So it’s winter (sorry)… But that doesn’t mean that you don’t still want to get out and enjoy those amazing photographic opportunities! It’s a little harder to be motivated, but when you are, here are a few tips to help make your trip a little easier:
1. Keep your camera cold.
It’s incredibly annoying when your camera fogs up after getting out of the car. And it takes a lot of time for it to normalize enough for you to take a decent photo. Keeping your camera cold is one way to combat this effect so that when you stop you’re good to go!
2. Keep your batteries warm.
The first thing to be affected when you’re shooting in the cold is your camera battery. You could bury your camera in the snow overnight and it would (possibly) still be ok (we don’t recommend you try this by the way). Your battery though would almost definitely give in. At least until you popped it in your pocket for a while to warm up. Try keeping a second battery in your pocket to switch out when you have troubles with your first.
3. Bring gloves.
Please, don’t forget your gloves. Frostbite is NOT ok and no image is worth it. Just remember your gloves (and a pack of hand warmers from Costco too).
4. Dress appropriately.
Gloves are great, but if you’re cold you’re going to be miserable. Photography is NOT like hiking or skiing in the winter, in that you’re often standing STILL. Completely still. So please, dress as though it’s bitterly bitterly cold and you can always remove a layer if you get too hot.
5. Manage your exposure.
Light reflecting off snow plays havoc with your camera’s light meter. This means that you’ll often end up with a photo that is too dark or too bright. Yes, you can edit this in post processing, but if you’re like us and would prefer to get the shot right the first time, try this tip: Slightly overexpose for the scene. Often you’ll only need 0.3 to 0.7 of a stop, but it can make all of the difference.
6. Manage your white balance.
White balance is another key element that your camera struggles with when shooting in the snow. It depends on the day too, whether it’s cloudy or sunny, and how much “other” information you have in your shot (trees, people, buildings etc). So watch your white balance carefully. Your camera will tend to make your photographs more blue.
7. Shoot in RAW.
If all else fails you can always go back and edit it later ;).
Best advice? Don’t let the winter weather stop you. Get out there and give it a go!
Want to learn more? Our Digital II – Action & Composition course is a great place to start to learn more about exposure compensation and how to use it to best effect, and our Digital III – Landscapes & Travel course is a great place to learn more about … well… landscapes!