You’re bundled up under appropriate layers, complete with warm, waterproof boots, finger-less mittens, and disposable hand warmers for added comfort. Spare batteries are tucked under layers, close to your body, to keep them warm in an attempt to prolong their life outside. Spare lens cloths for fogged lenses and an airtight plastic bag for condensation purposes ride in your bag. Now, how does one capture the perfect shot in the snow?
Here are a few tips to help you catch the untouched landscape, the serene snowfall in the city, or the epic snow fight your kids have on their highly anticipated day off from school.
1. A zoom lens will give you a range of focal lengths without compromising your gear by having to swap lenses in the cold.
2. Keep the lens cap on when not shooting.
3. Add a UV or clear filter to protect the front element of your lens from moisture building up. Bring a spare lens cloth, too.
4. Add your lens hood to avoid lens flare.
5. A polarizer can help minimize or remove the glare on snow and ice-covered surfaces.
6. Consider adding a rain guard to protect your camera body and lens from rain or snow.
7. Shoot in RAW format. This allows you to safely adjust your settings without being limited, the way you would be otherwise, with a JPEG.
8. Finding the correct white balance while photographing snow can be tricky. 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.
9. When you bring your camera back inside after shooting, bag it in a plastic bag to prevent condensation from forming on lens and electronics. It will form on the inside of the bag. Or, get yourself an Overboard Waterproof Dry Tube Bag, specially designed to handle this issue.
10. Snow can be overpowering for your camera’s internal light meter. Using your camera in AUTO, or even APERTURE/SHUTTER PRIORITY mode will undoubtedly result in dark images since the camera is reading all of the bright light reflected from the snow and compensating accordingly. The best way to overcome this is by shooting in MANUAL and compensating accordingly.
However… If you do shoot in Auto or Aperture/Shutter Priority modes, you can work to overcome the imbalanced meter readings by adjusting the EV compensation, or by aiming at a dark object and pressing the shutter halfway to get a reading, then moving the camera (with shutter still halfway depressed) to re-frame and capture the shot.