Now it may not be snowing yet, but history tells us it is only a matter of days away. So, with that in mind, and with Christmas fast approaching, what better time to show you how best to photograph the snow.

Kit care

Before we go in to this, it’s important to mention kit care in sever weather. If you are shooting in heavy snow fall, be sure to wrap up your camera, either with a protective case, or even just in a plastic bag. It will stop any moisture from entering the camera or lens.

Once you have finished your shoot, and have returned to the warmth of your home, it is important to allow your kit to become used to the temperature change before removing it from the bag. Leave it for a couple of hours, and it should then be safe to remove it, avoiding the risk of any of the screens or lenses from fogging and becoming moist.

Problems with snow shots

The main issue with this, is that the camera doesn’t realise you are photographing snow. More modern digital cameras have attempted to combat this, by adding in a snow automatic scene mode, or even a snow white balance setting.

However, more often than not, when you point your camera at the snow it will simply think you have an over exposed scene, in turn compensating for the apparent over exposure by making the photo too dark. This will usually give the snow a grey cast.

To combat this, there are a number of things you can do.

Shooting

Adjusting your white balance, either before or after taking the shot, can make a real difference. If you have a camera with a snow setting, use it, or if you are able to shoot in RAW, utilise this feature as it allows you to adjust white balance when editing.

If you are lucky enough to have a DSLR, you can boost the exposure slightly which will compensate for the camera underexposing the entire scene, in turn brightening the snow.

When shooting the snow with a clear blue sky, you will have to deal with the bright sunshine as well as the bright white of the snow. It is here where a filter will really help your photos. Using an ND grad filter will darken the sky slightly, while allowing the colour of the snow to remain constant, giving a better all round shot.

Editing

There are also a number of things that can be done when editing a photo. A simple Levels tweak to the histogram can really bring a snowy scene back to life.

Select the Levels adjuster

Top Tips - How to photograph snow

Histogram

Using the histogram, pull the right hand slider in to the edge of the graph. This will bring back the highlights in the shot. You can also use the white point dropper to select a part of the image that is white, in turn matching the colours of the scene.

As well as this, you can adjust the brightness and contrast, or play with the colour curves to achieve the correct exposure.