Photography Tips: How To Photograph Outside in the Winter

Following a few photography tips for winter photos can help you create breathtaking pictures. The sunlight is different depending on the season, and a few things will affect the final picture. Here are a few things you can do in order to take perfect winter photos.

What You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Polarized Lens Screens
  • Backpack
  • Silica Gel Packs
  • Rain Covers
  • Zipper Bags
  • Waterproof Backpack

Step 1: Know the Magic Hour

In photography, the magic hour refers to the time just before and after the sunset and sunrise. During this time, the lighting conditions are perfect for outdoor photography. Since the sun is lower during the winter months, the magic hour is longer. This means there will be more time to capture great landscape photography during ideal natural lighting times.

Step 2: Look for Color

While winter can be a beautiful time of the year, it's much harder to capture eye popping photos. The landscape is dead, trees are barren, and overcast skies can make everything look hazy. Many photographers will convert images in to black and white to counter the lack of natural color. However, you can find color if you look. Sunrises will create wonderful oranges and pinks over a landscape. Clear skies will look brighter when they contrast with a drab landscape. There are plenty of places to find color, just be patient and scout for it.

Step 3: Use a Polarizer

A polarizer will help remove the glare that can occur on snowy or icy surfaces in the winter. They can also be used to darken a sky or enhance the contrast found in clouds. Many lenses are available with a polarized surface, but you can also purchase small polarizing sheets that will clip on to the front of an existing lens. This is the most inexpensive way to go.

Step 4: Dealing with the Cold

While some cameras are designed to tolerate cold weather well, others are not. Lenses can fog up, optical zooms may not work, and LCD screens can react strangely. Battery life can also be shortened when the temperatures are low. To combat this, there are several things you can do. Carry the camera inside your jacket if possible. This will keep it close to your body and won't allow it to become as cold. Only take what you need in your backpack. Many photographers will choose to use silica packs to absorb moisture when they are in cold climates. This will help prevent the lenses from fogging, and will keep your equipment dry.

You can also use plastic zipper bags to store your lenses and other equipment. The zipper will help lock out condensation, also preventing fogging. Try to avoid viewing the photos on camera until you are back in a warm environment. If you are shooting while it's snowing, you want to protect your equipment from the melting snow by using a rain cover. You can purchase these for both your camera and lenses at most camera equipment specialists. Remember to pack extra batteries as well, since the battery life will be shortened in colder conditions.