6 In Lifestyle/ Photography

5 Tips for Winter Photography


Each season has those peak moments that add a bit more sparkle to your photos. In the winter, that peak moment is definitely when it snows. Here are five tips to keep in mind when you’re doing photography in the snow!

1. It’s a time race: If the temperature goes back up above zero the snow will probably melt before mid afternoon. So if you can get out in the morning, the earlier the better. If you have to go to work, try to hustle so you can stop and grab some iPhone piccies on the way. Limitations can push you to find creative solutions and you may be surprised at the shots you can get in your everyday surroundings! Another thing to note is that all the moms with toddlers and kids having a snow day will be out there having fun. This brings back a lot of good memories, but if you’re looking to get the “freshly fallen snow” look you gotta get out there early before all the kids get to it!

2. Check your location: Photographing the Korean royal palaces each season has been an ongoing project of mine, so whenever I see enough snow I immediately think about taking the 2 hour trek up to the northernmost part of Seoul. Last year I made the mistake of leaving as soon as I saw snow outside my window only to find that it hadn’t even snowed in Seoul. While there’s a certain poetry to the quiet winter palace, it’s just a little bit more special with freshly fallen snow. So this year, I texted a friend that lived in Seoul before pulling the trigger and I was able to get some  snow shots locally instead.

3.  Gear up for freezing temperatures: If you’re going to a lake or mountain with freezing winds or doing street photography, or even snapping photos of your dog in the snow, it’s essential to be dressed warmly. You might be able to get away with stockings and boots when you’re going to spending most of your time in transit and warm buildings, but when you’re constantly walking in the cold for over an hour you may want something warmer. Personally I’m on a mission to get my money’s worth out of my snowboard pants so I use them for my longer photowalks during the winter. I got these from the North Face back in 2006 for a snowboarding trip and they keep me warm enough that I can roam around for a couple hours without feeling any discomfort from the cold. Since they’re completely black without any crazy prints they’re not as conspicuous either. I don’t always use a huge backpack, but when I’m carrying multiple lenses or facing harsh weather I’ll dig out my Pacsafe backpack that doubles up as a back warmer.

4. Pack a snack: Doing a photowalk in normal temperatures alone is enough to make anyone hungry. Being hungry during a photowalk in freezing temperatures will zap your energy like nothing else. Maybe even pack a thermos full of hot chocolate! Just make sure the seal is leak proof so you don’t wreak havoc on your camera gear.

5. Use the restroom before you start out: You really don’t want nature to call when you’re on top of a mountain covered in snow. Having to rush down a steep mountain trail is a recipe for disaster, and even if you’re in the city it can be a headache trying to find a restroom sometimes.

Your turn ♥ What are your tips for shooting photos in the winter?

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  • Kia / house of KTS

    These are such wonderful tips. When going out to shoot in the winter, I definitely agree about getting out as early as you can. You get better light here in the winter and you can get better shoots uninterrupted. Wonderful post.

    Kia / house of KTS

    • Kim

      Yes it’s also nice to get out before the sun is glaring off the snow :P

  • Ooo, these are some great tips! I still need to find a way to comfortably snap photos with gloves on. I hate it when my fingers feel all grubby and fat, but it’s so painful to take off my gloves for an extended period of time!

    • Kim

      I usually try taking photos with gloves until I’m thoroughly annoyed and taking photos with frozen fingers lol. I tried those gloves with the ends cut off with a mitten attached to the back so that when your fingers get cold you can put the mitten on, but my fingers were still freezing. I’ve been thinking of getting those handwarmers for the next time I decided to take photos when it’s freezing out. I’ve also had my eye on those rain covers for cameras. I think if the parts that cover your hands had pockets for hand warmers they’d be perfect. Or maybe I just need bigger gloves that I could put the handwarmers directly into hehe

  • Very good tips! Getting out early is so important, especially if the weather is supposed to warm up. I find that going early also provides some softer light, which can be easier than midday light, especially with the snow. Any tips for getting better exposures? It feels like a lot of snow pics end up washed out!

    • Kim

      Hmm, when I take photos I tend to set my exposures a bit brighter than the meter inside the viewfinder tells me, as when it’s centered my photos tend to come out darker than what I would like. So when I am taking photos of snow, I try to take a couple of shots with the exposure a little lower than how I would usually set it. It’s easier to brighten a photo that doesn’t have the snow washed out by lowering contrast while raising brightness, but it’s very difficult to edit a washed out photo that’s lacking information. I’ve heard that sometimes landscape photographers will set up a tripod and take several photos. A correct exposure for the sky, a correct exposure for the snow/lake/trees/etc. I’ve also heard some people used split filters or gradient filters where only half of the lens has a filter in order to drop the exposure of part of a scene. I’ve not dabbled much with filters or bothered to set up a tripod for a snow scene yet, but taking a lower exposure than what I take by habit has helped. Hope this helps and let me know if you find something that works for you, as I’d be interested in taking better snow shots as well!