Winter Photography SA Photographers

Winter Photography – A Complete Guide!

winter photography

Winter Photography is a beautiful medium and the process does not have to leave you cold in the least! We agree that the process involved with Winter Photography might be slightly more complicated than that of a sunny day shoot, but the added effort will most definitely translate in some gorgeous results. 

A Quick Overview of our Winter Photography Review:

Depending where you find yourself in the world, winter can turn your surroundings into a true wonderland, including snow covered landscapes and the northern lights.  The different perspective will make a great addition to any photographers portfolio – if you learn how to do it right! So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know in order to capture your own winter wonderland magic!

Use faster shutter speeds to capture moving snow

If you are one of the lucky photographers who live in a country with snowfall this tip is for you! The effect of falling snow looks simply stunning and adds magic to any scene. To avoid any motion blur, you must make sure that you set your shutter speed correctly! We recommend that you use a speed of 1/250, and even faster if lighting allows for it.

Your Batteries will drain superfast in the cold!

You need to keep your batteries as warm as possible when you venture out in the chilly outdoors as cold batteries lose their charge fairly quick! This, luckily, doesn’t need any added equipment and by simply putting your batteries inside of a jacket pocket will keep them warm enough. And as always, no matter the weather prediction – bring extra batteries just in case!

Adjusted Exposure. Higher Compensation.

When your composition exposure is increased between +0.3EV to +0.7EV, you will be able to capture the pure whiteness of a snowy scene. Take a few test shots in order to find the right composition exposure value and make sure to look how white the snow appears. If the composition exposure is not increased enough the snow may have a less then appealing grey color.

Gear, Snow & Moisture – O My!

Protect your gear! When shooting outdoors, dry powdered snow will not damage your camera, but do not wipe your lens using your hand! Use your glove, sleeve or small soft towel as the heat from your hand will melt the snow resulting in water seeping into your camera.  Also keep humidity  in mind when you head indoors. Your lens will fog up with condensation and although you can wipe it off of your lens, condensation will build up inside your camera as well. Potential harm alert! The best solution would be to place your camera into an airtight bag or container before heading inside.

Zoom in!

A prime lens will get you a great shot, but – it doesn’t truly offer the flexibility you will need when shooting outdoors. For instance, you may want to take a macro shot of a beautiful snowflake, followed by a landscape shot right after – and as we have mentioned above, in the outdoors a quick lens change can to more harm than good! So, opt for that Zoom lens and keep your gear nice and dry!

Later sunrises, earlier sunsets

The best time for a glorious landscape shot is known as the Golden Hours! Hey it’s true! – we don’t make the news – we just report it! 1 hour after sunrise & 1 hour before sunset will give you the best opportunity to take an amazing landscape shot.  The good news? Winter will not have you out of bed by 4am to capture the summer sunrise. Check your local weather report the day before to see the times for the sunrise and sunset.

Add some contrast.

With all the white from the snow, your photos will properly need a little something extra when editing as the colours and contrast may seem rather dull. Quick fix tip – Simply increase and adjust your blacks, contrast, vibrance and shadows to bring life back into your photo. Easy!

winter photography

Now not all of us are part of the winter wonderland tribe, and may prefer to focus on clients instead of a snowflake. And there are some top tips for you too! Let’s get to it!

Check your Exposure settings

Keep this little line in mind when you take on your first Winter Portfolio or family shoot. “Snow White be Bright!” in fact – super bright! Tweak your highlights up as far as possible.  Take a few test shots first before your client arrives in order to be prepared when the time comes.

Prop it like it’s hot!

Especially in family shoots where there will be kids involved, keeping their attention could be more complicated than predicting the snow fall. Keep an eye out for appropriate props such as cute jackets, hats, mittens, scarves and boots that you can pick up and incorporate into your winter images.  Our favourite is a hot mug of cocoa on a cold day.  Simply pack a cup and flask – done!

And last, but not least –

Keep yourself warm!

An outdoors winter shoot can be challenging and keeping yourself warm is very important.  Layers are not just for photoshop people! Being overdressed will allow for layers to be removed, but a freezing “tog” may just result in a horrible experience all-round! Boots, Gloves and a Hat are must haves!

In Conclusion

Have fun! Winter offers up beauty in the simplest of moments for those who are willing (and brave enough) to face the cold.  Catch snowflakes and tossing snowballs – the ideas are endless!