When the world slowly turns white, your fingers start to itch to go outside with your camera. A white world is always special and makes for beautiful pictures. You decide to go on a winter walk to take photo's, and will go through them later while enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate (you might even have some whipped cream on top). If you want to be proud of the pictures you took, we advise you to pay extra attention to the lighting and the white balance when you take pictures. Proper lighting and white balance are essential when you are photographing in the snow.
Almost anything becomes beautiful with a thick layer of snow on top of it
Photographing in the snow: Make white white, not grey
If you rely blindly on the exposure meter of your camera, chances are that your photos of the snow will be pretty disappointing. If you let the camera choose, it will probably choose to expose the snow in such a way that the details of the snow remain clearly visible, not turning it into one large white surface. Something could be said for this, after all, we don't see snow like a pure and empty white plane ourselves, but it does usually mean that the rest of the photo becomes overly dark. Therefore, try to overexpose the photo a little. If you are photographing completely manually, you can do this by adjusting the shutter speed, aperture or ISO value. If you are using a (semi) automatic mode, use the exposure compensation button to adjust it.
On the other hand, it can also look strange when the snow is really just a white surface. Therefore, you should try to find a happy medium, where the photographed snow is just a bit on the white side, but there are still some details visible.
You can find this exposure meter on your camera. If the arrow is at 0, the exposure is good, according to the camera. For making photos in the snow, try moving the arrow towards the 1 or even 2. This way, the snow becomes nice and white and the rest of the photo will not be very dark.
Photographing in the snow: Make white white, not yellow
Around sunrise or sunset, the snow can sometimes have a nice orange hue, but during the day, the snow is usually stark white. Our brains are very good in determining what should be white and can easily compensate for different types of light, so that all colours look as they should. Cameras have a little more difficulty determining which parts are white and always have to guess what is white and how the other colours relate to it.
Focusing and creating depth in a white world
Cameras often have difficulty with focusing properly when there is a lot of snow. That's because snow provides little contrast points to focus on. Therefore, don't focus the camera on the middle of the snow, but rather on a high-contrast area. In addition, try to create depth in the white landscape. Place something in the foreground or look for something that is less covered in snow (for example, a bench or a tree).
Landscape or macro photography in the snow
A white world never get's old and often makes for beautiful photos of a snowy landscape. But how about a macro photo in the snow? With a macro lens you can capture the details, such as the structure of the ice crystals. You should still pay attention to focusing the camera. That's because in macro photographs too, the camera has difficulty finding contrast points. Snow is very beautiful from up close, give it a try.
Well prepared for the snow
It is advisable to dress more warmly than you normally do when you go outside. After all, it is cold outside and you're standing still more often than you would on a normal walk. Therefore, invest in warm clothing and hit the road prepared.
Additionally, it is wise to protect your equipment against the weather conditions. Snow consists of ice crystals and those in turn consist of water. And water is bad for electronic equipment. A rain cover can offer a solution to prevent your camera from getting wet.
Lastly, consider the battery of your camera. Batteries don't last as long when it's cold. A spare battery is therefore not overdoing it at all. Always hit the road with 1 or 2 spare batteries and keep them in the pocket of your trousers or jacket.
Enjoy the snow!