5 Tips for Great Cold Weather Photography

Taking quality pictures outside during our cold Canadian winters can be challenging. It’s important to understand that your camera is just as sensitive to the cold as you are! Even if we are having a pretty mild winter this year across Canada, below zero weather still means you need to take extra precautions to avoid the worst.

Here are 5 simple tips that will help you avoid bad surprises and get great outdoor pictures:

Tip #1: Cold Weather vs Batteries

First thing is to always remember that cold weather drains batteries quicker. Always keep a spare set of batteries with you when you’re about to spend a long day in the cold with your camera. If your batteries run and out and you don’t have replacement ones, put them in your pocket (as close as possible to your body) to warm them up for a bit. This will temporarily extend their life.

Tip #2: Beware of Condensation and Moisture

Don’t change your lenses outdoors when it’s cold or snowy outside. This is particularly important for those of you using high-end equipment. You don’t want moisture or condensation to accumulate inside the camera body and ruin your equipment. Repairing cameras can be very expensive!

Tip #3: Try Different Angles

Always shoot the same subject from different angles. Sun and snow can make a weird combination sometimes and trick your camera sensor. Take photos from different angles to get the perfect shot!

Tip #4: Protect Your Photos

Invest in a weatherproof container to store your SD or CF cards. The last thing you want is losing all your photos because your cards fell in the snow and became unreadable. We also recommend investing in SanDisk Extreme cards, which are better suited for cold & unpredictable weather conditions.

Tip #5: Keep Your Hands Warm

Consider wear fingerless gloves! It’s very hard to shoot without gloves when it’s -15, but it’s also very hard to shoot with the traditional thick winter gloves since pressing the right buttons on the camera can become difficult. Professional photographers prefer fingerless gloves because they keep your hands warm while allowing you to manipulate your camera easily.

Now go out and enjoy winter while it lasts!

Winter Photography Tips

Taking photos in a winter environment is very different to taking pictures at other times of year. Shooting early in the morning or during the evening can often result in great shots, but in a bright and white snowy landscape you should know how to adjust your camera’s settings to get the best possible shots.

If you want to take landscape shots then an 18 to 55 mm lens will probably be a good choice, but you should also bring a telephoto lens if you want to get some close ups of the action, particularly if you are shooting skiers or snowboarders on the slopes, as you will not be able to get very close in person. Short exposure times will be best for action shots. You should generally use the shortest exposure you have, although experimenting with different techniques may produce unexpected results.

Avoid overexposure. Try pointing your camera at the sky, away from the sun, on a bright day, while you are fixing the exposure, rather than at the snow. On an overcast day, set the EV compensation to plus 2 to counteract the camera’s natural underexposure of white, snowy scenes. Custom white balance can help to keep the snow looking white rather than too blue, yellow or grey.

It is a good idea to find out as much as you can about the sports that you will be photographing before you go out since it will enable you to anticipate how people will move so you can plan how to get the best shots. For instance, if you are photographing skaters on the ice, make sure you are aware of the way that they are reflected in the ice since you can use this to create interesting shots.

You need to keep your camera safe when you are photographing in snow and ice. A plastic bag or cover can protect it from the weather, but you should also be careful about taking the camera back inside at the end of the day. Don’t take it immediately into a very warm room, as this could result in condensation forming inside it. You should also expect your camera batteries to be used up quicker than usual when you are shooting at a low temperature.

Enjoy your Winter Photography and come share your best Winter Shots on our Fan Page!