With the landscapes transformed under a blanket of white, winter is a great time to get out and capture the unique snowy scenery. However, in order to properly capture these scenes, there are a few things to keep in mind. To help out, we gathered our photographers' best tips and tricks for winter shooting. With these in mind, you'll be able to capture distinctive images that provide a whole new perspective of the terrain you are shooting.
First things first - Warmth
Adrien Patané's Advice:
It goes without saying keeping warm is key. If you are car camping, or have room for extra gear, I always recommend bringing more warm gear than you think you will need. Waiting by a frozen lake for colors to form in the sky can be especially chilly once you’ve found your desired location.
I also use hand warmers which work brilliantly and allow you to pop your digits out as needed and warm them up when they get frosty. I’ve searched far and wide for gloves and found The Heat Company gloves infinitely superior to other brands, their hybrid glove/mittens provide warmth & yet due to the interior glove complete with “tech tip” provides dexterity to control your camera and smartphone
Same applies to batteries, I keep one in an inside pocket and one in the camera extending their life in the cold.
Next - lighting and exposure
Dylan McCaghren's Advice:
Knowing how the light acts differently with snow is critical when shooting in snowy conditions. The importance of getting out early or late for golden hour can really pay off due to the effects you'll have bouncing off the white surfaces.
Nate Luebbe's Advice:
Always be careful of exposure. Snow is extremely reflective, so it’s very easy to blow out the highlights. I always underexpose by a full stop with snow because the reflective nature means I can save the shadows WAY easier than I can save the highlights.
Now, onto Color
Winter scenes can be devoid of color at times, in which case Black and White imagery can enhance a scene and add contrast to an otherwise bland landscape.
Be careful of the color balance. The biggest flag for me is neon blue shadows.
And lastly, go intimate:
Often chasing winterscapes means meandering through frosty forests, if the weather is overcast filtered light deep in a snowy forest can be sublime. Watch for blown out hotspots if the skies are clear, in which case I might look for macro shots or details in frozen pockets of the forest.
Jeff Richard's Advice:
Snow doesn’t have the same texture (generally) of rock, grass, etc. in the summer, so it’s good to have something else in the frame. Ice from lakes, a cliff or rock band on a mountain, or even a skier/hiker, are great subjects to break up the monotony snow can cause and give the image a focal point.