3 Snow Photography Tips for Beginners

imageHow to Get the Correct Exposure When Photographing Snow

The brightness of a scene is measured by the camera’s exposure meters. The exposure settings are then set in accordance to the data collected from the camera’s exposure meters.

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This system works best in situations where the scene isn’t too dark, or too bright. This easily explains why a green landscape will expose correctly.
Snow is extremely bright. Therefore, your camera’s metering system may not be able to handle this too well.

Ever come across a situation whereby the results of your shot of snow make it look muddy-grey? Otherwise, does everything else in the image look darker?

This happens simply because your camera got tricked into thinking that snow is a particularly bright object. Your camera then shoots at a faster shutter speed to lower the brightness, causing snow to look muddy-grey and everything else in the image to look darker.

Snow Photography Tips for Beginners #1 – Make Use of the Exposure Compensation

© alexbeephoto

If your camera is in a semi-automatic mode (e.g. program or shutter priority) then the exposure compensation will be most useful.

The exposure compensation gives you an added advantage since it will help inform your camera if it should add or minus a certain number of stops.

Here’s an example; if you set your camera’s exposure compensation to –I, it will increase a shutter speed from I/250th to I/500th.

This will help ensure your image turns out half as bright.

Snow Photography Tips #2 – Keep Your Exposure Comparatively Long

© Mark Hancox

Increasing the shutter speed is your camera’s reflex action when it comes to photographing snow so that the whiteness is lowered to a medium-grey.

What you need to do however is to force your camera to keep its exposure comparatively long. This can be achieved if you set the exposures to +1 to begin with.

Doing this will discourage your camera from lowering the brightness of the snow since all your exposures are now twice as bright as your camera thinks they ought to be.

Snow Photography Tips for Beginners #3 – Trial and Error

The great thing about digital photography is that you can check on your photos and correct your settings accordingly.

On bright snowy days, you might have to add two extra stops so as to prevent underexposure of your photographs.

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