just uncomfortable, but if you start shivering, your photos probably won’t turn out great. Once you’ve set up the shot, use a wireless remote control to trigger the shutter with your hands still tucked warmly in your coat pockets!
The last thing you want is wet snow sloshing down your lens and into the camera body! That’s not good for the pictures, or the camera’s future. Using a hood on the lens is a good start, to keep the snow at bay, and if it starts to collect anyway, use an air blower instead of a cloth to get rid of the snow. Wiping it away will just leave streaks, and if the snow is dry and cold enough, the blower will just blast it away without a trace.
This one probably shouldn’t come as a shock! But without gloves, it’s really difficult to keep going on a cold day. Carrying heavy cameras with your hands outstretched in the cold air, your fingers are going to go numb! Please take a pair of gloves with you! And if you need them, look for a pair of photography gloves, with a little hole at the pointer finger for pressing the shutter.
If you’re going to head out in the middle of a blizzard just to take some photos, the most important thing is going to be passion! It’s cold and miserable outside, so you need a little extra enthusiasm to enjoy the process. Enjoy the photoshoot, and laugh your way through chilly weather instead of focusing on your cold fingers and damp coat!
Photos capture a moment in time, but if you don’t take the picture, the moment is lost forever. To hold on to those beautiful moments, you have to keep taking pictures! So don’t forget your camera, your gear, or your passion―keep taking pictures, improving your skills, and creating wonderful snapshots of moments in the snow!