So, perhaps you’ve mastered the art of taking photos in the warm months, but what happens when the chill returns to the air? You might be left wondering how to make any of your photos differ from one another if everything is covered in that blanket of white snow, so here are eight tips for capturing the loveliest set of winter photos.
1. Bundle up
You may have a set of clothes that you use when shooting. Your routine will have to be modified a bit, depending on the weather. While bringing layers of coats and jackets is a given, one of the essential items to remember is a pair of water-resistant gloves. It will be easier to move snow (if necessary) or toss a handful in front of the lens for a flurrying effect. There are also gloves made especially for winter photography, which will give your fingers the ability to adjust modes on your camera while keeping them warm. Believe me when I tell you that photographing in any sort cold weather without gloves can be an unpleasant experience. Also, just as important, don’t forget to wear the right pair of shoes, either!
2. Get there early
Snap a photo that reflects how quiet and peaceful the Earth can be before humans have a chance to intervene. Try looking for natural landscapes because images can be more exciting if it seems as though the photographer is the only one who will ever be able to see the landscape just how it is at that moment. Alternatively, if you’re looking to shoot in the city, go out and photograph recently fallen snow in the early hours of the morning or even at night. The juxtaposition of the lights/architecture of the town and the fleeting beauty of undisturbed snow will make for a fantastic photo.
3. Catch a sunny day or a full moon
One of the most amazing things about snow is how reflective it is. Photograph when there is a fresh blanket of snow on the ground and a bright moon. You will see your landscape almost as well as in daylight with the naked eye. Alternatively, if you shoot on a sunny day, you can catch the glint of the snow when the sun hits it (you may need to use a polarizing filter to avoid the reflection of the sun), or maybe the intricacies of a single snowflake as the light shines through it. The art of capturing something small, such as a snowflake, and making it seem large in a photo is called macro photography; for macro photography, you’ll need a special macro lens. This type of image can be advantageous if you can provide a window into a tiny world no one sees daily.
4. Adjust your camera’s exposure
To capture pictures of snow the right way, you will need to increase the exposure on your camera. Because of the reflective qualities of snow, your camera will have a hard time registering the amount of light coming through the lens. In other words, it will get tricked into thinking there is too much light and so it will underexpose your image. To make up for it, you will need to overexpose your image so that the snow looks more white rather than grey in your photo.
5. Buy a telephoto lens
Consider using a telephoto lens. This type of lens has a longer focal length and will capture scenes in a way wide-angle lenses cannot. The great thing about a telephoto lens is that it compresses distances in a scene which can give a pleasing result in photos in general. In the snow-filled scene, this can look great. Splurging on the right kind of equipment can be expensive, but if you have the means, this type of lens will carry your winter photos to the next level.
6. Remember to keep your camera safe
If your camera somehow gets wet with rain or snow, refrain from trying to wipe it off because you could end up pushing moisture into the crevices of your camera instead of having the desired effect of drying it. Instead, it is recommended that you bring your camera inside and leave it wrapped in a towel until it is dry. This way, you do not risk the safety of your camera with a hasty reaction. Also, to prevent your camera from getting wet in the first place, there are unique covers that will help protect it from the weather.
7. Bring batteries
When shooting in the winter, your battery life will not be nearly as long because batteries lose charge quicker in cold weather. To avoid ending up in your perfect location with a dead camera, keep a pair of batteries close to your body in your pocket. This will keep them warm and ensure that you won’t miss that perfect shot if the weather is not cooperating. Backup plans are critical!
8. Try something different
If you feel as though you’ve captured enough of the winter landscape and you’re itching for a change, try to capture what life is like inside when it’s cold outside. Photos of people or pets relaxing by the fire will communicate to your viewer what the temperature is like outside, and it will be like telling a full story of that day in one still image. Maybe you’ll decide to capture the heart-warming scene of the family sat around a fire. Perhaps there is an old holiday decoration that wants to be brought back to life through photography, or maybe you’ll come across a simple scene of someone set up with a book, a warm blanket, and a mug of hot cocoa. Sometimes the answer to our creativity roadblocks exist in places we weren’t looking before, so try introducing some new scenes to your repertoire.
Winter is one of the best seasons for landscape photography. The crisp and cold air means there is less haze in the sky and shorter days means you are able to shoot sunrises and sunsets, not at crazy times in the day. But winter photography isn’t easy, so don’t shy away from the challenge, and try your luck at winter photography with these eight tips. You never know what kind of beautiful images you will discover in some of the harshest conditions.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.