10 Tips for Winter Photography Fun

10 Tips for Winter Photography Fun

Winter is a great time to get and take photos—if you’re prepared.  Yes, you can safely use your camera outdoors in wintry weather.  And with these simple tips, you can have more fun and get better photos while enjoying winter.

Marie’s 10 Winter Photography Tips

1.Dress properly.  It’s no fun to be cold. I admit I am a cold wimp, but it’s so much more comfortable and fun to be warm when you’re out in cold weather.  Layers work well, even with your gloves and mittens. One of my favorite finds is this pair of lightweight sport gloves that are thin enough to wear underneath my heavy gloves but still keep my hands warm and allow me to operate the controls on my camera with my hands protected. Bonus: they also work with my cell phone, so I can take a quick snap for Instagram or messaging without removing my gloves.

Dress for the cold
You don’t have to dress like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man to stay warm. Find warm thin layers appropriate to the weather. I look like this because I was photographing the sunrise in my favorite national park and the windchill was -20F. I really am a cold wimp.

 

2. Keep your camera warm.  Cold batteries are the cause of most camera problems.  Cold batteries fail more quickly. Keep your camera inside your coat when not using it, if possible.  Carry extra batteries and keep them in an inside pocket, as near to your body as possible to help keep them warm.  You may have to switch batteries more frequently.  When cold batteries warm up, they usually still work fine without a recharge.
snow-covered tree limbs

 

3. Keep your camera dry. Errant snowballs and other hazards of winter are not good for your camera’s inner workings.  If you have a few dollars to spend, you can buy special “rain gear” for your camera–it’s just as effective for snow. I purchased this one a few years ago. Not only is it inexpensive, it works. If you don’t want to purchase a “rain coat” or you don’t have time to wait for one to arrive, you can also cover your camera with a plastic zipper bag Leave an opening for the lens, which you can secure with a rubber band. When you are done photographing, put your camera inside a plastic bag when you bring it inside to protect it from condensation as it warms up.  This includes when you get back into your warm car if you’re going to be n the car for some time. Keep it away from direct heat as it warms back up. Leave it in the bag until it reaches room temperature; resist the temptation to download or look at your photos right away.  I know this is probably the hardest part of all, but it’s critical to a healthy camera.

 

4. Snow will fool your camera’s light meter.  Setting your exposure manually is a good plan when photographing in the snow. If you can adjust the exposure, open it up an extra stop on a sunny, snowy day so your snow photos don’t all come out too dark.fun group portraits

 

 

5. Use your flash to help compensate for even harsher shadows when photographing people outside in the snow and sun. Sunny snow days create very harsh bright light. Snow acts like a giant reflector. Be mindful of your subjects and, when possible, position them so they aren’t being blinded by bright sun and snow reflections. Using a flash will help to minimize overly dark shadows on faces in portraits.
use a flash on sunny days

 

6. When photographing people, encourage them to wear bright colors which stand out wonderfully against the snow.
sisters in the snow

 

7. Get the family in action.  Snowboarding, skiing, sledding and snowball fights all make great photos.  Use the action mode on your camera if you don’t have manual settings.
sledding fun

 

8. Look for close-ups of natural items in the snow—winter berries, pine cones, plants and rocks all look completely different covered in snow and ice.
find snow-covered items

 

9. Head out–carefully–after a snow or ice storm.  Snow- and ice-covered objects, both natural and man-made make great subjects for artistic photographs.  If necessary, consider investing in a pair of traction cleats like these for the bottom of your shoes to help with your grip on the ice.  They aren’t expensive and they are a LOT less expensive than a trip to the emergency room. A slip on the ice that breaks your camera could ruin your outing, but one that breaks your arm could ruin your winter.snowy plants

 

10. Try something different. If your camera has a macro or close-up feature, try photographing snowflakes and icicles for unique winter patterns.
Frozen Staircase

 

11. Have fun.  Experiment with colors, textures, patterns and exposure.  Winter is a season like no other for photography.
snow angel

 

Have any questions about winter photography or about anything you see here?  Please leave your questions and feedback in the comment section below.

25 thoughts on “10 Tips for Winter Photography Fun

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  • January 10, 2012 at 11:27 am
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    Don’t forget “buy a Pentax K7/5.” They’re weather resistant (no need for plastic bags) and they’re good in the cold up to about -10f.

    Reply
  • December 29, 2011 at 10:30 am
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    Thanks for sharing this beautiful picture to us..I really appreciate it..

    Reply
  • December 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm
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    Thanks for sharing this wonderful tips to us..I really appreciate it..Hope you can post more..

    Reply
  • December 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm
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    Nice work, Marie! Your photos are great! I have a friend who does nature photography and will share this post. Thanks!

    Reply
  • December 18, 2011 at 5:00 am
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    The best photos always seem to be those that capture the grandeur of seemingly small moments and details. I have used your photography tips daily on my trip through Florence and Rome…thank you for helping me to see that photography is a lovely way to share an intimate moment, and a personal point of view.

    Reply
    • December 19, 2011 at 7:27 am
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      Wonderful, Rhonda. Can’t wait to see some more of those images from your amazing trip. I’m so glad I could help you find ways to make it even more memorable.

      Reply
  • December 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm
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    Wonderful tips, Marie. I love the photos, they are absolutely beautiful. I appreciate you, thank you 🙂

    Reply
  • December 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm
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    What beautiful photos, Marie. You always use such great angles… keep them coming, I love to go through them. x0x
    The LEARNED Preneur @ NormaDoiron.NET

    Reply
  • December 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm
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    Thanks for sharing not only the amazing TIPS, but also great photos! Love reading your posts Marie!

    Reply
  • December 15, 2011 at 2:23 am
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    Thanks for some Great tips! I was not thinking about winter time in this way and you opened up for more creativity.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm
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    I think my absolute favorite is number eleven. It looks like a waterfall frozen in mid-fall. Great photography, Marie!

    I love the tips – I haven’t ever had good luck getting my photography to work well in the bright white of a winter day!

    Reply
    • December 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm
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      That is exactly what it is, Katrina. I LOVE waterfalls–and frozen ones are even cooler. It still amazes me that waterfalls actually freeze like that.

      Reply
  • December 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm
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    These are some great tips. The shots are awesome!

    Reply
  • December 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm
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    Fantastic tips. I was out with a friend yesterday photographing and I’m slowly getting more accustomed to photography over time.

    We don’t see the drastic cold weather out here in Southern California, so luckily we aren’t faced with many of the concerns listed in this post.

    Reply
    • December 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm
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      It was definitely a big change for me, Edmund, to learn to photograph in cold country after spending most of my life in Southern California. Glad you’re enjoying your photographic adventures.

      Reply
  • December 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm
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    Great advice and even greater images! I especially love number 10. What am I looking at?

    Reply
    • December 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm
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      Thanks, Lorrie. #10 is the underside of a fire escape staircase following a week of freezing rain. One of my faves, too.

      Reply
  • December 14, 2011 at 8:23 am
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    lovely pictures! good reminder about the batteries…we seem to forget that the cold affects them…cell phones too!

    Reply

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