5 Tips for Shooting Photographs in the Snow



Photographing people in the snow is hard to do, or so I've always heard. It's partially true because there are new variables thrown into the mix: cold weather, stark white light, just to name a few. But it's actually not that hard to grab some great portraits in these conditions. In fact some of my favorite photos usually involve a snow covered tree, a cute face, and a nice scarf.

Here are five tips to photograph people in the snow:

1. Don't be afraid to shoot a subject against a white backdrop. I've always been worried about white because it can blow out the camera. I mean I work in television and its always been a rule that you never wear white on camera unless you have a suit coat overtop. It turns out that if the snow is evenly lit you can use it as a nice backdrop to bring out the kids' faces. Again, it has to be evenly lit because the eye will be drawn to the most blown out part of the photo.

2. Use colorful clothing to draw attention to the faces. With such a stark background you'll want hats, coats, and mittens to keep it interesting.

3. Shoot some action shots as the sun is going down. The late afternoon glow helps warm the scene and provides a nice golden contrast to the white ground.

4. Try to choose overcast skies. The light from the gloomy day will reflect nicely off the snow.
Exposing for the snow. I found that by hitting my exposure compensation button you can help mitigate some of the bright white snow. Usually just pushing it up to +1 will do the trick. Although in some situations +2.

5. That blue hue. Look I'm a fan of photos that look like the real world, and if you've ever been around snow you know everything takes on a blue hue. Without firing off a real flash go ahead and try the 'flash' setting in your favorite post processing program. For instance I used Lightroom 4's flash filter in the portrait photos featured here.