It’s December and for many of us living in the northern climates, snow is on the way! If you enjoy getting outdoors in the winter, the cold weather presents a few more photography challenges.
Fresh snowfall can make beautiful images unique from any other season, but you will need to prepare more than usual if you decide to leave your warm and comfy home.
Here are 15 tips to know before you go out in the cold for snow photography.
1. Bring extra batteries and keep them warm
When you’re photographing in cold climates, it is important to bring extra batteries. They drain much faster in the winter, especially if you use Live View to help compose your shots. It’s a good idea to keep a spare battery readily accessible, like in your warm jacket pocket.
2. Expose properly
Your camera’s metering system is standardized for middle gray. Normally, this works great for moderately sunny landscapes where there is a lot of balanced colors (not too bright or dark).
However, the bright white snow throws the system off because your camera is looking for a balance. Instead of the bright snow that has fallen before you, your photos are gray.
What can you do?
You need to tell your camera about the freshly fallen snow by increasing the exposure. This can be done several ways:
a. Increase the exposure compensation. Start by going up 1/3 full stop and adjusting from there. This lets more light into the scene so that your freshly fallen snow looks white, not dull.
b. Meter your exposure. Set the exposure so that it takes several photos of the same image at lighter and darker exposures.
c. Shoot in RAW so that you can adjust the settings in post processing.
d. When in doubt, lean towards a slightly overexposed photo, which will help convey the whiteout conditions, the cold, and also a sense of calmness.
Personally, I always do #a and #c – I ALWAYS shoot in RAW and for bright scenes like snow, increase your exposure.