That time of year is almost upon us again – snow time! Here are our top photography tips for taking photos in the snow this winter.
Wrap up warm
It may sound obvious that you should wrap up warm when taking your camera outside in the winter, but we are not just thinking about your health (though for sure we care about this too!). Actually what we have in mind is to make sure you don’t spoil your shots by and shaking. Remember to put on your woolly hat and gloves (fingerless ones are great if you have any) before you go outside.
Keep your camera and batteries warm too
Unless you are out in extreme cold temperatures, your camera itself should operate fine. If it is really very cold don’t keep your camera out for too long at a time and try to keep it in an inside pocket when you are not using it. The warmth from your body will warm the camera up again. Batteries are move of an issue, as they will lose their charge very quickly in extreme temperatures. Make sure to take a spare set of batteries or two with you and keep these in an inside pocket too.
Get up early
Not only is the light better for taking photos of the snow early in the day, but if it snowed heavily in the night this will also be the best time of the day. Taking your snaps while the snow is still crisp and clean and before there are footprints absolutely everywhere will end up with much better results.
Get down low
If you are taking a photo of something in the snow (like a snowman) rather than just the snowy landscape itself, try to get down low. This may lead to cold and wet knees but will result in the background not being completely filled with snow. A snowman with a background of bushes or houses shows up much better than a snowman with a snowy background. To solve the cold/wet knees issue, take an old piece of carpet matting with you to protect them.
Check to see if your camera has a special preset automatic mode for taking pictures in the snow. If so, turn it on. If you want to know the technical jargon behind how your pink camera’s snow mode works – what it does it do reduce the exposure settings to avoid the photo being over-exposed (too much light) and compensate the white-balance to avoid the photos being off colour. If these is no snow mode on your camera, check the manual to see if the white-balance and exposure-compensation settings can be manually set.
Things to consider on sunny days
As mentioned above, photos of snow can often come out the wrong colour. On sunny days with clear blue skies this can be especially problematic, with snow turning out like it has been in a blue rinse. While this effect can be fun, most of the time it is not what you wanted. While it can be corrected quite well on your computer later (with a tool like Photoshop Elements), it is better to get it right from the start. Experiment with the white-balance settings available to you on your particular model.
Also an issue on snowy sunny days are shadows. Especially in winter with the sun low in the sky, the shadows seem to get everywhere. Consider where you are standing in relation to the sun and check for shadows before shooting (or at least before you go home and it is too late to take another shot).
Use flash to light up faces
Light reflects off the snow and bounces lots of it into the lens. Because of this peoples faces will often be forced into shadowy silhouettes. This can be avoided by simply turning on the camera’s flash and filling the subjects face with light to compensate the background.