Canadian photographer David Koonar of Windsor provides suggestions for maximizing winter light, photographing snow, and more.
WINDSOR, ONTARIO, December 18, 2021 — Winter is a magical time for photography. Snow cover creates a perfect backdrop for both stunning landscapes and quaint, seasonal family photography. Photographer David Konrad advises only a few simple shifts in technique and planning can lead to inspired winter shots for any photographer.
Much like your car battery loses a bit of pizzazz in cold weather, your camera batteries are going to deplete rapidly in cold temperatures. When the mercury is below freezing, planning ahead is a must. Plan for battery usage to drop by half. For longer shoots, carry backup batteries fully charged in a weatherproof camera bag or in a protected pocket in your jacket or clothing to preserve a degree of warmth while protecting them from the elements.
Whether you are transitioning indoors on a hot summer day or outside in the cold, temperature changes are always problematic for camera lenses. For good winter shots, always plan ahead to leave time for the camera and lens to adjust to your new temperature before a photo session, David Koonar of Windsor advises. When you are not actively shooting, keep your camera stored in a bag with a lens cover as you switch environments and temperatures.
Protect yourself from the elements before a shoot. Opt for gloves that promote dexterity while providing warmth and invest in waterproof outerwear and boots. Wear warm base layers to conserve body heat on a shoot and pack an emergency kit for your car when hitting the road.
Underexposure of your winter landscapes is always a potential hazard of shooting in the snow. While it is a good best practice to manually set exposure, it is even more important in the winter when your camera tends to overcorrect. Underexposure tends to turn crisp, white scenes into dulled-down expressions of gray or a bland white. Adjust the exposure value on your camera up to one tick or two for particularly brilliant days to let winter shine.
Snowfall can create an opportunity for dramatic photos with or without people. However, capturing other items with the snow can lead to focus issues. David Koonar of Windsor recommends giving manual focus a try to avoid auto adjustment issues. Half-press the shutter until it locks, then snap your photo for best results.
For stellar family pictures, stage snow photos with pops of color via clothing or set pieces. Natural greens and vivid sky also make nature photos pop. If there is an active snowfall during your session, David Koonar of Windsor advises capturing snow in the foreground of the picture. Focus on your model and start snapping with a faster shutter speed. Flurries then make a dramatic focal point while the background softly blurs.