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Tip of The Week - Snow Photography

A fresh snow fall can set the scene for a beautiful picture however it’s not an easy picture to get right even for the pros. So we thought we would share some tips on how to get the best from your images.

Camera Settings

Shoot in Raw - Capturing the correct exposure and colour temperature when your scene is overwhelmed by reflective, white snow can be tricky. Setting your recording format to raw allows you to safely adjust your settings without being limited, the way you would be otherwise, with a JPEG.

White Balance - More often than not, snow reads on the blue side of the colour spectrum. If you don’t plan on adjusting your white balance and prefer to get everything right in-camera, use the “flash” setting. It is intended to compensate for bluish flash lighting, and can warm up your snow-filled image. However, if you try to resolve all of the blue, your snow could suddenly have a yellow cast to it, which is obviously not ideal. A slight blue cast with neutral highlights results in a balanced image.

Exposure Compensation - Consider overexposing to compensate for your camera’s metering system, which is standardized for middle grey. Matrix metering, combined with shooting in aperture-priority mode, is a reliable way to overcome your camera reading the range of light in your snow scene at an average 18% grey. If you’re not as confident shooting in aperture priority, take advantage of your exposure-compensation dial. Adding one-third or two-thirds exposure compensation lets more light into your scene, preventing muddied grey exposures, and ensuring the snow stays white in your photos.

Composition - Snowy scenery can look great when you're there, and very bland in the photos that you take. There is usually too much 'blank space' in the photo, big white areas that go on forever. You need to look around for something that breaks up the snow, trees, rocks, or anything that puts a bit of contrast into the picture.

Sidelight is key when it comes to scenic photography. Shape, form and texture are created when a subject is raked in sidelight. The side that faces the sun takes on highlights and the side that faces away is in shadow. This creates three-dimensionality.

Remember to always stay safe when out shooting in harsh weather conditions.