Wrap up warm and take some of the most beautiful photos this winter
Winter is arguably the most beautiful time of the year, and it doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or professional photographer, it’s a great opportunity to go out and take some incredibly creative and dramatic photos.
With stark landscapes and difficult light conditions, it can really push you as a photographer, but the rewards can be so much greater than just shooting when it’s 20+ degrees outside with beautiful blue skies.
If you’re really looking at improving your photography, then this winter is if perfect time to get out and put what you’re about to read into practice.
Without further ado, here are some winter photography tips for 2018!
Wrap up warm
This one goes without saying and rightly deserves to be the first tip, but make sure your wrap up warm.
When it comes to taking photos, often you’ll be standing around waiting for the right moment, and if you’re not moving you can quickly become cold. And as soon as you’re cold, you’re not going to want to take photos; trust me, I’ve been there.
Make sure you pack things like a hat and a scarf. I also find mittens really handy too – whenever you need to use your hands, you can have quick access to your fingers, fire off a few shots and then cover them up again. Easy.
Make sure you plan ahead
In winter the days can be incredibly short with only a few hours of daylight to work in. That’s why it’s more important than ever to plan ahead so you know exactly what you’re taking photos of and where you’re going to be.
If you need to travel to a specific location that you have in mind, leave when it’s still dark. You don’t want to waste hours and miss out on the best light all because you left it too late to walk out your front door.
You’d be surprised at how quickly a day can go in winter so make sure you’re prepared for it.
Keep your batteries warm
Interesting fact this one (well, interesting to me), but batteries drain much faster when they’re in cold temperatures.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you keep your batteries in your pockets close to you so they can pick up some body warmth. It’s just a small thing but it’s good to get into the practice of protecting your batteries just in case you need some extra juice.
Overexpose your photo
Winter photography goes against a lot of what you’ve been taught, but it’s best to overexpose a photo by +0.5 to +1.
Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras struggle to pick up the white colour of snow (they’ll actually see it as grey and therefore underexpose a photo), so by overexposing your photo it means you’re overcoming this correction and the whites of a photo will really stand out.
Then, in post-production, you can bring the highlights of the sky down a lot more to correctly exposure the overall photo.
Use a circular polariser
Another way to create a darker sky and to really make those clouds ‘pop’ is to use a circular polariser.
This allows different hues of blue onto your sensor and it’s always a good idea to have a darker sky with a brighter foreground, especially when taking snowy/icy landscapes. It’s really important to capture that contrast of blue and white, and a circular polariser is perfect for this.
Switch to manual focus
With low contrast landscapes or when snow is falling, your camera will struggle to find a point to focus on. Or worse yet, it’ll focus on the snowflakes as they’re falling in front of your camera.
To overcome this, in wintery conditions it’s best to switch to manual and set the focus point to infinity (for landscapes) or to 1/3 for a subject in the foreground. With infinity, you’ll focus past the snowflakes, especially with slightly longer exposures.
Add a splash of colour
When taking photos in winter it’s very easy to lose all definition and colour to the point it’ll look a lot like a black and white image.
You can easily overcome this by adding in a touch of colour yourself. If you’re with someone and using them as a model, make sure they’re wearing a brightly coloured jacket or hat. Or if you’re on your own, search out for just one splash of colour to add into your photos; the results can be amazing.
Better yet, buy a brightly coloured bag like the Offroad Hiker backpack not only doubles up as a camera bag but it looks fantastic in photos too. Win win.
Beware of your footprints
If you’re taking photos of freshly fallen snow, make sure you don’t walk through the middle of it and ruin your composition. You’ll be surprised at how common this is so just be mindful of where you’re walking and where you place your feet! Remember where your subject matter is and approach it head-on.
Shoot with a very narrow aperture
When the sun eventually comes out and is hanging low on the horizon, switch to a narrow aperture. This gives gorgeous sun spears as the light diffracts around the blades inside the lens and makes your photos look more dramatic and beautiful.
And bring a thermos full of hot tea or coffee!
Remember, it’s cold out there so make sure you bring a thermos full of hot tea or coffee to get you through the day. You’ll be very thankful you have it!
Don’t let the challenges posed by winter prevent you from getting out there and doing your thing.
Taking photos in winter can be a little daunting at first, especially when it’s a grey or foggy day, but the settings can really lend itself to some stunning photography.
And if you like your stark and minimalist photography then there can be no better time for capturing moody and bleak landscapes than winter.
So, the next time you see some fresh powder on the ground or low lying fog, instead of sitting by the fire looking for something to do, wrap up warm and head outside with your camera and get ready to take some fantastic photos.