How to make great looking winter photos?

Shooting in winter has several of its own specialties which you must respect and understand them before you will be able to shoot excellent winter photos. Don’t afraid to take photos in winter. The fun on snow, the winter nature or photos of winter sports, these all kind of photos will be nice with a few tips.

1. Temperature, weather & ice

With dropping temperature suffers not only our camera but also you yourself. Somebody who waited for a hour in snow for a winter photo surely tells you about it. Man could use more clothes or some other ways to warm up (Scotch whisky, looking at monthly payments, score of your children in school, …), however, in temperatures bellow zero significantly drops also quality of batteries.

This is especially true with NiMHs, but LiIons suffers too. You could choose one of two ways, how to solve it: Throw in your pursue some extra batteries or simply put accumulators into camera just before shooting, then take them out, put somewhere near body because of temperature above zero + repeat process as needed.

Other important thing is, how to keep balance on frozen earth? As you probably personally noticed with your own ice falls, man almost every time falls on his back. That is because of people tending to keep center of gravity slightly in front of them. If you want to spend most of time on your feet apply these two simple tricks – lower your center of gravity (you've seen in thousand times in kung-fu movies) and secondly, try to keep it precisely in middle or slightly at back. IT needs some practice, as all, but you will be surprised, how it nicely works - believe our back!

And how to protect objectives against falling snow while taking winter photos? Very effective protector is common sunshade, just keep it off from the direct forward wind which will immediately bring tons of snowflakes on your objective.

2. Underexposition in winter

If you leave setting of exposure values on automatic mode, you will usually end with very dark photos of snowy nature and persons in it. So you have to change the camera settings when taking winter photos. Somebody may even ask, if his digital camera is functioning properly, well actually it is and it does only what it was set for – before taking photo in “Auto” or “P” modes your internal CPU splits screen on many small parts and count exposition precisely so, that total summarization of all brightness's bring middle shadow – i.e. color with exactly of 17% of reflected light (in RGB 127, 127, 127).

Although it works relatively great on common conditions (shooting in summer nature, parties, friends sitting by table, …), there are some limitations of this. So you have usually 4 basic choices.

  1. At first, take winter photos with full manual – greatest, but needs a lot of experience.
  2. At second, you may use auto-modes plus EV correction (must be set according to presence of snow in photo between +0.3 EV up to 2 EV).
  3. At third – activate scenery mode “Snow” or something like it.
  4. And finally, if your camera got it, use exposure bracketing and experiment with various types of sceneries up to best results.

3. White balance and winter photos

While shooting on snow, you probably noticed, that your white is not precisely white, as it should be. Well, this problem is very challenging, because it behave in various conditions and altitudes differently. In common it should be enough to keep settings of white as you are used to – Sunny, Shadow, Cloudy etc.

Very good method how to avoid this all is shooting into RAW, which is unluckily available only to persons with more pricey cameras. You may of course shoot into JPEG and then important picture correct manually on PC. If your camera supports this function, do not hesitate to use “Point & Shoot” white + point it on snow to say camera, what white is. True photographers of course should use in this occasion middle shadow on real table.

Do you like taking photos in winter? Let us know in comments below this article.