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Our Grads in the northern hemisphere might be shivering in the cold right now, but what a fantastic opportunity for breathtaking photos shot in a winter wonderland!
So this week’s highlights reel is a collection of fantastic ideas for shooting in the snow! Check em out and grab the bonus tips!
One of the best things about shooting in the snow is being able to include beautiful texture and colour through winter woollies… think chunky hats and sweaters, brightly coloured boots, cute mittens and ear muffs, ooh and faux fur coats and hoods! All of these add extra interest, layers, depth and colour, and provide a really striking contrast against the tones of a winter landscape. So give it some considered forethought before heading out, and if you don’t already have these items in great colours and textures, get some!
If you meter for snow it will expose a little grey, as the meter attempts to expose for midtones. So to ensure the whites are white and not grey, try ETTR (exposing to the right) to compensate, and use your histogram or the highlight warning to make sure you don’t overexpose the whites to the point of losing detail (check your user guide to find out if your camera has a hghlight warning function and how to turn it on).
Related: What is Metering
A classic shot you must get, catching snowflakes on their tongue!
Include precious details and isolate and capture them!
That being said… there’s wrong with black & white snow portraits! Depending on what else is in the scene it can offer the ultimate range in tones from black to white, which is an essential ingredient in good black & white conversions.
Including large areas of negative space in your frame is a fantastic way to convey the sense of scale in the natural environment, when you’re surrounded by majestic scenes such as the one below. Or you can use it to highlight the size of your subject relative to the environment. Place your subject using the rule of thirds and allow the scene to take up the rest of the frame for big impact.
Using the Rule of Thirds
Not sure what to capture? Just because it’s snowing doesn’t mean the kids can’t play outdoors like any old day. Just rug them up and bring out some toys to bring a pop of colour to the monotone scene. Oh and make sure they’re photogenic and weather proof!
A snowman photo is a classic for sure, and a perfect opportunity to add some much needed colour to a snowy scene!
Related: 7 Tips for Snow Portraits
It goes without saying snow begs for some fast action play. Be ready for it with a fast shutter speed to avoid any unwanted blur! It helps to take more photos than you normally would as freezing fast motion can be more hit and miss so you want to give yourself plenty of opportunity to nail a few shots.
Also learn how to use continuous focus mode, which enables the camera to refocus each time your subject moves. Most manual cameras will have a continuous focus mode, but you’ll need to check your user guide to determine how to switch over as it will vary from model to model.
Even slow motion like this needs a faster shutter speed than you might normally use to avoid unwanted motion blur. For someone moving toward or away from you at a normal walking pace, try around 1/320 minimum.
There’s nothing like super cold weather to brimg out the fine detail of nature. Even if you don’t get snow where you live, cold icy weather can create beautiful frost on the surrounding flora which is a great time to get some stunningly delicate, close up macro shots.
If you don’t have a dedicated macro lens or filters, use your sharpest lens then crop in later to get a little closer. Bear in mind the more you crop, the more quality you lose. So get in as close as your lens will focus, and ensure a super sharp image by nailing your focus and using a fast shutter speed and a narrower aperture than you would normally use.
Related: Macro Photography for Beginners
Brave the cold and get out with your widest lens for some stunning winter landscape photography! But first…
Head out armed with these really easy and practical tips to help you compose for frame worthy landscape images:
These are just a few easy tips you can try which will have big impact. But if you want to take a deep dive into landscape photography, check out these comprehensive landscape and travel photography guides from expert landscape photographers and CLG Grads Annick Bidiville and Veraine Spiller.
I hope this post inspires you to get out and capture some snow photos! Come share them on Insta and use #clicklovegrow so we can find them!