Snow photography tips: capturing the scene
Preparation, patience and planning will lead to perfect pictures of snow
01 Be prepared
It might sound obvious, but wrap up warm. Scarf, fleece, heavy-duty coat and thermal underwear are all essential items for intrepid winter photographers. Plan the shot before leaving the warm comfort of your car. You can’t afford to walk around in bad weather – your gear might get damaged and you’ll soon get cold.
02 Shoot in raw
Shoot raw format files, especially in challenging situations such as snow photography where exposure and white balance can be tricky. While it’s good to get your shot spot-on first time, raw processing can be useful when making adjustments to your pictures of snow post-shoot.
03 Plan your shot
Even when the odds seem stacked against you there are always shots to be found, although you might have to look a little harder for them. When we noticed this scene while driving through the Polish countryside, we visualised how the final image would look and then set about making it happen.
04 Frame pictures of snow carefully
There are very few elements in this scene. The lone tree is the main and only subject. As a result the framing is critical. We positioned the tree to the lower left-hand side of the frame – one third in from the left-hand side and intersecting with the horizon, which we positioned one third up from the bottom edge.
05 Use Exposure Compensation
To get a good white tone when taking pictures of snow you’ll need to adjust your camera’s Exposure Compensation. Left to its own devices your digital camera will make any snow photography appear a midtone grey. We effectively increased exposure to maintain detail in the snow.
06 Use the histogram
Reading your histogram graph offers a great way to assess the tones of your pictures of snow. However, don’t be surprised if the graph looks clumped to the right. This is caused by the white snow and Exposure Compensation increase.
There’s a fine line between making your snow photography just white enough and losing detail in the light areas, so be careful not to over-expose beyond the point where the white ‘clips’ off the edge of the graph.