Winter is a great time for photographers, with snow and ice transforming the landscape. Winter gives you a lot of creative options, and you don’t need an expensive digital SLR camera to take great winter photos. Creativity is more important than photographic equipment. These tips will help you to get more out of your winter photos.
1) Don’t be overwhelmed by scenes with snow.
Vast areas of featureless snow do not look good in photographs. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by a snow-covered scenery, and some photographers snap away expecting their shots will look great. Vast expanses of snow can look quite dull in photographs, and it’s important to look for foreground elements to add some sense of scale and interest. The texture in snow, such as ridges, can also add interest. What the sense of magic snow brings to the world isn’t easy to capture in photographs.
2) Correct exposure.
Vast expanses of snow can fool the metering systems of most cameras, and switching to manual mode is the safe way to ensure proper exposure. Using automatic metering can lead to underexposed pictures, and snow can look gray rather than white. If your camera has the facility, look at histograms to check for an even range of tones. If your camera doesn’t allow manual metering or exposure, use the exposure override facility and take shots at different exposures.
3) Timing is everything.
Keep an eye on the weather, and be ready to get out and start shooting when the snow is fresh on the ground, and trees covered in snow. Once footprints appear and the snow starts to melt it can lose its appeal. Pristine snow looks gorgeous, but it soon looks patchy and untidy. Have your camera and equipment packed and ready to go, and get outside as soon as the snow falls.
4) Watch your gear.
Low temperatures and moisture can damage cameras and other equipment. Taking your camera out into the snow from the warmth indoors can lead to condensation. Leaving your gear in a cooler part of the house before going outside helps reduce the risk of fogged up lenses and viewfinders. If your camera gets wet outside, wipe it dry with a clean cloth before storing it away. In extreme temperatures, the metal legs of tripods can become brittle so treat with extra care. Wipe them dry after use to prevent corrosion.
5) Capture the fun of winter.
Winter is a great time for landscape and nature photography, but it’s also a great backdrop for photographing people. Children playing in the snow and adults wrapped up in winter clothing are a great subject for pictures. Encouraging children to play in the snow is an excellent way to capture the sense of fun of winter. Set your camera to shutter priority mode to freeze the action of snowball fights and other action.
6) Keep it simple.
You need to work quickly in the winter environment, so keep equipment to a minimum. A digital SLR with a zoom lens is ideal, but a compact camera can also produce excellent results when used creatively. Be ready to shoot quickly and put your camera away if snow is falling. Changing lenses on an SLR camera when it’s snowing can lead to expensive repair bills, and sticking to a single lens is a safe option.
7) Brighten snow in the digital darkroom.
If the snow lacks a bright white appearance in your photographs, don’t be afraid to use image editing software to enhance it. A few simple adjustments will correct any exposure problems and give you pristine looking snow.