Today I checked the weather and was pleasantly surprised to see some
upcoming snow showers. As it continues to get colder and winter draws
closer, I look forward to taking pictures on snow days in the upcoming
months. Taking pictures in the snow is fairly simple, but there are a
few things you should pay attention to to get the most out of your
shoots in the snow.
Before stepping out into the cold, make sure you prepare yourself and
your camera to be outside. Dress warmly and wear gloves that allow
your fingers to navigate the controls on the camera. Don’t wear
mittens or really thick gloves. If you can find a pair with rubber
grips, you’ll avoid the camera slipping out of your hands. Especially
if you are out in extremely cold temperatures, make sure you are
dressed warmly enough to stay comfortable while shooting for extended
periods of time.
While keeping yourself warm, remember to keep your camera cold. Many
photographers will try to keep their cameras warm to protect their
gear, but by bringing your camera back and forth between cold and warm
temperatures, you will cause condensation to build up on the lens and
camera body, potentially harming the camera.
Another thing to keep in mind is that batteries drain faster in cold
weather, so bring extras with you to a shoot.
Think about Exposure
When shooting in the snow, your camera will often poorly expose your
images. Even if you think your auto exposure does a good job of
reading light, check to make sure your images aren’t dark and gray.
Try to overexpose your pictures by just a little bit to compensate for
the camera reading the snow darker than it actually is. Sometimes the
snow will end up gray or slightly blue, so watch for the exposure and
color balance. If you shoot in RAW, you will be able to save images
that aren’t exposed correctly, but don’t use that as an excuse to
shoot without accurately adjusting your exposure.
Check your Shutter Speed
If it is actively snowing, using a fast shutter speed will capture the
falling snowflakes and create a magical feel. Using a slower shutter
speed will often blur the snow and make your images fuzzy. Be
creative with different shutter speeds, but make sure your images are
sharp and focused.
Find a Subject
Snow can be fun to take pictures of, but endless white pictures often
become boring. Find a subject other than the snow to focus on and
enhance your images. Maybe shoot some portraits outside or find a
scenic landscape to add interest. A red house or barn adds a
beautiful pop of color to a white background. Whatever you find as a
main subject, make sure it adds character and breathes life into an
otherwise boring image.
If you’re feeling creative, try black and white photography! The snow
adds a nice contrast with other objects and subjects and can make for
some beautiful black and white photos. You can try this either from
the camera settings or in post processing. Something else to try in
post processing is a white vignette. On some snow images, a tasteful
white vignette can add a magical feel!
You can also try HDR in the snow to create some unique pictures.
Even if it’s cold out, don’t be afraid to grab your camera and take
pictures outside. The snow can create some unique opportunities for