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Shooting Snow

December 31, 2008 - Dave Hecei
Tips for better Winter Snow pictures.

1. Set your white balance to manual. The super bright snow can mess with automatic white balance functions on many digital cameras. Most cameras have several presets you can choose from - daylight, overcast, cloudy, indoor, fluorescent, etc. If available, try the manual white balance.

2. Use fill-flash. On a bright day, the snow can cause very harsh lighting conditions. If you subject is backlit even by the slightest amount, fill flash can work wonders. Check out your user manual for proper fill flash technique.

3. Shoot the action. Winter is full of winter sports. Action photography needs lots of light to allow for faster shutter speed to stop motion. Luckily when there is lots of white snow there is plenty of light. Remember to make sure your shutter speeds are up in the 1/250th or faster.

4. Look for bright colors. While crisp white snow is beautiful to some, injecting some nice bright warm tones will make for a more vibrant image. Look for reds, oranges, and yellows. These can be people wearing bright clothing, vehicles, or even buildings.

5. Take wide panoramic shots, but don't forget to get in close too. You don't have to try and take images of single snowflakes, which are cool subjects, but why not ice crystals on frozen windows or sunlight dancing through icicles.

Remember to keep yourself and your equipment warm and protected. Wear two pairs of gloves, a thin pair and a thick pair. Place your camera in a zip closed bag when returning inside. This will keep the condensation on the outside of the bag and not inside your camera. If you have a big gadget bag of equipment, keep it zipped up inside the bag and let it come up to room temperature before opening.


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