Photo of the Day


Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for Jan. 22

January 22, 2024

By Hillary Grigonis

Shooting a portrait on a windy day can be a challenge — or an asset. While wind can unpredictably rearrange hair and clothing, the motion can also add interest and emotion to an otherwise stationary portrait. This week, we feature four photographers embracing wind and movement to capture emotional moments. Take a look at these striking portraits and candid moments from Carissa Cannizzaro, Austin Francis Sylvest, Kristyn Taylor, and Bettina Vass.

Carissa Cannizzaro, Carissa Marie Photography

© Carissa Marie Photography

Wind isn’t always a byproduct of Mother Nature. In this windy portrait from Carissa Cannizzaro of Carissa Marie Photography, the movement of the bike, the camera blur and the expression on the couple’s faces combine to create a striking image. Inspired by the juxtaposition of the bride’s flowers against the couple’s motorcycle, Cannizzaro asked her to throw her flowers out into the air as they were riding. She captured the shot with the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Canon EF 35mm f1.4 lens.

“It was a challenge for me to find the balance of slowing my shutter enough to capture their movement, but to still get their faces in focus,” she says. “It took a few tries and some adjusting before I found the ideal settings, and I settled on a shutter speed of 1/40s. I also think when you are shooting blur and movement there is always going to be an element of luck that comes into play, but as Seneca says: ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ Putting so much time into creative preparation is what allowed me the opportunity to get a shot like this.” 

Austin Francis Sylvest, Francis Sylvest

© Francis Sylvest

Wind is a common factor for elopements in Iceland, says photographer Austin Francis Sylvest of Francis Sylvest. But, for this day, the weather forecast called for very little wind at the final location. Instead, the couple stepped out to find gusts of 50-60 mph. The couple found the incredibly wrong forecast hilarious and Francis Sylvest captured this candid windy portrait as the two of them embraced to shelter from the unpredicted weather. He captured the shot with a Pentax 645n camera, a Pentax 45mm f2.8 lens and Kodak Porta 800 film.

“I’ve found that if it’s windy, and couples are down to be in the weather, to just embrace it,” he says. “Instead of asking them to stand and pose, I incorporate as much movement as possible, and typically shoot at a wider angle (or step farther back) to give more focus to the environment in the case the couple doesn’t like the way the wind is interacting with their hair, outfit, etc. This photo was a bit of an exception since it was 100% candid and in the moment.”

Kristyn Taylor

© Kristyn Taylor

Wind doesn’t always mean cold photo shoots. On this summer day in Australia, photographer Kristyn Taylor was inspired by the model’s hair, which reminded her of a lion’s mane. The combination of the windswept hair, a background of clouds and sculpting sunlight creates a striking image. She captured the shot with the Nikon Z7 II and a 24-70mm f2.8 lens.

“A reasonably high shutter speed was used to freeze her wind swept hair,” she notes.

Bettina Vass, Bettina Vass Photography

© Bettina Vass

As a photographer based in Iceland, Bettina Vass of Bettina Vass Photography is no stranger to the elements. In fact, embracing factors like wind, rain and cold is all part of the job, she says, though the wellbeing of everyone involved comes first when conditions become more than just uncomfortable but dangerous. She took this shot during a workshop in Scotland, an exercise to help her shake the routine and reignite her creativity in a different setting. Inspired by the change of scenery, she decided to hang back and photograph what unfolded naturally, a decision that rewarded her with this image of the bride’s billowing dress and a wide expanse of Scottish landscape. She captured this windy portrait with the Canon EOS R6 and the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro lens.

“The key is all about communication and preparation with the couples,” Vass says. “Setting the right expectations is crucial. When couples know what they might face, they can embrace the uniqueness of their experience. It turns into something quite extraordinary – a celebration in the midst of nature’s drama. My approach involves having multiple backup plans. Flexibility is essential. We might have a schedule, but we’re ready to adapt based on the weather. This flexibility ensures that the couples are not disappointed but rather excited for the adventure, even if it’s an unknown one. Another strategy is planning locations near the vehicle. This way, we can quickly warm up in the car and then venture out for short photo sessions. This tactic always seems to work well.”

Dig into our Photo of the Day archives for even more timeless photoseye-catching wedding photos and portraits. Submit your wedding, editorial, documentary and other interesting imagery to: hillary.grigonis@emeraldx.com.

Photographing Love by Kristina Wikle
The Location Lighting Series
The Art of Draping – by Lola Melani
Finally Get Organized: Simple Photography Workflow and Archiving
Raw Portraits
Get More Clients: Effective Marketing for Photographers