How to shoot winter images

(Last Updated On: 7. January 2018)

winter photography, winter images, winter pictures

The winter creates a special mood and has something magical.  Extreme weather can make it sometimes difficult to shoot. But this season can also bring clear air, frost, untouched snow and ice. You don’t need a cold weather to make great photos through the colder months. Whether snow or rain, clear blue sky, or dull; here are some helpful tips that will make your winter images stand out from the crowd.

Photography and snow

Snow really looks its best when it’s fresh. It looks fluffy and has a magical white that quickly disappears with even a hint of melt. If you want your winter images with snow  to stand out, get up early and shoot the freshest snow possible. This is especially true when you shooting forests cloaked in the white cape of snow.

White balance

Remember, white balance is crucial, especially during the post-processing when you are back home and upload your winter images on your PC. Therefore, always start with a correct white balance when you are shooting winter scenes. An accurate white balance will increase the chance you will create outstanding photos.

Overexposing for snow

Our cameras tend to underexpose snow scenes and let appear the white scenes looking a little bit grey. So make sure to overexpose the meter reading, and pay very close attention to your histogram of your digital camera. Overexposing to maximize image quality is something what photographers do routinely. When you are dealing with the snow, your histogram in your digital camera will give you an accurate sense of a good winter exposure.

Therefore, brighten your winter image as much as possible, pushing the histogram information more to the right. But remember not to overexpose that much you can not identify anything in your photo. This will create a clean, white snow and additionally increase details in the shadow areas. To hit the “sweet spot”, you need to practice a while and after this you will be able to adjust your camera quite quickly.

Saturation of your winter images

After you did the white balance and find the right overexposure, you should adjust the saturation on your digital camera. For winter images with a lot of snow you need to adjust the saturation to 100%. It depends on the model of your DSLR, so it does not make any sense to give you here a common explanation.  In this case, please read the manual of your digital camera.

winter images, winter pictures

Shooting snowy forests

Snow and ice are fantastic, but the winter offers lots of additional possibilities. The biggest issue for most people photographing forests is actually to find recognizably structures. Forests can often look quite chaotic, so it can be tricky to create a balanced and dynamic composition. Therefore, try to find a pattern and shapes free from distractions and look for a forest that has an uncluttered forest floor.

For example, you could find a single winter tree within the landscape and use its leafless structure as a foreground element. Then, scan the edges of your imaginary photo and ask yourself whether or not the image feels balanced. Is there an ugly horizontal line breaking up all those verticals which bring the structure and the tension?

winter images, winter pictures

Also, make sure to leave sufficient space in your foreground. But don’t be afraid to break some rules of photography. For example, you could make some excellent photos by excluding of the sky. Just try it and see what happens.

winter pictures, winter images

And don’t forget, you don’t need to shoot only landscapes, forests and trees. The winter gives you a lot of other opportunities to shoot some good winter images. So how about some winter images of icicles?

winter pictures, winter images, icicles

One more tip

When it is windy, make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze any movement. In this case either open your aperture (e. g. to f/8) or increase your ISO. Digital cameras have different sensitivities, depending on the manufacturer. So you need to test your camera at different ISOs. But don’t exaggerate with this. If you like to print your photo, you should keep your ISO at maximum of 400.


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