I love winter. It’s one of the subjects of photography that people don’t do so often: Winter Photography! Why?
- It’s too cold. I hate cold weather!
- Winter is not as beautiful as the rest of the year!
- My camera wasn’t made for winter!
- I don’t think it’s as beautiful this time of year!
- Taking pictures of snow just doesn’t look right
- My batteries don’t last as long!
WINTER IS COLD AND MISERABLE. WHO WANTS TO BE MISERABLE WHILE TAKING PICTURES?
It’s time to look into snow boots, gloves, hats and coats that keep you warm. If you are going to actually go out in to the snow to take pictures, you must dress warm.
Imagine two people in a conversation about the weather. One person says they hate winter because it’s always so cold. The other person says, “Winter is the best, because you can just put on more clothes and fix the problem.” The first person says they love summer the best because it’s warm and everything is green. The second person says, “I hate summer. It’s too hot! You can take off all your clothes and you are still hot. You just can’t get away from it.”
The point is this: there are ways to solve all of the problems mentioned above. Just learn how to fix them.
HOW CAN I MAKE MY SNOW LOOK WHITE, INSTEAD OF BLUE OR GREY?
How come you get blue or grey snow? Here is the real reason: The light meter in your camera is balanced to a spec called 18% grey. If you take all the colors in the world, and mix them up, you will get grey. And your light meter in your camera doesn’t know you are taking pictures of white. It thinks the white is supposed to be grey.
So, what do you have to do? You have to “overexpose” just slightly so that it gives you a brighter picture.
Overexpose? That’s not in my book. If you want white snow with your photo, then overexpose. If you are shooting in an automatic mode, then find the dial that goes +0.5, +1, +1.5, +2.0 and so forth. You have to experiment a little so you know how much that dial should be set at. It will vary depending on your light. A good rule of thumb is to set your camera dial at +1.5. That should be the best choice, and then check out your results.
Another way to do it, depending on your camera, is to follow the little pictures or icons on your camera. If you set the dial to “snow” or “sand”, it should work pretty well with that setting. Again, try it, and see how it looks.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY BATTERIES IN THE WINTER?
Every good winter photographer is aware of this problem. And every good winter photographer keeps a spare set of batteries in their pocket. It is just something you do if you want to be successful at winter photography.
WHAT CAN I TAKE PICTURES OF IN THE WINTER? EVERYTHING LOOKS SO “DEAD”.
That’s because everything is dormant right now. But there is beauty in this, if you look for it. Look at the trees. Are they covered in snow? What angle would work?
When you look at the photo above, yes, you can see a bunch of dead plants to the side of this road. But notice how they are all frosted. Or they could have snow on them to make it even more interesting. Use your composition skills and look for leading lines.
WAS MY CAMERA MADE FOR COLD WEATHER?
Most likely, your camera was either made in Japan or China. They have incredible awful winters there. You can probably bet that your camera was made to work in all kinds of weather. However, it may not be waterproof or weatherproof. Take some time to weatherproof your camera so you don’t get water or moisture inside your camera.
NOTES ON ABOVE PHOTOS: Here are 4 different ideas of how to handle cold or bad weather in photography.
- First Photo: Ricoh, and most likely other camera manufactures make a perfect weatherproof, dustproof camera. If you are concerned about taking your mirrorless camera or DSLR camera out in bad weather, then consider a camera made for all kinds of weather and dirty conditions
- Second Photo: Notice the man standing on the rocks, ready to get splashed on by the ocean. He has equipment, that is already manufactured for weatherproof conditions. If you are seriously considering bad weather conditions to take your photos, then consider a weatherproof, rugged camera
- Camera bags are made today to withstand weather, beating around, and made for backpacking. Check out the various camera bags at your local camera store.
- Cell phones today are amazing. And they are mostly made now to be weatherproof, waterproof, and resists cold. Try taking your photos with your cell phone if you want to cut down on space and still get great photos.
If you want to take good winter photos, it will take practice. And you will have to get into the habit of “looking for a photo,” to get something you want. It seems that every time I go out and take photos in the winter, I can come back with some real good photos. That isn’t a coincidence—it’s because I look for the right shot. Apply these tips listed here and you, too, can enjoy winter.
Here are some more winter photos I love: