Shooting in snow can be beautiful either when shooting landscapes or portraits (image courtesy of Pinterest). It does present challenges that can be easily overcome if you plan the photoshoot with a little forethought.
Remember, that almost every camera's onboard computer is programmed to produce a middle grey image, and since we are shooting in snow, the camera will be easily fooled into producing a grey image if we don't make some in camera corrections.
- If it is sunny outside, there is a rule called the Sunny 16 rule. Simply stated, your shutter speed will be the reciprocal of your ISO to achieve a correct exposure. For example, ISO 200, F-16, Shutter speed = 1/200. This is a starting point, and of course you can make adjustments if you do not need the depth of field that a shutter speed of F-16 may give you. For example: F-11 may give you a Shutter speed of 1/400, F-8 may give you a shutter speed of 1/640 or 1/800.
- Another factor to consider what you are shooting. If you are shooting wide with a model is light colored clothing, the above rule may work well. If on the other hand you are shooting a model in dark clothing, you may need to drop your shutter speed. Some other possible settings may include:
- F-4, ISO 200, 1/1000 (darker subject)
- F-2.5, ISO 200, 1/2500 (Lighter subject)
- F-1.8, ISO, 1/3200
- Of course another option of adjusting your camera using the exposure compensation control which many cameras have. Be sure to adjust your camera to at least +1 or +2 depending upon the overall brightness of the scene. This can be very handy on very cold days so that you do not have to juggle camera settings, or wish to make the shoot as easy as possible
- Remember to keep your batteries warm. Keep an extra battery in your pocket close to your body. This will maintain as much charge as possible. Cold weather depletes the battery energy quickly.
- If you move from a warm environment to outdoors, allow your camera to adjust to the new temperature. This will avoid unwanted condensation.
- Of course, if you are working with a model who may be wearing much less clothing, be sure to give her (or him) warm up time between exposures. Hand warmers and foot warmers can be helpful as well as a large coat. If possible, bring a vehicle close to the site for shelter and the comfort of the car heater. Plan your shoot carefully so that the model is not exposed to the cold any longer than necessary.
- Protect your camera, especially if it is still snowing, with a plastic weather guard to prevent moisture from entering the electronics.
Have fun and make some great images!