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Many of you love winter, and for good reason. Besides Christmas and the New Year, it’s a great time for outdoors sports and amazing photography. There is just a small catch: snow can be really difficult to photograph. It can set your camera off course in an instant. Some of the mistakes you make when photographing snow are not correctable with post-processing. This short guide is meant to help you the next time you take your camera on a skiing trip.
The lens hood is a must
When you buy a lens, it usually comes with a hood for a reason. Well, snow is one of the good reasons. Using it will reduce glare and help your camera read the light better. Not to mention, it will offer some protection in case it snows, although you shouldn’t keep your camera and lens totally unprotected.
Yes, some of you might have gotten tired of hearing about it, but the rest need to learn that RAW is the best way to shoot in snow conditions. It will allow you to correct potential exposure mistakes in post processing. It doesn’t mean it’s the same thing if you shoot at ISO200 or fire away with no mercy at ISO6400 without checking your LCD screen, but it does provide some frame of correction.
Use a grey card
It might make you look like a grandfather with the first 35mm SLR in the world, but it’s useful in a snowy landscape. The grey card will let you know how your camera reacts to blacks and whites. In addition, this will allow you to make the necessary adjustments. Some cameras favor blacks, others tend to favor white. That’s when a grey card can come in handy.
Set white balance
If you are not used to setting your own, custom white balance, set the camera to flash. It might be a little bit warm, but at least you won’t have any blue-ish shadows. Any minor adjustments can be performed made in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Look for color
In a sea of white and sometimes dark shadows, a splash of color can work wonders. It can be someone’s jacket, a fence, or whatever you might think of. Create an interesting composition and don’t forget to add some color.
Try long exposure
If it starts snowing, head out with a tripod and take a few shots with a long shutter speed. You might be in for a pleasant surprise. Also, nighttime landscapes with snow can look amazing as well.
Choose the right time of the day
This is one thing that doesn’t really change, no matter the season. Try to photograph a half hour before sunrise and one hour before sunset. Photographing in broad daylight, especially if there are no clouds will create powerful shadows. Unless you want those shadows and you know how to control them, it’s best to shot at the beginning or end of the day.