This is the tutorial for you if you’ve ever wondered how to shoot snow or how to capture snow falling.
When snowflakes fall, there is a natural desire to go outside and enjoy the magnificent sceneries they produce, whether you are young or elderly. If you’ve ever taken your camera out in the snow, you know how difficult it can be to get good photographs.
Cold weather, as well as getting your camera settings exactly so so you don’t end up with grey photographs, can be problematic.
So, in this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about taking amazing snow photos.
How to (Safely!) Take Pictures in Snow Outside
1. Prepare Your Camera Gear
There are a few things to consider before rushing out into a snowfall with your camera in hand!
Before shooting in the snow, make sure you and your camera equipment are safe. So, please follow the recommendations below – but go above and above if necessary.
- Camera – If at all feasible, we recommend choosing a weather-sealed camera. If you have the opportunity, carry a backup camera as well.
- Lens choice – It’s important to keep moisture out of your camera and lenses. As a result, changing lenses frequently is not advised (with condensation being an issue). With this in mind, we recommend utilising a zoom lens rather than a prime because you won’t be confined to a single focal length as you would with a prime. If you have the option, choose weather-sealed lenses.
- Camera and lens cover – We recommend using a rain cover with a drawstring to protect not only your camera but also your lens. If you don’t have one, a rubber band and a plastic bag will suffice! However, this is ineffective, and a competent rain cover, such as the Vortex Storm Jacket, may be purchased for a reasonable price. They’re great for shooting in all kinds of bad weather.
- Cleaning cloths – If your lenses fog up frequently, keep a supply of microfibre towels on hand.
- Camera bag – Many camera bags now have a rain cover that can be fastened as needed, which is great for keeping everything as dry as possible. Check out our comprehensive guide to the finest camera bags.
2. Prepare Your Camera Settings
Consider your camera settings once you’ve carefully set up your gear. Here are some pointers to help you get your camera settings exactly perfect for snow photography.
- Set camera to shoot in RAW – It’s difficult enough to get everything perfect on camera at the best of times; add snow to the mix, and things get much more complicated! As a result, shoot in raw to give yourself the most flexibility when it comes to adjusting WB, levels, and exposure in post-production.
- Use aperture priority – Aperture priority mode is a good place to start. You’ll have fewer things to modify this way, and you’ll spend less time with your fingers exposed to the cold while maintaining control over your depth of field.
- Use exposure compensation – You have less control over the exposure in aperture priority mode. So, when you need to overexpose or underexpose, employ exposure compensation – which is critical for snow photography, as we’ll discuss further below.
- White balance – Snow photos with auto white balance might be highly blue or very grey. Your camera misreads the dazzling white scene and incorrectly assumes the world is grey! If you wish to manually modify your WB, start at around 6500k and make tiny adjustments as needed. If you don’t want to set manual, you may utilise the ‘flash’ setting on your WB presets.
3. Over Expose to Avoid Grey Snow Photography
Your camera is now as safe as it can be, and your settings are ready – yet your photographs are still grey! What is the reason behind this? In the cold, how do you shoot pictures?
Your camera’s metre is set to expose for a’middle grey’ image, which is OK in most circumstances but not in the ones we’re dealing with here. Even if your metre says your exposure is perfect, your photographs may tell a different tale.
Try overexposing by 0.7 or +1 to achieve that dazzling blinding white effect of snow. Overexposure is a simple technique that may result in stunningly white, natural-looking winter images.
Please keep in mind that even when overexposing, your photographs will have a small blue cast, and shooting in RAW may entice you to get rid of all the blue in your images – but be careful, this might result in highly artificial appearing snow photography.
The snow is reflecting the blue sky, which is why your image looks blue or extremely blue. If there is direct sunshine on the snow, it will be less blue, making it simpler to achieve that ‘bright white’ appearance in your photographs.
4. How to Photograph Falling Snow
We’ve already said that shooting snow pictures with aperture priority is a good idea. However, this is a good place to start when creating snowy sceneries. What if you want to capture the beautiful white flakes as they fall? ” If you’re photographing falling snow, set your camera to manual mode so you can manage the shutter speed. You may now choose whether to photograph the snow as individual flakes or to photograph the movement of the snow as it falls in streaks or lines.”
Longer exposures (less than 1/100) start to reveal movement. Longer exposures will reveal flakes or particles of snow; accelerate the shutter speed even quicker, and these will vanish.
So, depending on the vibe you want to create, explore. You should be able to get away with a 1/30 exposure if you’re shooting handheld with your zoom at its widest setting, say 24mm.
A quicker shutter speed, on the other hand, may better portray the sensation of falling snow, while a slow shutter might result in a misty or indistinct photograph. To freeze snowflakes in the air while maintaining a small sense of movement, use a shutter speed of 1/250 or higher.
5. For a stunning snow photo, try black and white conversions
Snowy photographs may be taken in black and white or monochromatic mode as well as in colour. Simply increase the contrast and whites, and keep an eye on your tone curve.
If you’re not cautious, it’s possible to end up with a very grey image, as we’ve previously seen.
6. Consider Your Subject for Your Snow Photography
Consider what you want to photograph while considering how to capture images in the snow.
A metropolis or bustling street, as well as a wintry environment, may be quite powerful. Figures can also be incorporated into your sceneries.
The contrast of brilliant white against a person or figures within the landscape may be quite powerful.
7. Go out and Shoot in Snowy Conditions
So, when people flee for their lives, why not take a risk and capture it? Don’t let the ‘poor’ weather deter you.
We’ve provided you with the tools to picture falling snow, so get out there and attempt to capture that special ambiance. As the snow falls, you may photograph melancholy landscapes or cityscapes, or you might seek out individuals to give a human aspect to your photos.
” People are wrapping their jackets around them and putting their umbrellas up… As the snow begins to fall, there are a plethora of atmospheric possibilities to capture. “
Of course, when photography in the snow, exercise caution. It’s best to observe from a window with a hot drink if there’s a true blizzard, and then photograph the pristine snowy surfaces left behind when it’s safe to do so.
8. Use Manual Focus for Sharp Images
It might be tough to concentrate on a completely white, snowy landscape, especially with autofocus. You may keep hunting for your autofocus for as long as you want! As a result, utilise manual focus.
You may check your focus accuracy by using live view and zooming in on the image.
9. The Right Clothing to Keep Yourself Safe
It’s not just your camera that has to be protected; you should also keep yourself safe and comfortable. So, before you shoot, check the weather prediction; if there are any weather warnings, as we’ve previously mentioned, we recommend waiting until the severe weather passes.
But, if you think it’s safe to go out and photograph snow (and, of course, you should make this decision for yourself based on the best information available on the weather conditions where you are), make sure you’re ready.
First and foremost, dress warmly! If possible, layer up and wear waterproof top layers. A sweater, coat, gloves, hat, and scarf may be required. If you’re in a really chilly climate, bring a second jumper. Again, it’s up to you to make this decision; just make sure you’re safe and comfortable before you begin photographing snow.
You may even acquire specialised gloves that allow you to operate with cameras and cellphones while wearing them. You’ll need your fingers, and you don’t want to be removing your gloves all the time to alter settings and click your shutter in the cold.
Finally, remember to dress appropriately and be mindful of your surroundings (like slippery surfaces and ice).
Again, you must make the final decision on all clothes and footwear to fit your surroundings – these are only suggestions.
10. Use On-Camera Flash to Illuminate Snow Flakes
If you’re photographing falling snow at night, attach a flash to your camera and direct it forward. If your camera has one and you don’t have a speedlight, you can also utilise the built-in flash.
Set your camera to manual mode and enable matrix metering. Then, without the flash turned on, take an exposure reading to expose for the entire scene.
Turn your flash on while keeping your settings on Manual to maintain the same metering. The result will be overexposed foreground snowflakes with a well-exposed background and overall landscape.
11. Use Lens Hoods and Filters to Protect Your Lenses
Although most lenses come with lens hoods, you may not use them frequently. Lens hoods, on the other hand, come in handy while photographing snow.
They will not only keep falling snow off your lens, but they will also function as a barrier against the cold. Condensation on your lens will be reduced as a result of this.
To protect your lens, you should also apply a filter.
12. Use Your Histogram to Check Exposures
When viewing your photographs on your camera’s LCD screen, inconsistencies might occur, especially when shooting in strong white light.
So, check your exposure using your histogram to make sure you don’t entirely blow out the scene and lose detail that can’t be recovered, even in Raw. However, as we’ve just covered, you may wish to overexpose your photograph on occasion.
However, before you go out and start shooting in the snow, you need know how to access your histogram on your camera for a picture.
13. Keep Your Batteries Warm!
In the colder months, it might be difficult to keep batteries warm. If they become too cold, they may cease to operate.
Keep a fully charged backup battery, or two or three spares, on hand — and keep them warm. Keep your backup batteries in the inside pocket of your jacket; not only will they stay warm, but they’ll also stay dry.
Don’t be alarmed if your battery suddenly runs out or dies! Remove a spare and continue shooting.
14. Try Snow Photography at Sunrise or Sunset
Including a sunrise or sunset in your snow photos may be quite powerful. Sunlight pouring straight onto the snow, as we’ve already discussed, is a tremendous assist for truly dazzling white snow photographs.
As a result, if you photograph a sunrise or sunset, your photographs will have a warmer or bluer tint. Don’t battle it; instead, embrace it and get a natural photograph of the sun rising or sinking over a gorgeous snowy scene.
15. Take Your Camera Back into the Warm Safely
While it’s time to go inside and warm up, moisture and condensation will have accumulated on your equipment, so keep this in mind when returning inside.
If your camera has snow on it, brush it off with a glove rather than leaving it on the camera since it will convert to water as soon as it gets warm.
Then, upon entering, instead of leaving your belongings in your bag, place them on a table and allow them to gently recover to room temperature. Finally, don’t remove the lens until it’s completely dry; otherwise, moisture will have an additional opportunity to enter the camera’s workings.