When you are planning to go out for some winter photography, the most important thing is to wrap up warm. You will be outside in cold temperatures for several hours. You don’t want to get cold. Wear fingerless gloves under some mittens, so when you take the mittens off to work the camera your hands still have some protection. Waterproof boots, a warm jacket, lots of layers and a hat are all as vital as your camera gear.
2. Your camera
Keep your camera cold when shooting in winter. Ever notice how your glasses instantly fog when coming into warmth after being out in the cold? The same can easily happen to your camera. Do not place your camera under your coat in hopes of warming it up or keeping your batteries from draining too quickly. The warmth of your body can be potentially harmful. Plus, there is nothing worse than whipping out your camera for that once-in-a- lifetime shot only to have it fog up as soon as it’s re- exposed to the cold. Zip up your camera in a zip-top bag when you are not using it. This way, any condensation that forms upon entering a warm interior can form on the outside of your zip bag instead of or in your camera body and lens.
Do keep spare batteries warm, keep them in your pocket as cold batteries drain quicker.
Keep the lens cap on the camera when you are not taking pictures to prevent snowflakes from landing on the lens and always have a few microfiber lens cloths to wipe smudges. Consider a storm jacket waterproof camera cover, or even a plastic bag to protect from snow or sleet.
Ensure you have a lens hood to help avoid lens flare as the snow can be very reflective.
A polariser can help minimise glare from the snow. Grad filters are also a good idea to help keep balance in the scene
4. Shoot raw
Shoot in raw format. Capturing the correct exposure and colour temperature when your scene is overwhelmed by reflective, white snow can be tricky. Setting your recording format to raw allows you to safely adjust your settings post processing without being limited to a JPEG.
In winter, it is a good idea to slightly overexpose your image to compensate for your camera’s metering system, which is standardised for middle grey. While this standardisation is generally perfect for the diverse range of scenes, a bright, snowy day is one of the few exceptions as there is no grey in the scene. Matrix metering, combined with shooting in aperture-priority mode, is a reliable way to overcome your camera reading the range of light in your snow scene at an average 18% grey. Take advantage of your exposure-compensation dial. Adding one-third or two-thirds exposure compensation lets more light into your scene, preventing muddied grey exposures, and ensuring the snow stays white in your photos.
Rely on your histogram readout instead of your LCD screen for an accurate reading of the scene. Just as it can be difficult for your camera to read and measure for the scene correctly, it can be difficult for you to judge an image on a small LCD screen under a bright sun or in the middle of a highly reflective, snow-covered landscape.
Finding the correct white balance while photographing snow can be tricky. More often than not, snow reads on the blue side of the colour spectrum. If you don’t plan on adjusting your white balance and prefer to get everything right in-camera, use the “flash” setting. It is intended to compensate for bluish flash lighting, and can warm up your snow-filled image.
The composition of snowy scenery works best when vast white areas are brought to life by contrast or a bright colour. Think ahead of time about where you’re walking and make sure your footprints won’t be in the frame.
If snow is falling while you’re outside photographing, and you find the snowfall distracting, set up a tripod and slow your shutter speed down to erase the falling snowflakes from your scene. On the contrary, utilize a fast shutter speed to stop the action, highlighting the snowfall over your scene.
Winter lighting tends to change quickly; chances are you won’t have as much time to capture multiple images with the same light as you think you will!