Winter has arrived, and here in Wisconsin, that means snow-and a whole new set of challenges when taking photographs!
There are a few things that all can benefit from while shooting in the snow, so I've complied some tips that should hopefully help you if you dare come out of your warm comfy cozy house and enjoy that beautiful white snow!
Dress for the Weather!!
I can't stress this enough! I have seen people dress their child in a short sleeve while it's 25 degrees to get a cute picture. As a professional photographer, please please please do not do this. Your child is going to be miserable and his or her face will show it, therefore, the pictures will not turn out very well. We want warm smiles and laughter.. If you have that adorable outfit that you just have to have them wear, layer them! Put a couple long sleeve shirts, extra socks and sweatpants/thermals underneath their cute clothes.
I'm here to tell you that those warm snuggly fluffy jackets with a scarf, hat and glove pictures are adorable and very suiting during these winter months.
Wear Bright Colors
It is easy to get lost in the all white snow. Wearing a neutral color, you might blend right in. Wear a pop of color. Yellow, red and navy are perfect colors for winter photography! But, don't do too much color. Stick with one item to pop with color, either the hat, jacket, gloves or boots. Mix it up on different days to get multiple different looks.
There really isn't much to winter. Just snow. The trees are bare, no color, water frozen over, ect. Look for something that stands out, something you know would be cool\pretty in a photograph. Pine trees\evergreens are beautiful all year round. A field of all white with a pop of color would look pretty too :) Experiment!
Stay Close to Home
If it is too cold and windy but you really want to get out there for a little bit, stay close to home.
Whether that is in your yard or close to your car at a hiking trail. Your child might get too cold faster than you think and you don't want to be far away from a warm source. You know the saying Happy Life, Happy Wife. Well in this case it's Warm Child, Warm Smiles.
The actual snow coming down from the sky can be tricky too.
If it is sleeting and coming down fast with small flakes, now is not a good time for that pretty snow falling picture.
When is the right time to head outdoors to catch those pretty snow flakes?! When the snow is at a slow-medium fall and the flakes are on the bigger side. This will give you that pretty snow falling look.
The days lighting will play a huge role in the quality of images you get.
Wait for a sunny day, try not to go out when it is overly cloudy.
When cloudy, you will have less to work with, it will get darker even faster and the snow will look dull and grey.
When the sun is out you can play around and your images will look more creative and fun.
Golden hour is still the optimal time to get out there for those warm tones and sun shots at eye level.
As you can see the two images above are drastically different. The white snow looks more muted in the top picture. This was done on purpose in post editing to suit my style. I love both ways don't get me wrong but I had a different vision for the top picture. My style is more muted much like the very first photo but I randomly love the more saturated look depending on the photo. For more photos visit my Instagram page! :)
Beware Battery Power
In really cold weather, just like your phone, your camera will discharge power more quickly than normal. Make sure your battery is fully charged and if you are planning to be out for a while, bring a spare battery with you.
Use Exposure Compensation at +1 or over
All white snow is tough to shoot and get the right color. It tends to shoot more blue and or grey.
One of the problems with taking photos in the snow is that if you let your camera set the exposure (either in Auto or Priority modes) you will probably end up with dull under-exposed photos.
In order to get nice, correctly exposed images in the snow, you must either manually set your exposure, or use exposure compensation by setting your exposure to +1 or +2 on the meter.
I highly recommend always shooting in manual mode so you can easily adjust your settings to fit every situation.
White balance can be tough in snowy conditions as well, and the Auto White Balance feature on your camera will struggle too, so I suggest that you use a custom white balance.
Keep in mind that snow tends to look a bit on the blue side, so you might want to use a warmer white balance to even it out, but don't overcompensate by warming it too much.
Shoot in RAW
My advice is to always shoot in RAW and if you have the facility to do so, now is that time!
It can be quite tricky to expose correctly in snow for the reasons above, and with RAW you will have a little more leeway to correct your exposure later in post processing.
Check you Histogram
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, if you are shooting in sunlight, it can be difficult to see the image on the camera screen to check that you have nailed the exposure with all that light bouncing around. If this is the case, have a quick check on your histogram for the first couple shots to ensure that you are not blowing any highlights.
Remember to always practice and experiment!
Test out different methods for yourself and have fun :)
For more creative images please visit my Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/soulshinephotographer/