Snow can quite possibly be one of the trickiest subjects to photograph. Because of it’s intense reflections and clear coloring, your camera may have a tendency to turn the snow in your image either blue or yellow, both of which are not what our eyes see.
The first real snowfall finally reached Chicago, and a post regarding snow photography seemed rather appropriate. Whether you have or have not experimented with snow as a subject, these helpful tips will ensure you in fact, have white snow in your image.
Some cameras, for those of you who are lucky, have a “snow” or “winter” setting built in which does correct many mistakes your camera might make with colors. Two important things to remember are, white balance, and not over-exposing your photos.
Here are some simple tips to improve the appearance of snow photographs:
- Contrast – Snow is usually a non-dimensional subject because it is usually just white or grey. When shooting snow, make sure to wait for a clear day, preferably with blue sky to eliminate the dullness or photographs that come with an overcast day.
- Exposure – If you’re one of the luckier photographers with a snow setting on your camera, go ahead and use this because your camera will automatically take in to account the exposure changes needed. For the rest of us, bump up your exposure to +1 allowing for your camera to adjust the light and create a less grey or less flat looking image.
- Lighting – Snow is a very reflective subject so make sure to not shoot directly into the sun. Instead, stand where the sun hits your subject at a right angle early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. This is the best lighting for shooting and especially early in the morning if you were lucky to get a full snow over night.
Always remember to branch out with different ideas when using snow in your images. Different perspectives are far more interesting, as in any photo, but especially in snow because of all of the possibilities. Here are a couple ideas to jumpstart your snow adventures this winter:
- Capture someone making a snow angel on the ground with a slow shutter speed to capture the movement with their legs and arms.
- Take a picture of a snowman from ground-level looking up and making it appear much larger than normal.
- Don’t just take a picture of a snow covered tree. Go “macro” and get close up to the branches, especially of a pine tree and capture each bristle covered in snow.
And as usual, have fun! The bonus of digital photography is that if your first few shots do not turn out, you can always take more.
Did this post help you with photographing snow? Please share your images in the comments section, I’d love to see what you captured.