Those who live in places where it’s snowing in winter know the excitement of seeing the first snowflakes.
As everything turns white, our enthusiasm for photography grows. We see the world in a completely new way.
But snow photography is not the easiest thing, you have to prepare for it. We collected some ideas and tips for you to start shooting photos in the snow.
Use Manual or Aperture Priority Mode for Shooting
Manual mode gives full control over your settings, which can be useful regarding that shooting snow is not too easy. You can bring the most out of your shots by setting everything as you wish.
But if you are cold, you might want to operate with as few camera adjustments as possible. You might choose aperture priority mode instead.
It still gives you great freedom, but you can concentrate more on what depth of field you want to reach. You set the aperture value, and then the camera adjusts the shutter speed and the ISO for you.
Shoot Snow Photos in RAW
You should shoot in RAW for most kinds of photography. But it can be crucial when it comes to photographing snow.
The white snow is going to be the brightest and most highlighted part of your images. And it can fill almost the whole frame.
RAW is a lossless, uncompressed format which means that it contains the most detail. It makes post-processing easier and more effective. You’ll be able to pull out details from the bright areas.
Make Sure to Set Up the Right White Balance
Finding the correct white balance can be tricky. Snow has a blueish tone when it’s not directly lit by sunlight, because these times it reflects the blue sky.
You might want to compensate it, so set your white balance manually.
You can set it to shade mode or take a white balance preset from the snow. These two techniques are going to give a warmer and more realistic tone.
You can also try exposure compensation to balance the blue or grey of the snow. This is going to need +1 or +2 stops compensation. It helps the snow to stay white.
This may result in overexposed images, but your images are going to be softer. And you can take it back from it during post-processing.
Use a Lens Hood and a Polarising Filter to Limit Reflections
Snow reflects a lot of light, especially in sunny weather. This can result in light leaks and unwanted blurs or reflections in your images.
Your lenses come with a lens hood. This is a basic part of your gear, but you might not use it. Well, for snow photography, you should.
It stops lens flares from getting into your camera and reaching the sensor. Besides this, it protects your lens from the falling snow and other physical impacts.
Another solution against lens flares is using a polarising filter. It sits on the front element of your lens, and just like the lens hood, it can protect it. But this is not the best of its functions.
It eliminates unwanted reflections and it helps to darken bright surfaces.
With a circular polarising filter you can control the strength of the polarizing effect. It helps to keep details in the bright areas.