Portrait Tip: Add Interest and Movement into Your Shots with Wind

Portrait Tip: Add Interest and Movement into Your Shots with Wind

Sometimes portrait shoots can be tough with all your shots seeming a little ‘bland’.

Today we’re going to look at a technique that can give a portrait a little spark – it’s something photographers have been doing for years.

Close up portrait of smiling beautiful blond female with hair lightly fluttering in the wind by Pavel Kolotenko on 500px.com

Here’s a quick tip to add interest to portraits – introduce wind.

*** by Tatyana Nevmerzhytska on 500px.com

Studio portrait photographers have been using fans to blow the hair of their subjects for years and while at times it can be a little cliche – done well the movement of a subjects hair can add a sense of fun, sensuality and interest into a shot.

Beautiful girl by LuckyImages on 500px.com

It won’t work for every subject or situation but it is one option to have up your sleeve – particularly when photographing subjects with long hair.

Portrait of a charming sexy brunette with long flowing hair wind by Andrey Bezuglov on 500px.com

<2>How do you do it?

Beautiful woman by Olena Zaskochenko on 500px.com

It’s not rocket science really – make some wind! Fans, hair dryers, get your model outside in the wind or even flicking their hair around my tossing their head back and forth (just think shampoo commercials).

Freedom by Tatyana Nevmerzhytska on 500px.com

One of the keys with these types of shots is to think about the length of shutter speed that you use. There are two main options. One is to use a fast shutter speed and FREEZE the motion created by the wind.

Mixed race woman looking down and smiling by Gable Denims on 500px.com

The other is to go with a longer shutter speed and let the movement create a little (or a lot) of blur in the image.

Natasha by Sean Archer on 500px.com

Again – it’s not a technique I’d be using in every portrait that I was shooting but it could be worthwhile in spicing up the occasional shoot!

scared girl in black by Alekcej Tugolukoff on 500px.com

Have fun!

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Nando Tampubolon April 2, 2010 01:56 am

    I always love tips n trick in this website..eventhough I have no SLR camera (i have only digital pocket), but then I think its good to learn before I have the SLR oneday...

    Thanks for all the advices

  • shrinivas shastri January 15, 2010 09:42 pm

    hi your tutorial for the photography made me to enrich my knowledge. and i m very beginner.when i started reading your tips i got confidence that even i can shoot better photos .
    i m really interested in portrait and kindly sugest me for the books for fashion and portrait photography
    thank u

  • Eric Côté May 25, 2009 11:21 am

    Great pictures!

    Last time I tried, my fan wasn't fast enough. I will need to buy an industrial fan at a home hardware store and play with that again.

    Thank you for the tips!


  • Kumar May 23, 2009 02:23 am

    Good tip. Thank you.

    Bit unfair to the wise bald men out there :-)

  • Nikrometer May 22, 2009 10:28 pm

    Thanks Darren,
    Every week I enjoy getting tips and techniques from you and your associates. I try to put most of them into practice. I hope you continue to send our newsletter.

  • Tea May 22, 2009 02:52 pm

    I think wind works perfect for dramatic portrait shoot with the perfect hair too, winks!

  • ernie May 22, 2009 11:05 am

    tnx darren for this tips again.... i love it

  • charliann May 22, 2009 10:58 am

    i especially like the last picture.
    i love using wind, because it adds a drama that can't be beat!
    however, i don't suggest using wind all the time...

  • Keith Clover May 22, 2009 06:56 am

    oh ! it's a great article ! thank you very much, Mr. Darren Rowse !

  • Karen Doidge May 22, 2009 06:48 am

    Hi Darren
    I wanted to say thank you for the amazing tips, blogs, information etc etc that you are sending my way everyday. They are so good, I can even see the quality of my own photos improving Im even looking at upgrading my Canon Powershot S3 IS, to a SLR as soon as I have the money and have decided what to upgrade to. If you have time and any suggestions, they also would be very much appreciated. I am thinking a Canon SLR mid range, would be a smooth transition as I will still be using my Powershot periodically because of its portability and lightweight.

    Thanks again

  • Linda May 22, 2009 06:15 am

    I have used this before and it is just a great look for certain type of photos. Everyone should try it sometime.

  • Eric Mesa May 21, 2009 11:26 pm

    Looks awesome - I'll have to try.

  • Gbenga Loveeyes Images May 21, 2009 05:43 pm

    I get inspired daily by these post.Nice one. Can't wait to try it out.

  • MeiTeng May 21, 2009 03:20 pm

    Beautiful portraits...especially the 2nd last one. Good tip!

  • Sarah Alston May 21, 2009 12:44 pm

    I love the picture by hedonaut. Amazing! This is a great technique for portraits. Would be interesting to try in some portrait shoots.

  • johnp May 21, 2009 08:30 am

    Bridget...better check with the bride she might have spent hours getting her hair just right!!

  • alfeel May 21, 2009 06:01 am

    great! i'll try! :D thanks!!!

  • tykasper May 21, 2009 05:40 am

    I love wind photos. This is an example of a senior picture shoot I did that I think applies to this tip.


  • Ilan May 21, 2009 03:31 am

    Superb example.
    The last three one specially emphasize how different a "flying hair" make the photos. From "still" portrait to photo full of energy and vibe.
    Another good tip is take "flying hair" with back light. It turns the hair into a golden crown.

    In my example, there is no wind but there is golden crown :)

  • Bridget Casas May 21, 2009 02:41 am

    I like these images. I am doing a wedding this week-end - maybe I will take a fan with me!

  • frombrandon May 21, 2009 01:10 am

    I recently shot a wedding and it was a fairly windy day. Most people were bothered by this, but it ended up providing for some pretty amazing wind shots. These are definitely golden if you can work it just right.

    Check out my two favorite wind shots from the wedding here and here.