Taking Photos in the Snow

It’s all about exposing yourself correctly when you are out in the snow!

When it is snowing – or has been snowing – it’s great to get outside to take photographs of snowy scenes; people on toboggans; kids enjoying snowball fights (don’t get in the way!) and those wonderful winter snowy landscape scenes.

When you are taking photographs in the snow you may be a little disappointed with your results.  What colour is the snow in your picture? Is it bright white? or is it a disappointing dull grey?

Take a look at this photo taken in my garden.  The first is the scene I saw and what I wanted to photograph, and the second is the photo taken by my camera.

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What I saw in the viewfinder

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The photo taken by the camera.

Notice that the snow in the second photo  isn’t snowy white, but a dirty grey.

So, why did my camera do this?  Remember that a snow scene is very bright.  When a digital camera takes a photograph, it automatically adjusts the brightness of your image so that the light and dark parts of your photograph are balanced. It does this by adjusting the exposure to give an ‘average brightness’.

However, as a snowy scene is very bright, the digital camera takes this extra brightness into account, and reduces the overall brightness level – hence the grey snow.

So, what can we do to prevent this from happening? If your camera has a setting which allows you to change the exposure, increase the exposure by one ‘stop’ as shown below.  On my camera, I move the bar from the ‘zero pointer’ to the +1 bar.

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No ovexposure

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One stop overexposure

This will have the effect of telling your camera to overexpose your image, and your camera will not darken the snow. Try experimenting – go a little brighter or a little darker until you capture what you see.

Have fun shooting in the snow, – and remember to share your images!

This entry was posted in Photography.

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