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Top 10 Winter Photography Tips

Girl in the snow
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Winter photo of family and dog in snow

It’s that time of year when we’ve spent far too much time snuggled up indoors and some of us may have a dose of cabin fever!

We have the perfect cure…Get your camera out of hibernation, wrap up warm, step outside and start taking beautiful winter photography shots. Here are our top 10 tips to help get you started.

1. Go for thin gloves

Try and resist the urge to put on thick cosy gloves, as you’ll no doubt have to whip them off every time you need to click any buttons on the camera and you’ll be left with numb fingertips! Instead give the thinner gloves a go so you can still feel the buttons without exposing your hands to the cold.

2. Look for colour

frozen red berries

When everything else is snow white, a splash of colour in your winter photos can really pop! Keep an eye out for anything colourful – shiny red berries, a leftover autumn leaf, or a bright woolly hat. Anything with a bit of colour will look great against the cold snowy landscape, so make it the subject of a few photos and see what you think.

3. It’s all in the detail

Frozen leaf close up

Frost has that magical quality that can turn a boring old pile of leaves into an intricate masterpiece. Zoom in as close as you can to pretty much anything frosty and you’ll capture those beautiful little frost crystals.

It also makes a great backdrop if you can blur out the background to really help your frosty subject stand out. To get this effect, create as much distance as you can between the subject and the background and use the widest aperture possible.

Want to learn more? Here’s how to master macro photography in four simple steps.

4. Use your camera strap

No excuses! Cold, numb fingers mean you’re probably not gripping your camera as tightly as you think. Your trusty strap could make all the difference. Keep your camera safe so you can capture all those winter photos!

5. Watch your exposure

photographer taking a photo in the snow

If it’s beautiful landscapes you’re after take care with exposure, as snow is a little tricky to get right. It’s so bright white your camera can get a little confused and end up underexposing to compensate for all the light getting in. This leaves you with grey snow and any subject will be too dark.

If this happens, try switching your camera to manual and overexpose the image by 1 or 2 stops (this will let more light in). Keep testing until it looks right, and be careful not to overexpose too much as you’ll lose some of the detail in your image.

Captured the perfect winter landscape? Why not turn it into a photo canvas?

6. Batteries are wimps!

Be warned, batteries don’t like cold weather and can be rendered useless. Take a spare battery with you just in case the cold gets too much for the one in your camera.

Keep the spare in a pocket close to your body so it stays nice and warm. If the same happens to the spare, simply swap them back around – once your battery is warmed back up it’ll work as normal.

7. Perfect portraits

Winter photo of little girl in the snow

The light during the winter months is often perfect for portrait shots and should be taken full advantage of. Overcast days give a soft flattering light and the snow on the ground becomes a perfect light reflector, filling in any shadows. Just watch your exposure. The snow is very bright when the sun reflects, and as mentioned earlier this can trick your camera’s meter reading. If your otherwise perfect pics are coming out a little grey, that will be why.

To get an accurate exposure for portraits in the snow, zoom right in to your subject’s face (so you can’t see any snow in the background) and take a reading to see what settings you need (or take a photo and look at the settings that way). Set your camera to the same settings and however you take your shot, the camera will expose the subject’s face correctly, without getting distracted by the snow.

Portrait photos like these are ideal for showcasing in a special photo book, whether you want to create one as a gift, or keep it for yourself.

8. Capture the fun, naturally

fun in the snow

Looking for some simple winter photoshoot ideas? If you’ve got snow, you don’t need to head off to a dramatic location to capture a great shot. Why not capture the people around you instead? Whether they’re trying not to slip over or throwing a snowball, the snow will always have everyone’s full attention. This makes it easier to catch people off guard and capture some beautifully natural shots.

Take everything in and snap away at all the action happening around you. Try not to disrupt any of the fun with ‘look here’ and ‘stand still a minute’. Instead, simply let them be and have your camera ready to capture the moments as they happen. Remember you’ll need a fairly quick shutter speed to keep the action in focus.

9. Take the dog

dog in the snow

Dogs plus snow equals a very amusing photo opportunity. If you have a dog, you should definitely take him/her along with you! Most dogs love playing around in the fluffy snow, and you can get some adorable pictures of the pooch covered head to paw in it. Try and get down to your dog’s eye level to take any pics…your dog (and the snow) will do the rest.

10. Misty mornings

misty winter morning

This has to be one of our favourite winter photography ideas. If you want to capture one of those beautiful tranquil misty mornings your best bet is to get an early night and be outside for the crack of dawn, before the sun gets chance to burn away all that lovely mist. Experiment with different exposures to make sure you’re getting the best shot possible, as the fog can sometimes come out more of a muddy grey colour. You can discover more tips on how to photograph fog here.

So there you have it! Our top 10 winter photography tips. Be brave, layer up and get yourself outdoors! There’s a beautiful winter wonderland out there, just waiting for you to capture it.

You’ll be thankful for the fresh air if nothing else ☺

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Replies to “Top 10 Winter Photography Tips”

  • Lorraine Lewin says:

    Practical and helpful top tips for Winter Photography, thanks Sam! Hope we get some snow to put them into practise.

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