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7 Tips for Winter Shooting

Feeling a little cabin fever this winter? So are we! In this article, we will share 7 of our favorite tips for winter shooting to help you feel prepared to tackle snow, ice, and rain.

Tip #1: Utilize Your Lens Hood

Lens hoods are the perfect tool to assist you when the weather decides to take a turn for the worse. Rather than constantly wiping your glass and wetting your microfiber, utilize your lens hood to shelter your front element from rain, snow and everything in between.

Keep in mind, not all hoods are the same. Each lens has a custom hood that is meant to paired up with that lens' specific focal length. If a hood extends too far, it may be visible in your shot. If the hood is too short, it may not protect your lens from the elements as much as you would like (such as a tulip lens hood).

At The Shutterbug, we sell hoods for specific lenses. If you ever need a replacement hood, or a hood because your lens didn't come with one, make sure to know what your lens is (focal length and aperture, ex: Canon 50mm f/1.4), so we can find the correct lens hood for you.

Tip #2: Charge Your Batteries

In the cold, your batteries will be zapped of energy faster than you’ll imagine.

How to combat this? Make sure to FULLY charge your batteries AND keep them stored in a pocket close to your body to keep them above freezing temperatures.

As fellow photographers, we highly recommend finding yourself a power bank just in case you need an extra charge while exploring a trail, alternatively, find yourself a charger that can plug into your car for last minute on-the-go charging. We chargers that can be adapted to charge via wall plug and car for $29.99.

Tip #3: White Balance Your Images

Most cameras are already automatically white balancing your shots, however, your camera's abilities don't always align with your own creative choices.

For those who use scene modes, set your scene mode to ‘Snow’ or ‘Beach’ mode to get the classic look of white snow.

For more of a creative flair, observe the images below. Each image has a different cast to their shadows and highlights. Naturally, on a sunny day, shadows will lean blue in your snowy landscape. You customize how your camera perceives the light by playing around with your white balance modes.

Tip #4: Bump Up that Shutter Speed

For shooting anything action-oriented in the snow, you want to keep your shutter speed

anywhere between 1/1000 - 1/2000 of a second to really freeze the action.

On sunny days, this is not a problem for there is enough light. For the best action photos, pair Tip #4 with Tip #5.

Tip #5: Keep it Sharp with a Smaller Aperture

In order to capture your images in detail, keep your aperture around f/4-5.6 (especially for those snow sport shots).

Tip #6: Cool down your Camera Slowly

Ever experience a fogged up camera once you head out into the cold (or head in to a warmer location)? Rapid temperature fluctuations can emphasize whatever moisture you have on your gear, leading to noticeable temporary fogging in your viewfinder/lens.

Before you head outside with your camera, place the camera in your backpack or camera bag first. If you’re going indoors to warm up, place the camera in your bag beforehand and zip it shut to allow your gear to gradually warm up. The extra measures will help lower your chances of having condensation form on your lens and viewfinder window.

We personally also like to hoard silica gel packets to provide that extra wicking of moisture. You'll often find these packets in shoes, purses, camera bags and even packages of items you order online.

Tip #7: Overexpose in the Snow

*This tip is not entirely relevant for newer digital cameras. Film photographers may find this especially helpful.

Cameras are programmed to expose an image to 18% grey, therefore, if the scene you want to photograph is mostly white, as you’ll encounter in a snowy landscape, you’ll want to overexpose by one stop to truly get that ‘white as snow’ look.

Fun fact: Most skin tones average to about 18% grey! You essentially have a built in grey card on your own person. How cool is that?


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Newsletters are updated every week on Thursday.

The Shutterbug is a Oregon Family Owned & Operated Camera Store, with four locations in Oregon. We've been helping photographers like you since 1971.

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