The way to Take Photographs in Snow


On this submit, I’m going to share with you quite a few snow pictures ideas that can assist you get nice images within the snow.

Snowy circumstances make for some fantastic pictures alternatives. Nonetheless, taking images in snow is usually a little bit difficult. That is for quite a few causes, from the brightness of the snow, by way of to the chilly climate circumstances that may hamper a digicam’s features. Then after all it’s important to take into account common winter points, like ice and chilly, that may make circumstances difficult for a photographer.

I’ve taken images within the snow in areas around the globe, from excessive altitude ski resorts by way of to winter in Nordic international locations like Finland the place the temperature has been under minus 30 levels Celsius / Fahrenheit.

I’ll embody some ideas for getting nice images of snowy scenes, the digicam settings you want for snow pictures, some concepts for snow images, and a few recommendations on urged digicam gear and equipment for snow pictures. Let’s get began.

Suggestions for Taking Photographs In Snow

Listed below are some ideas for getting the very best images in snow, no matter your digicam.


Begin with the Composition

No matter sort of digicam you’ve got and whatever the topic or scene, the composition of your picture ought to all the time be one in every of your key issues.

Composition in pictures is all about deciding what’s going to be in your picture, and the way the completely different components of the picture work collectively. So it is advisable to take into consideration what precisely your picture is of – the topic – and compose round that.

There are many compositional ideas and methods you should utilize to enhance your picture, from issues just like the rule of thirds by way of to make use of of colour, main strains and so forth. Should you’d like some ideas, see my information to composition in pictures to get you began.


Shoot at Blue and Golden Hours

Gentle is a key element of pictures. By means of the course of the day, the sunshine adjustments in each its path and colour. Within the early morning and late evenings, when the solar is just under the horizon, the sunshine could be very blue and chilly in tone, and this time is called the blue hour.

Simply after the solar rises and earlier than it units, the sunshine could be very yellow and heat in tone, and this era is called the golden hour.

These occasions of day are good for pictures on the whole, however are notably good for capturing snowy scenes. It’s because snow could be very reflective, and tends to amplify and replicate gentle effectively. So a heat sundown or cool pre-dawn tones can look actually fantastic as a part of a snowy scene.

It’s additionally price maintaining in thoughts when planning your snowy pictures shoots that you’ll usually be capturing within the winter season in most locations. Which means that the times can be shorter, supplying you with much less time for daytime pictures.

Nonetheless, it does carry the benefit that dawn / sundown are nearer collectively, and you may normally seize the golden and blue hours with out having to rise up actually early or go to mattress actually late. After I’ve finished winter pictures within the artic circle, typically I’ve discovered that the few hours of daylight are all golden on a regular basis, which made for unbelievable pictures alternatives.



Get the Focus Proper in Snow

One factor you would possibly discover when capturing in snow is that your digicam or smartphone would possibly wrestle to lock focus, with the autofocus searching backwards and forwards. In a worst case state of affairs, it received’t have the ability to auto focus in any respect, and also you received’t have the ability to take a photograph. Otherwise you would possibly get an out of focus shot which isn’t usable.

The rationale for that is right down to the best way that the majority digicam focus methods work. The main target perform usually require a contrasting space to concentrate on—any space of the scene with contrasting components. A big expanse of white snow tends to not have a lot distinction, and so the digicam doesn’t have a lot to lock onto.

This concern isn’t particular to snow. You’ll usually have the identical downside in the event you attempt to take an image of a large open blue sky—the digicam has nothing to lock onto.

In each these eventualities, the answer is to seek out one thing aside from a uniform expanse to concentrate on. With the case of a blue sky, this is likely to be one thing like a cloud. With snow, it is likely to be a tree, or an individual, a constructing, an animal, or any object that stands out in opposition to the white snow.

You would possibly want to alter the digicam’s focus mode and particularly choose the thing you need it to concentrate on so as to get the outcomes you require. So as an alternative of full autofocus, you would possibly change to a single level and focus there.

In case you are nonetheless struggling to get focus utilizing the automated focus system, then verify in case your digicam has a guide focus choice. If that’s the case, you should utilize this to over trip the autofocus system and get a pointy picture. Be aware that not all cameras and lenses help guide focus. Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras do, however not all compact or smartphones have manul focus.


Use the Publicity Compensation Function for Snow Images

One quite common concern that I see when of us on my pictures course ship me questions on snow pictures, is that their photographs are popping out darker than they count on, with images of snow trying grey somewhat than white.

Snow images popping out too darkish occurs on a regular basis, however fortunately there’s a easy repair that works throughout just about all cameras and different units.

First, you is likely to be questioning why your snow images are popping out too darkish, or are “under-exposed” to make use of the proper pictures time period. The reason being right down to the best way {that a} digicam evaluates the sunshine in a scene. To place it in easy phrases, all of the white snow within the scene confuses the digicam, inflicting it to scale back the quantity of sunshine it captures, and subsequently underexposing your picture.

If you wish to be taught extra about how a digicam works and the ideas of publicity, see my information to publicity in pictures, and my guides to how a DSLR works in addition to how a mirrorless digicam works.

The excellent news is that there’s a easy repair to grey snow in your images. All it’s important to do is use your digicam’s publicity compensation characteristic. This tells the digicam to let extra gentle in when taking the picture, and can lead to a brighter picture.

Practically each digicam in the marketplace, together with smartphones, have an publicity compensation choice. It would both be out there instantly by way of a button on the digicam itself, that appears like “+/-“, or by way of the digicam menu.

Whenever you press the button, try to be given a scale that runs from detrimental numbers to constructive numbers, maybe from -Three to +3, with zero within the center. Any quantity above zero will enhance the brightness, any quantity under zero will lower the brightness.

Every full constructive increment of 1 (i.e. from zero to 1 or 2 to 2) will end result within the picture being twice as brilliant.

Every full detrimental increment of 1 (i.e. from zero to -1 or -1 to -2) will end result within the picture being half as brilliant.

For snow pictures, an excellent rule of thumb is to extend the publicity by “+1”, also referred to as one cease. Then shoot and regulate if wanted.

It’s best to have the ability to do that from most capturing modes, though this can differ by digicam and system. In case you have any points, both lookup your digicam guide, or search the web for “publicity compensation + your digicam mannequin“.

Exposure compensation button


Use a Lens Hood

In case you have a digicam with a detachable lens, like a mirrorless digicam or a DSLR digicam, then it’s best to think about using an adjunct generally known as a lens hood. These are additionally typically referred to as solar hoods.

A lens hood is just an prolonged piece of round plastic that matches onto the tip of the lens, giving it an prolonged look. Often, the principle motive to make use of a lens hood is to scale back undesirable glare coming into the lens from the perimeters of the shot, which may trigger flares and different picture high quality points in your images.

In snow pictures, there may be usually plenty of glare because the snow is so brilliant, and a lens hood can assist reduce down on this, supplying you with increased distinction and cleaner photographs.

Nonetheless, even when it’s not sunny, a lens hood can supply advantages for snow pictures. Primarily, if it’s snowing, a lens hood can assist cease flakes of snow touchdown instantly on the glass of your lens. This safety is why I practically all the time have a lens hood on my digicam—it’s useful in each snow and rain to assist hold my lens dry.

Some lenses include a lens hood. If not, they’re usually cheap to purchase for many cameras. You should buy them both direct from the producer or from third celebration producers. Click on right here for a listing of lens hoods. Simply ensure that the lens hood is designed on your lens, as lenses are of a special diameter and the lens hood must match.


Strive a Polarizing Filter

One other snow pictures tip for cameras that help interchangeable lenses is to make use of a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter is a little bit of glass that attaches to your lens which is used to filter out polarized gentle.

Polarized gentle is mostly gentle which has been mirrored from a sure sort of floor, which incorporates snow. Should you use a polarizing filter when capturing snow, it cuts down on the glare, and can enhance the distinction and colours in your picture.

Polarizing filters have plenty of makes use of in pictures on the whole, from reducing down on reflections to creating the clouds in a blue sky actually pop. So they’re positively a worthwhile funding for a variety of pictures topics past snow pictures. You possibly can learn extra about polarizing filters right here.


Use Aperture Precedence or a Particular Snow Images Mode

For almost all of pictures that I do with both our DSLR or mirrorless cameras, I’ve the digicam set to aperture precedence mode. Snow pictures is not any completely different.

I like aperture precedence as a result of it permits me to simply management the depth of area of a photograph, however frees me up from worrying about setting the shutter velocity and ISO as I must in guide. In fact I control these settings to make sure they’re inside acceptable parameters, however usually I desire to let the digicam take care of these issues so I can concentrate on getting the shot itself.

When capturing snow, in most conditions it is going to be out of doors conditions with loads of gentle, so I don’t have to fret concerning the shutter velocity dropping too low or the ISO going too excessive. As a substitute, I can concentrate on the composition of my shot and capturing the second.

Most cameras with an aperture precedence mode allow you to set it by way of the digicam’s mode dial. Aperture precedence can be marked as “A” or “Av” most often.

In case your digicam doesn’t have an aperture precedence mode, then you definately would possibly verify to see if it has a snow pictures mode (or winter mode), which can assist guarantee appropriately uncovered photographs. Alternatively, strive both the portrait mode for capturing portraits, the motion mode in case you are capturing fast-paced motion, or the panorama mode for landscapes.

Waterfall long exposure photography Scotland


Shoot in RAW if out there

For a very long time, the RAW format was the unique area of upper finish digital SLR cameras. Lately although, many extra units can shoot in RAW, together with excessive finish smartphones from Apple and Samsung and better finish compact cameras.

A RAW file is an unprocessed (most often) model of the picture file which doesn’t sacrifice picture knowledge for file measurement. RAW information have quite a few downsides, together with the dimensions of the file and the actual fact it’s important to edit them. Nonetheless, the upsides are that you’ve got much more management over the ultimate look of the picture relating to enhancing.

I’ve an awesome deal extra info on what RAW is in pictures right here. Suffice to say, in case your system helps RAW pictures, it’s price making an attempt it out for snow pictures.


Defend Your Gear

Whenever you’re out capturing the snow, it is advisable to be aware of how the circumstances can have an effect on your gear.

To begin with, when it’s chilly, count on your battery to final for fewer images. You may not discover an excessive amount of distinction if the temperatures are simply round freezing level, however because it will get colder you’ll positively discover a giant drop off in capability. So that you’ll need to carry spare batteries and hold then in an inside pocket (akin to in a vest or inside jacket) to maintain them heat.

Subsequent, in case you are in actually chilly circumstances, you’ll need to watch out when taking your gear again to a heat location like your own home. The speedy temperature change could cause condensation to construct up even contained in the digicam, which is not going to do the delicate electronics any good. To stop this, place the entire digicam inside one thing like a sealed freezer bag earlier than you deliver it inside.

If the climate is much more excessive, then you definately would possibly take into account a digicam cowl like this which can shield the entire digicam from snow and rain. These are a helpful accent for pictures on the whole, and are usually not too costly.

I’ve extra recommendations on defending your gear (and also you!) from the chilly in my winter pictures ideas information.


Be Secure

Our final snow pictures tip is simply to be secure. Photographing snow is plenty of enjoyable and really rewarding, however you clearly should take care in wintery circumstances.

There are all kinds of hazards when it’s chilly, from the well being dangers related to the chilly itself like hypothermia and frost chunk, by way of to slippery surfaces when icy and avalanches.

All the time put your well being and security first, even when it means lacking a presumably nice shot. Should you’re heading to distant areas, comply with finest follow and guarantee somebody is aware of the place you’re and what your itinerary is. In case you are travelling alone, you should definitely have a solution to contact somebody within the space in the event you run into any hassle.



Digicam Settings for Snow Images

I’ve lined this partly within the ideas part, however right here’s a fast overview of my urged settings for snow pictures for some completely different digicam varieties to get you began.

These are after all urged settings to get you began and it’s possible you’ll want to regulate relying in your particular state of affairs, picture model, and system.


Snow Images Settings for Mirrorless / DSLR / Digicam with Handbook Management

In case you have a mirrorless digicam, DSLR digicam or different digicam with guide controls, set it up as follows:

  • Aperture precedence, huge apertures (f/1.2 – f/4) for shallow depth of area, and slim aperture (f/8 – f/16) to get extra of the scene in focus
  • ISO – both set the ISO to Auto, or regulate primarily based on the sunshine. Often 100 – 400 can be fantastic besides at night time.
  • Shutter velocity – in aperture precedence this can be set for you
  • Publicity compensation: Set to +1
  • RAW: configure the digicam to seize photographs in RAW mode
  • White Steadiness: Set to Auto and you may regulate this when submit processing

Snow Images Settings for Compact Digicam / Digicam with out Handbook Management

In case you have a compact digicam or a digicam that doesn’t offer you guide controls, then strive the next for photographing snow:

  • Set the digicam to “snow” or “winter” mode if it has one (many do)
  • Publicity Compensation: Practically each digicam has some type of publicity compensation characteristic. Set this to +1. There is likely to be a “+/-” button on the digicam, in any other case verify your digicam guide for the characteristic
  • White steadiness: Auto
  • Flash: Off (see right here for directions on disabling digicam flash)


Snow Images Settings for Smartphone Cameras

In case you have a smartphone, the possibilities are you’ve got restricted guide management over most of the key settings. Nonetheless, most smartphones lately are very intelligent, and may have the ability to get nice snowy images with out an excessive amount of adjustment in your half. Some issues to strive:

  • HDR mode on – this can guarantee an evenly lit picture throughout the entire body
  • Publicity Compensation: Practically each smartphone has an publicity compensation characteristic within the digicam app. Set this to +1
  • White steadiness: Auto
  • Flash: Off (see right here for directions on disabling digicam flash)


Snow Images Concepts

Now you’re all able to take some nice images within the snow. However you is likely to be questioning what precisely to take images of. Listed below are some topics and picture varieties to think about.



A wonderful snowy panorama is a traditional scene to {photograph}. My ideas could be to make sure there may be good depth in your shot with outlined foreground and background components to provide your viewer a way of perspective and scale.

You can too use a topic like an individual so as to add some colour and a human contact to a shot. An alternative choice is likely to be to make use of a snowman or different human created object to curiosity your viewer.




Snow makes an awesome backdrop to wildlife pictures. From a wonderful purple breasted robin by way of to majestic stags, you may simply use an animal as the important thing topic in your snow pictures.

Stag NC500


Motion Pictures

Should you’re on the lookout for enjoyable methods to take footage of individuals in snow, then I believe capturing motion is a good way to try this. This could possibly be folks having a snowball battle, sledding, constructing snowmen, snowboarding, making snow angels, or just out for a stroll in a winter wonderland.

For motion pictures, you would possibly need to change to shutter precedence somewhat than aperture precedence in case your digicam helps this, as this manner you’ll have the ability to management whether or not you freeze your topic (quick shutter velocity) or seize a few of their movement (sluggish shutter velocity).



Gear for Snow Images

Snow pictures doesn’t require specialised gear to get nice outcomes, nevertheless it’s possible you’ll take into account investing in among the following so as to have a greater expertise and enhance your photographs.


Additional Studying

That’s it for my information to taking footage in snow. Should you discovered this convenient, you would possibly get pleasure from a few of my different pictures content material. Listed below are some articles to get you began.

  • Should you’re on the lookout for extra recommendation on particular ideas for various eventualities, we additionally have you ever lined. See our information to Northern Lights pictures, lengthy publicity pictures, fireworks pictures, ideas for taking images of stars, and chilly climate pictures.
  • We’ve got a information to the right way to use a compact digicam, the right way to use a DSLR digicam, and the right way to use a mirrorless digicam. We even have a information to how a DSLR works
  • Figuring out the right way to compose an awesome picture is a key pictures talent. See our information to composition in pictures for plenty of recommendations on this topic
  • We’ve got a information to what depth of area is and once you would need to use it.
  • We’re huge followers of getting probably the most out of your digital picture information, and do to that you’ll want to shoot in RAW. See our information to RAW in pictures to know what RAW is, and why it’s best to change to RAW as quickly as you may in case your digicam helps it.
  • We’ve got a information to the very best picture enhancing functions which incorporates each paid and free choices
  • You’re going to want one thing to run your picture enhancing software program on. See our information to the very best laptops for picture enhancing for some recommendations on what to search for.
  • Colour accuracy is necessary for pictures – see our information to monitor calibration to make sure your display is about up appropriately.
  • Should you’re on the lookout for an awesome reward for a pictures loving pal or member of the family (or your self!), check out our pictures reward information,
  • Should you’re out there for a brand new digicam, now we have an in depth information to the finest journey cameras, in addition to particular guides for the finest cameras for mountaineering and backpacking, the finest compact digicam, finest bridge digicam, finest mirrorless digicam and finest DSLR digicam. We even have a information to the finest digicam lenses.
  • If you would like a digicam or lens, however the costs are a bit excessive, see our information to the place to purchase used cameras and digicam gear for some price range financial savings choices.
  • We’ve got a information to why you want a tripod, a information to selecting a journey tripod, and a round-up of our favorite journey tripods


Trying to Enhance Your Images?

Should you discovered this submit useful, and also you need to enhance your pictures general, you would possibly need to take a look at my on-line journey pictures course.

Since launching the course in 2016, I’ve already helped hundreds of scholars discover ways to take higher images. The course covers just about the whole lot it is advisable to know, from the fundamentals of how a digicam works, by way of to composition, gentle, and picture enhancing.

It additionally covers extra superior matters, together with astrophotography, lengthy publicity pictures, flash pictures, and HDR pictures.

You get suggestions from me as you progress, entry to webinars, interviews and movies, in addition to unique membership of a Fb group the place you may get suggestions in your work and participate in common challenges.

It’s out there for an incredible one-off worth for lifetime entry, and will also be purchased as a present if you recognize somebody who would like to be taught pictures. Discover out extra by clicking right here.

And that’s it! I’d love to listen to about your ideas on snow pictures, and am pleased to reply any questions you’ve got. Simply pop them within the feedback under and I’ll get again to you as quickly as I can.

Snow photography tips, including camera settings for snow photography, ideas for what to photography in the snow, gear advice and lots more!

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