- Winter Photography Tips for Lighting Conditions
- Accessories that Help
- Winter Photography Tips for Weather
- Astrophotography During Winter
- >People and Events Winter Photography Tips
- Holidays are Short
- Bonus Winter Photography Tips
- Recommended Photography Gear
- Portrait and Landscape Photography: Similarities and Differences
- Get Better at Landscape Photography
- Long Exposure Photography Gear List
- How To Perfect the Foreground in Landscape Photos
- Beginner Photography Tutorial: Take Sharp Photos in Low Light
- The Best Intermediate Photography Gear
Photo by svetikd via iStock
It’s Winter! What are your favorite winter photography subjects? For many photographers, winter is a great time to capture beautiful landscapes. For others, it’s all about the people and the events.
Whatever type of photography you enjoy this time of year, we have some winter photography tips and gear recommendations to help you capture images in this wonderful season.
Table of Contents:
Winter Photography Tips for Lighting Conditions
Photo by martin-dm via iStock
Different seasons of the year have varying lighting qualities. The sun is lower in the sky during winter, and the weather is obviously different. Both affect the lighting quality and how long certain outdoor lighting periods last.
Winter landscape photography tips are filled with discussions on exposure compensation, too, and for good reasons. A landscape view covered with snow requires adjusting metering settings to capture bright whites instead of muddled grays.
Many cameras are good about making these changes automatically with evaluative metering. Still, sometimes it may work better if we take control of the exposure ourselves, either with fully manual mode or dialing in the proper amount of exposure compensation. Plus two stops of exposure is a good starting place on a bright day with lots of snow in the scene.
Golden Hour during winter months is much shorter than that same period in the summertime. Some areas can be extremely short when the daylight hours are shortest. But the results are worth it. A winter landscape or a cityscape photographed in Golden Hour can be amazing, so try it out as part of your photography tips for winter.
Accessories that Help
Some accessories that are vital to have on hand for taking advantage of winter photography tips on lighting and exposure are a circular polarizer (C-Pol) filter, a graduated neutral density (GND) filter, and a tripod alternative like the OctoPad camera mount.
Looking first at the tripod alternative OctoPad, we find a low-cost and simple alternative to carrying a tripod. It’s a weighted disk that is super heavy-duty and can be used virtually anywhere, indoors or out.
The secret to the usefulness of the OctoPad is that the low-profile disk has a non-slip pad underneath, which allows you to put it on uneven and angled surfaces, even if angled up to 45 degrees. The ball head on top lets you point your camera anywhere, and the entire setup is rock solid and steady.
With the OctoPad, add a filter holder system to take advantage of a GND filter that lets you balance out exposure issues in landscape and cityscape photography. Filter holder systems are great because they allow stacking of filters, such as adding a C-POL, and you can move the gradient line of a GND to exactly where it's needed.
Winter Photography Tips for Weather
Photo by satamedia via iStock
Most of us don’t need to winterize our cameras, but having weather-resistant cameras is nice. Keeping batteries charged is a significant part of any winter photography tips. In digital photography, if the batteries die, there is no taking pictures. Keep extra batteries in your pocket or a pouch to access them quickly.
It’s important to keep our feet and hands warm too. The day is miserable if your feet are cold, but most of us can last a long time if we have the right type of clothing. Of course, some places aren’t that cold, but it helps to be prepared just in case.
Astrophotography During Winter
Photo by Imgorthand via iStock
I like to include astrophotography in our winter photography tips for a couple of reasons. One, some fantastic deep sky sights are best seen or sometimes only seen during this time of year. And two, the colder skies have less atmospheric disturbances that can affect the sharpness of our views.
Digital camera astrophotography can be extremely rewarding because we can stack exposures for better imaging and increasing apparent sharpness by reducing or eliminating noise.
Obviously, we need fully charged batteries and a good camera mount, either a tripod or a tripod alternative such as the OctoPad. Another method utilizes telescopic equatorial mounts for deep sky imaging. Any way you do it, astrophotography during winter produces wonderful images.
People and Events Winter Photography Tips
Photo by AntonioGuillem via iStock
Winter is a good time for gatherings and family events. So another of our winter photography tips is to stay prepared for these holiday gatherings by brushing up on our natural light, flash photography, and post-processing techniques and skills.
A simple flash diffuser can turn a holiday party pic from a snapshot into a well-crafted portrait. Putting that OctoPad to another use, have one or two to place on furniture or ledges with a portable, battery-powered LED light mounted to them.
Included in our winter photography tips is to remember that so many of these photo tips also transfer well to become videography tips—especially the ones covering lighting. A single LED light can make it possible to record better videos for holiday vlogs and other videos.
Post-processing winter photography tips are relatively simple as well. Capturing images in RAW is a good idea for several reasons. Mixed lighting can be adjusted for color temperature, deep shadows and bright lights in the same view can be balanced out, and we can even add subtle softening effects to people’s faces for more flattering results.
Holidays are Short
Photo by Akiromaru via iStock
The holidays are only a short part of the winter timetable. Winter photography goes on beyond holiday celebrations, both for landscapes and for capturing people's pics.
Some of the best action photography during winter months can be found on ski slopes well after December and New Years. The travel issues and burdens are lessened as well. One of my winter photography tips is to plan on photo treks during the weeks between the traditional western world New Year and the start of Spring.
Bonus Winter Photography Tips
Photo by Su Arslanoglu via iStock
Some bonus winter photography tips we like to include are to try out film photography and to search for some trips to take as photo treks, either near our own homes or to a location far away.
And on those days when we simply don’t want to get out because of it being too cold or very difficult to get around, we can use that time to hone our post-processing skills and maybe even take a short course on some aspect of photography or videography in which we want to improve.
Whatever your approach this season, winter photography can have you reap nice rewards for your skills and efforts.