February 6, 2023

Robin Gillham

Top 18 Winter Photography Tips For 2023

Photo by Josh Hild

Winter brings a unique charm and beauty to specific scenes, offering a perfect opportunity for capturing breathtaking photos. The crisp, cool air and blankets of snow create an ethereal atmosphere, making it a favorite time of year for photographers. However, winter photography can be challenging, but with the proper techniques and gear, you can capture stunning images that evoke the magic of the season.

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a beginner looking to improve your skills, this article will explore tips and tricks to help you take fantastic winter photos. From understanding light and exposure to finding the best gear and shooting locations, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know to capture the beauty of winter. So, grab your camera, bundle up, and let’s go on a winter photography adventure.

Are you ready to learn everything there is to know about shooting in the winter? Let’s get started!

Make Use Of Plastic Bags To Fight Condensation

Photo by Tengyart

Condensation can wreak havoc on photography equipment in cold temperatures. Unless you are prepared, you should avoid rapid temperature changes with your gear, so you shouldn’t walk in and out of your home, hotel or ski resort restaurant constantly. Remember, as soon as a camera and lens are warmed in this way, condensation will form all over them. While you are still outside, put your camera and lens in a ziplock bag to prevent this from happening. By doing this, the camera will come up to temperature more slowly, and much of the condensation that does form will appear on the bag and not on the camera.

To prevent mildew from forming inside your lens, it’s imperative that all your gear is thoroughly dried out after your cold weather shoot. After you get home, lay out a towel on the table and remove all the caps from your lenses to warm them up. Additionally, place the body cap face down on the towel after removing it from the camera.

Keep Your Equipment In Good Condition

Photo by Devin H

If your gear isn’t in good condition, you won’t be able to take pictures, even if the light is perfect. Cameras and lenses are affected by cold and wet weather. It is even possible for batteries to malfunction. Here are some tips for protecting your equipment during a winter photo shoot.

Keep Your Batteries Warm

Photo by Mike Kotsch

Batteries run out quickly in low temperatures, even if you don’t use them. In cold weather, a fully charged battery lasts only about 50–70% longer than in warm weather. Bringing more spare batteries won’t help if you don’t keep them warm. Keep your camera close to you by storing it in the inner pockets of your jacket, or buy a winter camera bag to keep it warm. You can even wrap your batteries in wool socks to keep them warm.

Keep Your Lenses Clear Of Fog

Photo by Benjamin Voros

If you wear glasses, you know how quickly they tend to fog up whenever you enter a warm room during winter. The same is true for camera lenses, but the consequences can be much worse. On lenses, condensation quickly builds up, making it harder to keep them clean and ready to shoot. If possible, keep your bag and camera outside, which will help to balance the temperature differences. As a result, your lens won’t fog up, and you’ll be ready at a moment’s notice to take a picture.

Make Sure Your Gear Stays Dry

Photo by Galina N

You should always have a rain or snow cover for your camera when you are taking pictures in the winter. Cameras and lenses are expensive, and you don’t want to ruin them after a season. You can keep your gear dry and protected with professional covers. When compared with the price of a new camera, even the most expensive snow cover is a good investment.

Make Sure Your Camera Dries Quickly

Photo by Fabrice Villard

In the event that you forget to use a snow cover and your camera gets wet, find a warm place and dry it as soon as possible. You can let it sit for several hours if you wrap a dry towel around it. Don’t try to wipe it, since you might move the water deep inside the camera and ruin the electronic components. Even though it will ruin your day, you will be able to save your camera by waiting for several hours.

Make Sure You Take Care Of Yourself

Photo by Filip Bunkens

Winter photography isn’t just about amazing landscapes and weather. Handling a camera properly is impossible with frozen hands and a frost-bitten body. Your feet will not be able to feel the magic of the northern lights if they are wet. Taking good winter photos requires taking care of yourself.

Consider Investing In Gloves That Are Suitable For Taking Pictures

Photo by Fabrizio Conti

It’s impossible to shoot without gloves in freezing temperatures. The problem is that if you wear regular, thick gloves, you won’t be able to control your camera as you should and you’ll get frustrated. In most photo stores, you can find gloves that are photo-friendly. Designed with thin thermal fabric around the fingertips for full control of the camera and special fabric on the palms for a secure grip, these gloves allow you to take pictures with ease.

Make Sure You Stay Warm

Photo by Craig Whitehead

Winter is a challenging time to take pictures outside. Trying to catch the perfect light can take hours. You should be prepared for harsh winds, freezing temperatures, and heavy snowfall. You should invest in a good winter coat, gloves, a hat, and waterproof boots. Keep yourself warm so you can spend more time taking pictures.

Tips And Tricks For Winter Shooting

Photo by Kirke Põldsamm

The winter season is the perfect time to experiment with new techniques and expand your portfolio. However, they are also challenging. It is possible to have compositions that have a wide dynamic range, low lighting, desaturated colors, or low contrast. Here’s how you can improve your photography skills in winter.

When Shooting In Bright Conditions, Compensate For Exposure

Photo by Hans Isaacson

The whiteness of fresh snow and sunny winter days pose a challenge to any camera. You have to let the camera know that the subject is very bright since it doesn’t know what you’re shooting. One top tip is to adjust the exposure compensation by +0.3 or +0.7 unless you want gray snow.

How To Take Pictures Of Snowfall

Photo by Chandler Cruttenden

Winter photography is best done when there is snowfall. Ideally, you should use a lens with at least 70mm of focal length to shoot it properly. Using a 200mm lens or longer and a shallow aperture (between f/4.5 and f/6.3) will give you the best results. It is also important to have a shutter speed of at least 1/400 of a second. The snowflakes in front of the lens and behind the focus point will be larger when you use these settings. In this photograph, the subject will be surrounded by large, blurred snowflakes.

Golden Hour Is The Best Time To Photograph Landscapes

Photo by Cristina Gottardi

Photographers refer to the golden hour as the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. These are the best times of the day for shooting landscapes when the colors are warm, and the skies are dramatic. However, in the winter, sunrises and sunsets are more dramatic than usual. The effect is even more spectacular if you catch it right after a snowstorm. Moreover, in winter, sunrises and sunsets are at convenient times, so you can easily plan a photo session around them.

Landscape Photography Is Best Taken At Sunrise And Sunset

Especially before and after snowstorms, sunrises, and sunsets can be more dramatic during winter. It is likely that they are much easier to photograph. What’s the reason? The sun rises later in the day during winter and sets earlier, allowing landscape photographers to sleep in. In the summer, photographers are required to arrive on location as early as two in the morning, whereas, in the winter, the sun can rise as late as 8 am.

Make Sure You Have A Good Tripod

Photo by Lukáš Vaňátko

A good tripod is essential for winter photography — especially if you are out at night trying to capture the northern and southern lights or the milky way. Due to the low lighting, you will need to use long exposures, and the only way to achieve that is by making sure your camera is rock-steady.

Learn more about astrophotography here.

Make Sure You Have An Air Blower With You

In cold weather, snowflakes may find their way into your camera’s lens – not ideal for your compositions! Because your camera will be cold, it won’t melt and can be brushed off. If you brush them off with your hands or a cloth, they may melt, or you will leave fingerprints on your lens. Just blow them off the lens with an air blower like this instead.

Low-Contrast Situations Are Good For Manual Focus

Ever tried using your camera’s autofocus feature to capture snow? This winter photography tip will be of great value to you if you have done so. Scenes in winter tend to be low in contrast. The autofocus of your camera may struggle during these situations. Sometimes, it may not focus at all.

It may be a good idea to switch to manual focus if you find your camera is struggling. This approach requires a lot of practice and care, but it ensures that you can focus on anything, regardless of the contrast. A manual focus ring should always be present on your camera lens. Make sure you understand how the manual focus feature works before you venture outdoors.

The winter season is a great time to take pictures. However, without proper preparation, shooting outdoors can be a slog. Here’s how you can make the most of the coldest time of year and take the best photos possible.

Robin Gillham

Robin is a resident case manager at Pixsy, working directly with our creators and photographers to help them enforce their rights. Robin is a hobby photographer with a keen interest in time-lapse.

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