Snow Pictures

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Snow Photography – Top 5 Photography Tips For Getting Great Snow Pictures

For those of us who are fortunate to live in a four season climate winter offers us a diverse aspect to our landscape photography.  However getting snow pictures that are not gray or blue that actually reflect what you saw at the time of capture can be challenging with winter landscapes.  However with these top 5 snow photography tips you’ll be taking pictures like a pro in no time.

  1. Exposure compensationThe camera’s light meter sees everything as neutral gray thus left to its own devices your bright white snow picture turns out gray because the camera underexposes the scene.  To compensate for the bright white snow use your exposure compensation to increase the exposure to change the snow to a bright tone.  Depending on your camera and its metering system, you may need from +0.7 stops to +2.0 stops of compensation to make the necessary adjustment.
  2. Find a Focal Point:  Snow photography can be a challenge when the scene offers you a winter landscape of which the majority of the scene is snow.  You’ll want to try to find something within the scene that you can focus on such as a shrub, bump in the snow or perhaps a texture or shadow area that is approximately 1/3 of the way into your snow landscape scene.
  3. F-Stop Choice: Some recommend stopping down to f/22 for landscape photography. While doing so will give you a greater depth of field (DOF) it can also introduce infraction which can soften the sharpness of your landscape image.  Thus I recommend being mindful about stopping down past f/16.  (Lens, model and maker dependent)
  4. White Balance: All too often snow pictures turn out blue.  This is the result of the landscape image being lit by sun reflecting off the blue sky rather than direct sunlight. So here’s what you need to remember, if the snow is being lit by direct sunlight set your white balance to sunny and if it is being lit by the sun reflecting off of the blue sky set your white balance to shade.  Of course if you are shooting RAW you will have the option of playing with the white balance in the post editing process so I always recommend shooting in RAW.
  5. Golden Hour:  You here this time and time again in the world of landscape photography in general however it bears repeating for snow pictures as well.  Shooting at sunset and sunrise during the winter months has its advantages as you do not have to wake up at 4:00 am during the winter months to capture a sunrise, the air is clearer and the sun is lower in the sky.  These are all factors that make for great winter landscapes during the golden hour as the reflection of the golden light off of the snow can make for spectacular winter landscapes.
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