Tips for Photography in Winter


Winter offers many opportunities for photography. Snowy landscapes or the New Year's atmosphere are charming in the lens. But in the process of its creation, difficulties can arise. 

Because the contrast between light and dark makes this work challenging. So, when preparing for shooting, you should adhere to winter photography tips:

  • Prepare for the cold and keep warm
  • Take a spare battery, and memory cards with you
  • Follow the correct camera settings

photography of winter

Winter Photography Tips 

Taking photos in winter requires detailed preparation. After all, this is the period of frost, which is not to your camera's liking. Besides, the snow in the photo often turns out to be far from as white as it is. This complicates shooting at times and requires extra photo editing. So, to make this process easier, try setting the exposure to +0.5-1 or higher. 

By following this advice, you can improve your photography of the winter. But this is not enough for an incredible result. In addition to this advice, many others will be useful to you as a real photographer. So keep their list:

1. Understand the Lighting Conditions

Winter daylight is short. And the sun is low above the horizon, even in the middle of the day. At the same time, on a clear day, the sun either falls into the frame or creates too sharp lighting: 

  • It is better to shoot in such conditions with side lighting. For this, you should apply a lens hood. It blocks extraneous light from entering the photo. So, it helps to reflect excess light while taking photos in the winter.
  • Backlit shooting in winter also gives good results. With such lighting, anything that is translucent will glow from within. Shooting misty branches and icicles is ideal for this. With such lighting in winter, they get incredible beauty in the frames. 
  • Shooting cold weather photography is better in the sun. Because without sunlight, the look of the snow is not expressed in the pictures. 
  • Thus, the best time for shooting winter landscapes is morning and noon. Then the lighting outside is the most favorable for creating wonderful winter photos. 

The main thing is to adjust the camera for the lighting so that the snow does not merge with the horizon in the picture.

2. Experiment With White Balance Settings

Many cameras have fully pre-set white balance settings. And also, there are separate settings for different light sources. It includes "bright sun," "cloudy," "tungsten," and the like. 

But these are just general settings. For the most part, they are often exact enough for your needs. But shooting in the snow, you want to get the white balance as accurately as possible. 

And for this, you need to adjust this setting manually to know how to photograph winter. To make the images look beautiful, experiment with the white balance:

  • Do not select the automatic white balance mode when setting up the camera in sunny winter weather. Why? Because then the cold weather photography acquires a yellow tint. And the snow looks dirty.
  • Set the white balance to a warmer light. For example, select the "Daylight" mode instead of "Cloudy" in cloudy weather. Set this mode to about 5200K.
  • If you shoot in RAW or NEF, it will reduce the temperature of the photo during post-processing. But the more correctly you set the camera settings, the easier it will be to work with the final material.

3. Choose the Appropriate Camera Settings

Winter is a beautiful time of the year. Seeing the trees covered with white snow like a carpet is a pleasure. And, of course, you want to take photos of it to convey this unique atmosphere full of miracles. But it takes a lot of work for photographers to capture such beauty. 

Everything white around in the lens does not look exactly like it does in reality. So, you should follow winter photography tips about camera settings. With this, you can create a real fairy tale:

Camera setting



One of the best rules in the photography of winter is the rule of threes. With it, you divide the image into a three-by-three grid and arrange it along the lines. It means that you do not place objects in the center. On the contrary, you move them to the right or left, giving them a better frame balance. If you have something in the foreground on the right, it would be nice to have something to balance it in the background on the left.


It is one of the most important and challenging things to do with snow. It consists in making the image as your eyes see it. Because the snow is very white, the camera perceives it as something bright. And so it automatically tries to compensate for the brightness. And it makes the whole image darker and grayer. So, if possible, process the picture during the shooting. Or increase the brightness indicators, giving the image a clear, white color. Such a winter photography tip will make this task much easier for you.


To express the picture, selecting something brighter in the foreground is necessary. Add something that will stand out against the snow. It is wonderful when it is with juicy colors. For example, it can be a red thermos or a bright purple scarf. The contrast of brightness with white snow makes photography of winter incredible.

4. Capture Unique Winter Landscapes

The sun, frost, and snow make it possible to create beautiful winter landscapes. At this time of the year, ordinary pictures change into real works of art. And to shoot a beautiful winter landscape, first of all, you should wait for a specific state of nature:

  • If you capture frost on one of the winter days, your cold weather photography will be successful. Frost is the most beautiful expression of the moisture of winter fog. It does not matter what it will be on, whether on a tree branch or a fence. Its presence in the frame is essential. It is hoarfrost that gives winter photography a unique charm. So it significantly increases the artistic value of the picture.
  • Snow on dark branches also creates exciting photo ideas. It makes attractive white curves in the frame. Point the zoom lens at the trees, and you'll be amazed at the photo results.
  • The indisputable trump card of any photography of winter is the sky's presence in the frame. Cirrus clouds over the mountain tops are a gift for a photographer in winter. Even a clear, cloudless sky of any hue and saturation is suitable for the landscape. The situation differs in cloudy and gloomy weather when the sky has a continuous gray veil. But even in this case, you can succeed and achieve great results. You only need to know how to photograph winter with the correct settings.

5. Incorporate Human Elements Into Your Shots

With the onset of winter, photographers take more landscape photos than portraits. But you can get incredible shots by incorporating human elements into your cold-weather photography. The main thing is to know how to create such images in winter properly:

  • Beware of red noses

In the cold, the model's cheeks and nose often turn red. But if the model in every picture comes out with a red nose, don't panic. Just adjust the saturation in photo processing. De-saturating reds and oranges will help to tone down red noses.

  • Focus on using bright colors in the clothes

Do not choose clothes that blend with the tone when shooting white landscapes. On the contrary, photograph people with pronounced elements in their clothes. A white canvas can be an excellent backdrop for beautiful winter coats, hats, and boots. And hats are a great way to frame your face and emphasize your eyes. 

  • Create the unexpected

Find ways to incorporate something unexpected into your winter portraits. Offer models to throw up snow by emphasizing bright mittens. Following this winter photography tip, Including human elements will create fabulous shots.

6. Prepare for Adverse Weather Conditions

When photographing in winter, most photographers face difficulties. Why? Because the cold weather gets in the way of the intended plans. Cold hands and rapid discharge of the camera are very annoying. 

After all, it does not allow you to create the frames you want. But you can solve this problem quickly. You only need to provide yourself with comfort in cold weather photography. So, keep winter photography tips for it:

  • Keep warm

The foremost thing is warm clothes. You should feel the heat in your hands, feet, and fingers. All insulation options that you can think of, take them. Put on a couple of sweaters, overalls, warm shoes, and jackets. The only warmth in the cold season can provide you with good photos. After all, if you feel uncomfortable, it will affect the pictures badly. And, of course, remember to keep not only yourself warm but also your camera.

  • Reschedule the shoot if it's windy outside

Do not take photos in very windy weather. When it's windy outside, it's hard to control how to photograph winter. It is more challenging to control facial expressions and adjust to poses. Thus, planning a photo session in more favorable weather is better. Especially if it concerns shooting people and not the landscape.

  • Shoot after snowfall

The most beautiful winter landscapes come out after the snowfall. Especially if the weather clears up after it. Then, on the soft surface of the snow, glare from the sun forms, and everything looks snowy. The weather seems incredible in the frame. So it provides an opportunity to create masterpiece winter photography.

7. Use a Tripod for Sharper Images

While taking photos in winter, use a tripod to make it easier for yourself. When shooting without a tripod, you will not achieve such a result. After all, snow, blizzards, and wind in winter are direct obstacles to manual photography. So, a tripod is a great helper in this situation:

  • Use it when there is poor lighting in the yard. Then your photos will not get graininess and blur.
  • Set the appropriate shutter speed when using a tripod. With the help of this equipment, you can use high settings. It helps create clear photos even in dark and windy weather.
  • Choose a stable tripod. It should hold firmly on any surface and keep the camera level. Only thanks to such strength can you achieve the desired photography of winter.

8. Protect Your Camera

Due to the low temperature and snow, taking photos in winter requires preparation and protection:

  • Take a spare battery

In cold weather, your battery can quickly discharge. So, you need to have a replacement with you. Keep it in the inner pocket of the jacket, in the warmth.

  • Take the memory card 

You should have spare ones and keep them warm with the batteries.  

  • Use a brush to remove snow and microfiber cloths

You can also use a protective case for the lens and camera. It saves the equipment better.

  • Manage your photo bag properly

After returning home from cold weather photography, you should wait to take the camera out. Wait for it to get used to the room's temperature, and then move on to view the photos.

taking photos in winter

How to Choose the Right Gear for Taking Photos in Winter?

The first thing you should pay attention to when choosing a camera is the battery. During cold weather photography, it discharges many times faster. Thus, the choice of camera depends not so much on its functionality as on the battery. 

After all, you can take many more pictures with a good battery. But besides a camera with a good battery, you need the following gear for photography in winter:

  • Lens

It should be an individual choice. But we recommend taking only a 35mm lens when taking photos in winter. It can take more close and distant shots. Besides, such a lens is convenient because there is no time to change the lens in photography. 

Cold and snow make it difficult to change accessories for the camera and adjust it for a long time. Thus, there is only one lens; if necessary, you can have a zoom.

  • Photo bag

In winter, there is a risk of condensation on the camera during a photo session. And this spoils the camera and covers the lens with moisture. To avoid this, always carry your camera in a photo bag. All photographers should follow this winter photography tip.

In the cold season, the photo bag helps not to create sudden temperature drops for the camera. So, take out the camera, take several pictures, and immediately hide the camera in the photo bag.

It keeps the heat inside and will gradually heat the camera to a certain degree. Thus, the camera will not perceive the transition to the room from the cold so sharply.

winter photos edits

Post-processing Techniques to Enhance Your Photos

Nature in winter allows making not just shots but creating art. The weather looks gorgeous at this time. But the monochromatic scene conveys to the lens various images from the ones we would like to see. 

So, to improve your photos, use post-processing after the photo session. Such a winter photography tip will turn gray everyday photos into real magic and a fairy tale:

  • Remove unnecessary objects, details, or people in the frame.
  • Work out the facial features. Add light and shadows, and highlight eyes with lips.
  • Add effects and, if necessary, snow, sun glare, and sparkles.
  • Switch colors or work with each one individually.
  • Apply the preset and filter.
  • Work with light, shadow, sharpness, contrast, and saturation.

You shouldn't do photo processing for a very long time. So you can get too excited about it and make photography of winter unnatural. So, try not to devote too much time, but do everything qualitatively.

Create Your Photography Portfolio Website

Winter weather challenges even experienced photographers. Freezing and gusts of wind are obstacles to photography in winter. But you can avoid them by knowing the basic rules for such shooting. 

After you create your masterpieces, you need to make a portfolio. You can do this very easily using our portfolio builder. Also, don't forget to read more useful articles on our blog.

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