Winter photography tips - tips for taking winter shots

I was wondering if anybody here would like to share some good winter photography tips. With winter arriving in many countries, it’s a great opportunity to make beautiful pictures of a white world.

But I’m sure there are some important points to focus on when taking shots in a white surrounding - any tips are welcome!

Feel free to post your pictures here too! :smiley:

Well, I’ll start. Back in my High School photography class we learned to ‘bracket’ our exposures (take several pictures, some with more exposure and some with less). An expensive lesson back then (we used film) but in this era of digital ‘film’ very inexpensive. On my cheap SamSung pocket camera you pick ‘Program Mode’ and can go up or down two whole stops in half stop increments. So read your manual and don’t be afraid of switching from ‘Auto’.

I find that many cameras struggle to get the white balance right in snow in the auto-white balance mode, often resulting in a bluish looking image. One way around this is to experiment with the white balance mode, e.g. try setting it to “Cloudy” or “Flash”. You may need to switch the mode dial to “P” (Program) mode first. Alternatively, set the white balance to custom, point the camera at some pure white snow and press shutter. Of course, if you’re shooting throughout the day, you’ll need to repeat this process as the lighting conditions change, especially towards sunset.

I guess switching off the auto-flash is also a good idea :slight_smile:

Have any of you noticed a decrease in batterylife when it’s cold outside? I think this also applies to your digicam when you go out to shoot winter pics.

So it might be a good tip to bring an extra battery (although this tip also applies outside the winter season :wink: )

Lots of “white” in any scene makes the camera meter think it means lots of light!
Therefore, there is a tendency for it to underexpose the image (it wants the standard range of tones)
There are several ways around it:

[li]Manual setting: usually about 1 stop over what the meter indicates
[/li][li]Auto: there´s a compensation dial…do the same thing and set it to +1 stop.
[/li][li]“Sand/snow scenes”: a feature on many digital cameras…handles it for you

The white balance as already mentioned may need to be looked at…but take the time to experiment as in some cases a bluish tint could “enhance” the impression of the cold, or try a yellowish tint as the sun goes down. Play around…with a digital camera you have lots of options and it costs nothing to test.

With some snowfall over the past week, I’ve experimented with a few ideas which work out pretty well:

If it’s snowing, set the flash to forced-on. It will light up the snowflakes, making them visible in the picture. The effect is much better with a brighter flash, such as a DSLR add-on flash.

Try taking photos outside in the dark with the flash. As the snow is white, the flash’s light will travel further and can give some interesting photos, especially if it is snowing. :slight_smile:

Hmm - little success with the camera of my Nexus One

This one was taken a few days ago on friday, when there was lots of snow here. I was having a hard time to find my bike :frowning: