Winter is upon us, and some people dread this season. It’s cold, the days are shorter, the nights are longer, and sometimes (although rare in Vancouver) there’s snow to clear off you car in the morning. Personally, I love the winter. I revel in this season of snow and celebration. But photographing in the winter can bring its challenges, and it takes practice to shoot snow like a pro. As with any shoot, the first step is to always be prepared, and with that in mind please read on to hear my top 10 tips for capturing the wonders of winter.
#1 – PLAN YOUR DAY
Days are much shorter during the winter, so plan your day carefully. Sunrise arrives late and the sun goes to bed early, so you only have a few hours of sunlight to shoot. Wait for the weather you want to shoot in, and be ready to go. The more time you want to shoot the earlier you need to arrive at your destination. Time flies so don’t let it fly past you.
#2 – DRESS WARM
Make sure to dress appropriately for the season. You’ll be out for a few hours in cold weather, so wearing warm, comfortable clothing is a necessity. Keep your feet and fingers warm. If it’s windy out, make sure to protect your face from the sting of the cold. After all, you don’t want to catch a chill waiting for that perfect shot. Bring hot tea, coffee, or soup with you, and something to eat too.
#3 – BE SAFE
If you are heading somewhere more remote, make sure someone knows where you’re going and how to get there. Ensure your cell phone is fully charged and you can get a signal in an emergency. Unless you’re photographing wildlife, make sure you’re the one to spot by wearing bright clothing.
#4 – CHECK YOUR GEAR
Make sure all of your gear is fully charged and properly packed. Take with you everything you know – and everything you may – need. Have all the proper lenses and accessories. Bring at least one spare battery for your camera and keep it somewhere warm and close to your body.
#5 – TIMING YOUR SHOOT
The best time to shoot winter landscapes is early in the morning before the sun gets too high and melts the snow. There’s nothing quite like the bright winter sun shining through a gap in the trees or basking a person, building, or city street in glowing illumination.
#6 – FREEZE FRAMES
Frozen trees and waterfalls make for beautiful winter photography subjects. Silence is golden or, in this case, bright white. Ensure not to overexpose your images or you’ll lose focus.
#7 – SHARP CONTRAST
The sharp contrast between sun and snow makes for an interesting duet, but capturing the pureness of snow can be tricky sometimes. I suggest playing around with the white balance on your camera to find that perfect ‘shade’ of white.
#8 – A SPLASH OF COLOUR
With bare trees and snow covering the remaining green, winter scenes typically lack colour. But this can be a great opportunity to add a dramatic splash of colour to an otherwise black and white shot. Find some colour, especially warm tones. Also, take the opportunity to play around with effects on your camera to enliven your shots.
#9 – PROTECT YOUR GEAR
In the winter, condensation can build up in the camera. Use dry cleaning cloths to clean the lens and keep the lens cap on whenever the camera isn’t in use to prevent snow or moisture getting in. Camera batteries die quicker too, so make sure you have a replacement warm and on hand.
#10 – CREATIVE COLLABORATION
Nature won’t always collaborate with you, and finding the perfect shot might just be down to proper planning and patience. When working with people, however, work together and have clear communication to compose memorable shots that inspire and thrill.
So, embrace the cold this winter and celebrate the snowy scenery to create your very own wonderful Christmas snap shot. Whether it’s a headshot, portrait, collage, portfolio, or a family photo experience you’re looking for, I have the expertise and capabilities to make it happen. Contact me today with your ideas. I’d love to hear how I can help turn your imagination into a picture-perfect set up.