The winter is officially here, and you are probably ready to get outside and shoot. These 10 helpful tips will make you a better photographer and allow you to enjoy your photos more.
- Increase exposure compensation
When you are shooting in bright winter conditions, or want to capture the pure whiteness of the fresh snow, adjust your exposure compensation by +0.3 or +0.7. Cameras don’t know that you are shooting snow (also, technically your camera doesn’t see colour as well), so you have to tell the camera that you are shooting something bright and adjust exposure. Otherwise, your snow will end up looking grey.
2. Keep batteries warm
Batteries lose their capacity when exposed to low temperatures, so if you are used to getting a few hundred shots on one charge, in cold temperature the number of shots you can take on one charge can drop considerably — up to 50-70%. You can easily cheat the cold by keeping spare batteries warm by putting them in your inner pocket close to your body.
3. Save your camera from a fogging up
Shooting something in freezing temperatures is a challenge, so when you are ready to warm up in a cafe, place your camera in a photo bag with lens cover before you enter a warm place. If you simply rush in a cafe with your camera, your lens will fog up immediately with build-up moisture.
4. Consider photo-friendly gloves
If you are shooting outside, you may end up shooting in gloves. If you are like me and use regular gloves, you can find yourself frustrated by not being able to use all the dials and buttons because of thick gloves. Most photo stores would sell special photo gloves with thinner material around fingertips so that you can fully control your camera. Plus, they usually feature a special material on the palms for a secure grip.
5. Beware of red noses
I enjoy shooting portraits during winter time, because cute hats and mittens help me make the shot. However, if your model ends up with a red nose in all those photos, don’t panic. Simply adjust saturation in Lightroom (or any other editing program of your choice) — move Red Saturation slightly left (-10-15), and Orange Saturation slightly left too (-5-10).
6. Capture the snowfall
One of the most majestic things is to to capture beautiful snowfall. To get the best shot, consider getting a telephoto lens — anything with a focal length of 70mm and over. For best conditions, you would use lens with 200mm or more, and with shallow aperture (consider f/4.5-6.3), with fastest shutter speed you can make (1/400 of a second or faster). What you want to achieve is a depth of field, so that snowflakes right in front of the camera and right behind the focus point will appear to be larger, creating that magical feel
7. Best time for landscapes
It’s not just that during winter time the sunrises and sunsets can be a lot more dramatic, especially right before or after snow storms, but it is also a lot easier to photograph them, because sun rises later and sets earlier, allowing landscape photographers to take a brake (in summer hours, photographers need to be up and ready by 4am!)
8. Keep your gear dry with a snow cover
If you are out a lot during snow storms, invest in a good snow or rain cover. It will keep your camera and lenses dry during photo shoots, minimizing the chance of liquid getting close to the electronic brains of your camera. You can get one for as low as $6, but good covers will set you back $60-100. Still, it’s a great investment and costs a fraction of a camera repair.
9. Drying a camera
If your camera got wet, bring it to the warm place and wrap a dry towel around it. Let it sit for a few hours. If you will try to wipe the snow or water off you may risk pushing it inside the seams with electronic components, which can kill your camera. Just let it sit in a towel for a bit.
10. Keep yourself warm
Lastly, keep yourself warm. Shooting outside can be challenging, and it’s important to be properly prepared for wind or cold. It’s never a bad idea to overdress — in the worst case scenario, you can unzip your winter coat. Wear nice boots, warm gloves and a hat, and be ready to have fun!