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  • Laura Paton

10 Tips for Photographing in the Snow

Most people can’t wait for a warm spring day to go out and make photographs. But winter is a perfect time to photograph too. Dress warm and follow the tips I’ve outlined below to get some dramatic snow images.

1. Your camera’s battery will drain much faster in cold weather. Be prepared with a spare battery or plan your time accordingly. Keep your spare battery in a pocket close to your body until ready to use. Your body heat will help to keep it from draining so quickly.

2. Many consumer level cameras have a snow scene setting that will over ride the camera’s internal meter to give you a brighter photo. If your camera doesn’t, it is very simple to do yourself. Just dial in plus 1 to 2 extra stops of exposure compensation. If this doesn’t make sense to you, please read my previous blog on how to properly expose for a snow scene.

3. For an interesting composition, remember to use the rule of thirds (moving the subject off the center of the scene), leading lines, patterns, shadows, contrasting colors (anything red in the snow looks great) and silhouettes.

4. If you go out early in the morning before the sun melts the frozen dew, you might be able to find some interesting subjects with lots of detail. Frozen dew covered spider’s webs, frost covered berries and blades of grass make great detail shots. Move in close or use a telephoto lens and turn off the flash. The flash will reflect off the ice and cause distracting highlights.

5. f it is really cold out, you may need to give your camera time to acclimate to the temperature. If you pull your camera out as soon as you get outside, you may see the lens fog up. Instead, give your camera a few minutes before using it.

6. Lens flare is very common in the winter because of the low sunlight. So to avoid ugly lens flare, be sure to use your lens hood. If your lens did not come with a hood you can use your hand or the bill of a ball cap to block straying light.

7. Protect your camera. You don’t want to get the electronics in your camera wet, so cover it will a plastic bag or you can buy a specially made cover.

8. Snow scenes look great in monochrome. After you’ve taken your photo try converting it to black and white.

9. Making snow photos at night is actually easier than you might think. You are going to need a tripod and you may need to increase the ISO. Sometimes the light from street lights reflecting off falling snow is enough. It’s always a game of trial and error, but that’s what makes photographing at night so enjoyable.

10. Turn off your flash and experiment with different shutter speeds. The flash just makes falling snow look like ugly white blobs. A show shutter speed will make falling snow blur itself into long foggy streaks. Which can be nice, but I usually prefer a faster shutter speed. A fast shutter speed gives you those big puffy flakes. 1/250th of a second is good place to start and experiment from there.

I hope this week’s blog was helpful. Want to learn more? Sign up for a private lesson or pull together a few friends for a small group lesson for a special rate. Let’s get out there and make some spectacular photographs together.

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