Winter Photography: professional tips for working with seasonal light and textures

Winter Photography: professional ways of working with seasonal light and textures

Winter light. Just look at it. Makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? Winter photography may have you fumbling with frozen fingers as you work through your camera’s custom functions. Winter photography may leave you waiting around, stamping your feet as the sun slowly rises in between anxious glances at the battery charge indicator… But being there for The Moment makes winter photography certainly worth all its rigid demands.

The light, colours and textures make photos come alive at this time of year. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to make the most of the light and textures that are prevalent in winter, with inspirational images and photography tips from professional photographers who make their living standing in the cold.

Winter Photography: professional ways of working with seasonal light and textures

Image by Chris Herring / Alamy

Making the most of winter light

There’s no getting away from it, to capture the best light you need to be up and out before the sun rises, or hang around until it goes down.

However, with the shorter days of winter, you’ll be out shooting at a much more civilised hour than you would in high summer.

Make the effort and you’ll be rewarded by a rich quality of light that can change from second to second. Just make sure you wrap up well – you don’t want your batteries running out before your camera’s!

If you’d prefer to take that extra hour in bed, there’s good news. The sun is lower during the winter months, so you can carry on shooting through the entire day and still get beautifully lit shots.

Be prepared for the rigours of winter photography

Image by Niall Benvie

Be prepared
To capture the best light, you’ll need to work the magic hours of dawn and dusk. Make sure you go equipped

If there is a strong wind, extend the tripod as little as possible and further stabilise the camera by pressing down on it. On soft ground, stability can be increased by hanging your camera bag under the tripod with a bungee cord.

Tripod leg pads
Touching an aluminium tripod with bare hands in winter? Ooch. Tripod leg pads are the answer. Some tripods have them fitted, but commercial pads are also available.

Dress according to the expected conditions. The cold saps your energy, so it’s important to keep warm to stay focused. A hat, gloves and a flask of tea can make all the difference when you’re waiting for the best light…

PAGE 1: Making the most of winter light
PAGE 2: Simple tips to boost your winter photography
PAGE 3: How to photograph frost
PAGE 4: How to photograph snow
PAGE 5: Get creative with your winter photography


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