Although the temptation to crank up the heat, light the fire, mix up a nice warm mug of hot cocoa and hide under a quilt may be overwhelming, snow days provide a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child and experiment with your camera.
The odds are you have dozens of snaps of your little one swimming around in the water or playing in the sand, but very few pictures of a snow angels or snowman. Winter presents some magical moments for both amateur and professional photographers.
Capture Memories with Tips for Winter Photography
Here are a few tips for helping you climb snow mountains and capture adorable moments.
Comfort is King
Be careful out there when photographing in cold temperatures. Wear warm coats, silly hats, wool socks, and easy-on, easy-off gloves or mittens are a must.
Bright White, Bright Light
Snow can be a tricky subject, fooling your camera into thinking that it’s brighter out there in the world than it really is. For most hobbyist photographers, a modern digital SLR camera probably understands the scene better than you do; however, if your images read as gray rather than brilliant white, it’s time to tell your SLR a thing or two.
It’s totally counter intuitive and confusing to most photographers, amateur and professional alike, but your camera thinks that great white world is super bright. Too bright, if fact, so it’s trying to tone things down a bit by kicking down the aperture, letting in less light. That’s not good for taking the best photographs in the snow. So adjust your f-stop one- to two-stops to let in more light. Boom! Bright white!
To catch those gorgeous flakes as they’re falling, use a fast shutter speed. Again, you may be smarter than your SLR on a snowy day. Your camera will automatically capture motion, if it’s fast enough; however gently falling snow may pull the wool over your camera’s eye. If your flakes are blurs, increase your shutter speed to 250th or 500th of a second, depending on the size and speed of your snowfall.
It’s All About Contrast
While a white winter wonderland is a gorgeous place, rarely is the world entirely enshrouded. Look for contrast and capitalize on juxtapositions for the best pictures. Keep your eyes peeled for trees standing strong into the sun. Once you’ve found your strong shadow or your surprising splash of contrast, focus on that image and play around with your exposure. The contrast is striking in these photographs.
Black and White and Bright
Winter is full of color; you just have to look for it. Or generate it! Get those brightly clad kids of yours outside. Start romping in the drifts, making tracks in the snow, building snowmen with bright orange carrot noses and rocketing down hills on neon-colored sleds. Keep your finger on the shutter while you play.
The Early Bird Gets the Photo
Keep in mind, the best winter light is morning light. If your kids are lucky enough to be enjoying a snow day, then they’re up with the dawn and you may as well take advantage of it. Get out there and chase those rays! Experiment with angles and figure out where the sun works best on your subjects. Traditionally, shooting with the sun to your back is best, but in the winter months, give sidelight a chance. You may find taking photographs of the sunrise or even a sunset become more stunning when the air is cold and clear.
Believe it or not, cold is good. When it’s below freezing teeny tiny ice crystals fill the air, causing light to diffract and generate brilliantly hued pictures. You can capture some remarkable images during this special season. Get started early in the day and enjoy every moment with your children. Your child’s portraits will be well worth the extra preparation and sticking to these simple cold weather photography tips.