Winter is the time when everything changes and turns into fabulous scenery. Snow-white landscapes are interesting locations for shooting. But winter photos do not always live up to expectations.
What is the reason? Blame the snow. White, sparkling, clean background easily turns into dirt or merges with objects. Photographing snow is like shooting white on white.
How to avoid marriage during photo shoots in winter? There are important rules for setting up a camera for outdoor shooting in winter, which not everyone knows about. We have collected them for you in the article.
What problems does a photographer face in winter?
— Short daylight hours. Everything must be carefully planned in advance. All the important points on how to prepare for a photo shoot in the cold and take beautiful and simple photos in winter have been collected in a separate article.
— Lighting. Insufficient and low contrast in cloudy weather. Or high contrast on a bright sunny day.
– Need additional protection for equipment (backpack or camera bag, protective case, light filter).
The main enemy of the photographer in winter is snow. It is easy to turn it into an unattractive gray mass.
Why? Automatic exposure detection gives an error, considering some of the areas overexposed, averaging the tone. As a result, the snow turns gray, faded.
What to do? Open your aperture more, or slow your shutter speed, or raise your ISO. Make exposure compensation:
- positive by 1–1.5 steps (there is a lot of snow in the frame);
- negative by 0.5–1 stop (there is little white in the picture).
The more snow in the frame, the easier it is to get a lighted space instead of fluffy snowdrifts. Adjust exposure to avoid this.
Pay attention to the histogram. The light peak should be slightly to the left of the right border. Professionals recommend on clear days to fix the exposure in the sky, and on cloudy days — to adjust plus by 1 step.
Depth of field
In winter photos, you want to see the texture of a snowy landscape, and not a smooth canvas. Adjusting the depth of field is simple — set the desired aperture. Aperture values F7.1 — F11 are suitable for shooting a winter landscape.
Why? The sparkling snow surface acts as a reflector. So in sunny weather, an excess of illumination is obtained — both for the human eye and for the camera. And an open aperture is used in low light.
What to do? A smaller aperture (and/or faster shutter speed) is the best solution on a bright, sunny day.
When setting the camera on a sunny day, do not select Auto White Balance.
Why? Yellowish photos are obtained, the snow is dirty.
What to do? Make pictures colder. Set the white balance to warmer light. For example, in cloudy weather, select the mode “Daylight / Daylight” (about 5200K), and not “Cloudy / Cloudy” (about 6000K).
If you shoot in RAW or NEF, then you can reduce the temperature of the photo already in post-processing. But the more correctly you set the camera settings, the easier it will be to work with the final material.
Shooting in the snow
White snow on a light background will be lost. If you want beautiful snow shots, choose a dark background for snowflakes.
Flying snow is photographed in three ways:
- at a short shutter speed — catch snowflakes in flight. Use if there is no strong wind and the snow is gently falling on the surface. Exposure from 1/250 to 1/800. If the frame looks dark, raise the ISO value;
- at a slow shutter speed (for example, 1/60) — show the dynamics. The snowflakes will appear as white lines. In the evening, lanterns and garlands will beautifully illuminate the composition;
- with flash at any shutter speed — snowflakes will be fixed in front of the lens in the form of a beautiful bokeh. Set the camera to aperture priority mode, set the exposure compensation from +2 to +3, ISO 100. It is better to fix the camera on a tripod.
Beautiful winter pictures are not easy to make, but they look spectacular. A few tips:
- portrait shooting is carried out in the morning;
- choose a not very sunny day. Otherwise, the snow will blind the model, because of the bright light there will be a strong contrast — you will lose the beauty of the details;
- Avoid flashy makeup. Enough 1–2 bright accents in the image.
Details about winter portraiture were written in a separate article.
Winter photos at night
In the dark, they shoot no less interesting shots than during the day. Important — find a place that is well lit. Lanterns, shop windows, light from windows will do. This will highlight the snowflakes, separate them from the main snow, make the photo warmer.
Winter photo in cloudy weather and fog
Morning haze and fog will help create uniquely beautiful pictures. Important:
- decide in advance on the location of the shooting. In winter, the weather is fleeting. A lot of time to choose a place, the selection of the composition is simply not there;
- start work immediately after sunrise. You will get frames with a pleasant golden glow;
- make positive exposure compensation (adjust the value between +1/2 to +2 EV) depending on the brightness of the frame. If you miss this, the photos will turn out dirty, dark.
Cloudy weather is the time for black and white shots. Follow these two guidelines:
- find a contrasting object for shooting;
- don’t add too many details to the frame.
You can take a picture of the crisp frost that has not yet been destroyed by people, early in the morning or before dawn. The main rule is to do everything quickly. Use a combination of low ISO and small aperture (i.e. f/16, f/22) to increase depth of field. When working, you can not do without a tripod.
Do you want to highlight the frost in the photo? Select a dark area as the background. Consider the size of the object and the intensity of the main light. If the background is very dark, set the exposure compensation to negative (-1 is good for most backgrounds).
1. Set minimum ISO values. This way you will avoid noise.
2. Do not turn on the flash during the day. The snow is of a cold shade, and the light of the flash is close to natural. As a result, a warm spot will be visible in the photo.
3. Use a lens hood (an attachment on the front of the lens) to avoid light, glare. And it will also protect the lens from snow.
4. If you use bright accents in the frame (yellow, red objects), then against their background the snow will appear cleaner.
5. Use a polarizing filter for a winter photo shoot outdoors on a sunny day. It makes the sky beautiful, reduces reflection from snowdrifts.
6. Landscapes are best shot in the morning or at sunset. The frame will turn out more dramatic, deeper.
7. Shoot after a snowfall. Cool, if the weather cleared up after it. At this time, the snow has not yet stale, has not crumbled, it is not covered with traces, smooth and shiny.
8. Snow + ice, snow + expanse of water — interesting combinations.
Do not be afraid to experiment, find and implement interesting ideas. Let this winter bring a lot of positive emotions and beautiful pictures!