White snow against blue sky

5 Tips for Great Snow Pictures

Snowflakes are kisses from heaven. – Unknown

It’s been a while since the last article. A vacation longer than expected for the Balcony.  A very busy one, even though it didn’t include much travel or photography. Just some other stuff (like buying a new house) which doesn’t have a place in this blog. I am excited to get back on schedule and I hope you did miss me. I may not be able to write weekly posts in the next couple of months, but I will do my best to continue to provide the Balcony readers with great photography tips and ideas.

I am not sure if I mentioned that winter is my favorite season.  I got a little sad when I realized that it’s more than half over. I haven’t done much skiing this season, I haven’t taken many pictures and we haven’t had much snow in New England either. In case you are fortunate to have some snow this season, here are some tips and ideas so your snow pictures come out great.

1. Go for contrast

Snow pictures can sometimes be boring, especially when everything is covered in white.  Blue sky for example would be a great background and would create a deep and interesting contrast as in the picture above.

2. Try black and white

River and rocks covered in snow

I like to experiment with black and white from time to time. I think it’s timeless and works very well with snow pictures. You want to keep snow as the focus of the picture, and sometimes a bright color like a red or yellow can distract from the purity of the white snow.

3. Say “No” to grey snow

Snow is white and you want to make sure that it comes out white in your pictures, not grey. Why grey? The answer is simple. As I mentioned in one of my older articles , the camera tries to automatically adjust for 18% grey. Snow is very bright and the camera doesn’t know that you are looking at beautiful white snow. It will try to darken the image to compensate for the brightness and make it 18% grey. That is definitely not what you want. At least not in this situation. What’s the solution? Use your exposure compensation function and stop it up by 2-3 stops. I know, it seems backward, but it’s the right thing to do. You can read more about exposure compensation here.

4. Capture the whiteout

Snow storms are so beautiful in my opinion, even though they can be scary for some. There is nothing like walking around with the camera and taking some shots as people dig themselves out. It can be a little more difficult to find something for contrast, but in this case you do want to capture the whiteout.

Boy walking in the deep snow

I’ve said this many times and I feel like I have to mention it here too. Wintery scenes can be cold and lonely, but adding a person can make a huge difference.

I hope that next time you see snow in the forecast you will get your photo gear ready and take some great shots. Keep in mind that cold weather drains the batteries much faster. So be prepared. If you are planning for some serious shooting, bring an extra battery with you. Also be careful when bringing the camera indoors from the cold weather. Condensation is not a best friend for DSLRs, so I would recommend leaving the camera in a less heated room for a short while.

Stay warm and go shooting!

For more photography tips and ideas, check out my latest photography book, Picture (Im)perfect Photographynow available at Amazon.


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