If you scroll through social media or watch the news here in the midwest, you know what the main topic of conversation is lately.... the weather, the cold, the deep freeze. We have snow, we have cold, we have the run to your car to the building as fast as you can and when the heck is spring? So when we have a 60 degree temperature swing this coming weekend, what will you be doing? I hope getting outside and taking some pictures of this beautiful snow!
Here are some Tips for photographing in the winter for your gear, camera settings and subjects.
Your camera and lens do not like moisture, period! You need to protect your equipment. Rain sleeves are available for purchase or you can use a plastic bag or even a towel. Keep a lens cleaning towel handy to keep moisture, water droplets or snow off of your lens.
It is best to choose your lens and stick with it before you head out. You don't want to be changing lens in the field with the potential of moisture getting to your camera or lens.
When we take our equipment from the warmth of our house or car to a much cooler temperature, you will get fogging of the lens and viewfinder. If you can let your camera acclimate to the weather before attempting to use it, do so. Some photographers recommend an hour before shooting images but I think as long as the viewfinder fog is gone, you should be set.
Your batteries will not last that long in the cold. Any battery will drain in the cold so don't leave extra batteries in your camera bag but put them in your pants pocket or a pocket close to you and your body warmth. And always bring a few extras.
Exposure and White Balance:
Snow is white and as we all know super bright. How do expose for that? Try exposing for the snow by pushing your highlights as high as they can go without loosing any details. You want to slightly overexpose by using the exposure compensation dial up by 1 or 2 stops and you will have white snow in your image. Otherwise you will end up with gray snow.
Snow can take on different hues of gray and blue. You want to make sure you set your white balance accordingly so you have white snow. The camera gets confused in the bright snow because your camera thinks the world is grey. Try using the cloudy white balance setting or manually setting the white balance with a grey card. If it is a gloomy or overcast day raise your ISO to bring more light into your camera. You want to capture the brightness of the snow.
Always make sure your subjects are dressed properly for winter. This goes for furry friends too. Please make sure its not too cold for their paws and noses. It is fun to add a pop of color from a scarf or hat into winter images. Snow can sparkle and add a magical feeling to your images. It is always fun to have your subject throw snow up into the air and capture it falling.
Composition is important in your photographs. Use your subject with leading lines or an element that can frame your subject to add interest into your image. If you are out when it is snowing, place your subject against a darker background so you can capture the falling snow.
But last but not least have fun! Of course you are going to have fun, it takes a special kind of person to go out and enjoy this weather. If you take any image this weekend, please share them with me! I'd love to see what all of you are capturing. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org