WINTER SNOW PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

Posted on January 17, 2015 by Admin under Photography tips

In the coming weeks there is a very good chance that we are all, even in the South of the UK, going to wake up to the sight of a white covered land “SNOW”

As beautiful it is, many people make mistakes when photographing in snow, mistakes that can be easily corrected.

Before we get into the technical details of actually taking the pictures there are some other tips, some which you will already be aware of, but in the excitement of getting out there with your camera can be easily overlooked.

Be prepared:

Dress for the occasion.

Remember standing around you will get cold, so ensure you have warm footwear and something warm to keep the brain from freezing :o). For your hands I recommend some fingerless gloves which will allow you to keep your
hands warm and still be able to operate your camera. Always take your mobile phone with you just in case you slip and find yourself stranded, it could easily happen.

Batteries:

An important thing to be aware of is that your batteries DO NOT like the cold. You will find that a fully charged battery will not last as long in cold weather as it would do in the summer for example. Where possible always carry a spare and keep it warm in a pocket

Camera Care:

Remember all but the very top end cameras are not weather sealed so please check your instruction manual before venturing outside and respect your kit.

I would highly recommend that when you take your camera outside in the cold, you are fully aware of the dangers of condensation and the damage it could do to your expensive equipment. Firstly, I do not recommend taking the camera from a nice warm centrally heated environment to a sudden cold environment. Try to place the camera in a cooler part of the house first in order that its temperature is reduced slowly before entering the ice cold outdoors.
I also recommend that you take out with you a large zippy plastic bag or bin liner ! Why..
well its simple! The very worst thing that you can do, is bring a camera straight in from the cold into you nice warm house. This can so easily be overlooked especially if the toes are freezing and a nice cup of tea awaits. Trust me this is a must.
Before you enter the house pop your camera into the plastic bag (Not a snug fitting one ) zip it up or tie a knot in it. When inside leave it in a medium temperature room for about 30/60 minutes. This will allow it to reach room temperature more gradually before removing the camera to retrieve your images.

Technical tips:

As sophisticated our camera technology is, it can still be fooled by what it sees. There are a few things to consider.

As the camera will see a large white area there is a very good chance that the metering system will try to compensate for this and underexpose your image. Turning what should be white snow into grey! To improve this where possible, dependant on the camera, shoot in Manual mode. Also shooting in RAW will mean that you can possibly recover some exposure errors by using some editing software later. Try to set your metering system to spot metering rather that evaluating metering which is often the default setting.
Lastly, with your camera in manual mode, set your built in camera exposure meter to over expose by around +1 to +2 you should find that the snow becomes white again (magic), a few test shots should allow you choose the right setting for the environment that you are shooting in.

Try to avoid the temptation to shoot in Auto Mode

Start by setting your aperture to F16 for landscapes and your shutter to match. Your starting ISO at 100
On most DSLR cameras and now compact cameras you can also choose to shoot in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. I am assuming at this point that your are aware of how to utilise these settings. They also have an exposure compensation facility which will allow you to manually overexpose by the + 1 to 2
Try to choose a scene with some points of interest, something to break up the image, but most of all have fun.

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Wilf


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