It’s only the beginning of September, but winter will be here before you know it. Before you make plans to stash your camera away for warmer weather, think again. Winter can be a great time to snap some pretty amazing photos. Of course, you do need to do some extra planning before venturing out into the cold. Let our experience at Michael Broyles Photography guide your first steps as you explore the world of winter photography. Below are some very basic tips to get you started.
It goes without saying that colder temperatures demand warmer clothing; however, it can come as a surprise to amateur photographers just how quickly they can lose heat in snowy weather. Dress warmly from head to toe and consider wearing layers if you plan to be outside in exceptionally cold weather or for an extended period of time. You can always remove a layer if you get too warm. If you plan to do a lot of photography outdoors in the winter, it might be worth investing in a pair of shooter’s gloves which allow you to pull a finger out to snap a shot. Otherwise, a pair of gloves or mittens that can be removed easily should work fine. Finally, charge up your batteries before heading out, and keep your camera safely ensconced in a camera bag while not in use to prevent it from getting too cold and the lenses from fogging over.
Pick the Right Conditions
Snow is highly reflective and a bright, sunny day can make taking pictures in the snow downright difficult. You will have better luck snapping shots when there is a good bit of cloud cover to filter out and dampen the sunlight. If your aim is to capture a pristine, snowy landscape, then the sooner you can get outside after a snowfall, the better. And watch where you walk once you are outside. Footprints tracking through the snow can make a great photo; however, you cannot return the snow to its original state which can be an issue if you had planned to take a picture of that area sans footprints.
Use the Correct Exposure
It sounds counterintuitive, but you will need to overexpose your images for whiter, crisper snow. Although it may look bright enough to the human eye, snow often shows up looking blue or grayed out in photographs. You can enhance the look of snow in one of several ways. One method is to set a custom white balance. Another is to brighten the exposure using the exposure compensation button. If it gets too bright, you can always tone it down later using an image editing program.
Vary Your Shutter Speed
From slow to fast, your camera’s shutter speed can help you photograph a range of images in snowy weather. For example, you will want to choose a slower shutter speed when the wind is calm and to capture the variations in light that occur during certain times of the day, like sunrise and sunset. A faster shutter speed is required for snapping photos in falling snow or if there is strong wind blowing. The faster speed will allow you to capture individual snowflakes more vividly, without the blur that can occur at slower shutter speeds.
Try Different Techniques
Wintertime poses some great opportunities to experiment with the photographs you take. Here are some suggestions to add some creativity to your everyday shots.
- A vast, snowy scene can be striking, but seeking out contrasting colors, such as a red object against white snow, can be equally eye-catching.
- One the other end of the spectrum, a winter landscape shot in black and white is timeless and beautiful in its own right.
- It does not always have to be about the snow! Look for other elements or interesting objects to capture with the snow as a backdrop. Nature photography in winter, for instance, can be particularly lovely.
- Simple is better, especially in winter photography. Zoom in on a single object or person and frame against a snowy background for a strong, sharp image.
Not enamored of the cold? No worries…give Michael Broyles Photography a call for your winter season photo needs. It is never too early to plan your annual family Christmas portrait!