Taking Photographs in Snow December 25 2009, 0 Comments

With all of the snow that has fallen in the last two weeks, it is time to review once again, how to photograph snow. Yes, even photographing snow is an art!

Have you ever wondered why some photos of snow seem to reflect a gray or bluish tone? It is because
your camera measures light by starting with a tone of gray (18% gray). Everything else that your camera “sees” is either lighter or darker than that tone. When you use the meter in your camera to measure a scene say with snow in it, your camera meter will think that there is a whole lot of light (lighter than the 18% gray) and you may end up with an F-stop of 8, 11 or even higher. The snow is really fooling the meter in your camera. If you shoot at those F-stops, your beautiful winter wonderland will look dark or gray. This is how to shoot it to avoid that problem:

First, set your camera on manual. Don’t be afraid to use your camera on the manual setting! Second, set your shutter speed on 125.

Using the meter in your camera, take a read on the snow. Then set your aperture. Say your meter read F-8, take the shot and then set your aperture for F-6.3. On the third shot set it for F-5.6. For the fourth shot, set your aperture at F-5.0. Finally, for your last shot, set your aperture to F-4.5. With each shot you are adding a little more light, allowing your white snow to really look white. By taking at least five shots, you will begin to build a file set so that you can compare what you think is the best image, the best white. Eventually, you won’t have to take so many shots. You will be able to take only two or three.

Remember: your goal is to shoot correctly, not take a bad shot and then doctor it in PhotoShop. This will help you to learn how much light is needed to take those fabulous winter wonderland images!