Winter landscape photography is a lot of fun – and it doesn’t have to be difficult, either, assuming you know the perfect techniques.
In this post, I’ll share five important winter landscape tips so you can start capturing beautiful arctic landscapes like the pros.
Specifically, I’ll talk about:
- A good time of day for wintertime landscape photography (this one might surprise you! )
- The right wintertime photography camera settings
- How to enhance your wintertime landscape compositions
- Much, much more!
So if you’re ready to period winter images to the next degree, then let’s dive perfect in, starting with my first tip:
1 . Look for contrast to make those people winter compositions stand out
After a few days of heavy snowfall, the panorama is completely white: white trees and shrubs, white lakes, white hills, and (normally) a white sky. And when everything is definitely white, it’s quite challenging to find a compositional focal point, as nothing really catches the attention.
So what do you do?
You look for contrast – either color contrast , to find a splash of red, blue, or green against the white – or tonal contrast , such as a splash of night against the bright snow.
Here’s an example of color contrast, where I found a red house against a white and gray background:
The red color is what makes this picture interesting. Without it, the particular scene would lack the focal point and the viewer’s eyes would have no place to sleep, which would make for a bad chance.
Happily, contrast is easy to find on snowy days, because it’ll capture your eye just the same because it’ll catch a photo viewer’s eye. So you can just go around with your camera, searching for a good eye-catching element or two. Make sense?
By the way, I find red color comparison to be particularly pleasing within winter landscape scenes, but search for any dominant color or tonal variation. Probably there’s an autumn leaf laying on top of a thin layer of snow, or maybe it’s a few skiers wearing red overcoats, or a dark mountain surrounded by white. Just look for a dominant color or color in the otherwise white surroundings, then use careful composition techniques to make it a standout center point.
2 . Overexpose for beautiful winter scenery photography
Declare you can’t find tonal or color contrast. You can still make great images, despite having an utterly white surroundings. You just need to use this technique:
Overexpose your image.
The truth is, if the landscape is light – especially if it’s snowing – a winter season image can benefit from as being a stop or two better. Just avoid clipping the highlights.
For instance, check out this image, which features very little tonal or even color contrast:
I’ve added a bit of overexposure, so that the snow at the bottom of the frame is a near-pure white, and the sky at the top of the frame features a featureless white, as well. The snow-covered trees in the middle of the image, nevertheless , offer a desaturated green that almost looks gray, also it gives an interesting, even ghostly , sense of atmosphere. I also really like how the slight overexposure assists convey just how cold you had been when the shot was taken, plus it provides a sense associated with wonderful calmness.
The technique won’t work for every image. But plenty of snow landscape photography will benefit from a bit of brightness, in addition it’ll help you retain detail in the shadows, which is often a good thing.
Incidentally, I’d recommend overexposing the particular shot by reducing the shutter rate . But make sure you have a sturdy tripod, and watch to falling snow; a long direct exposure plus heavy snowflakes can white out your shot completely, so make sure to preview your LCD often , and don’t be afraid to raise your ISO or widen your aperture if necessary.
3 or more. Choose a cold white balance for the best snow landscape photography
Technically, you can choose your white balance in camera or – if you’re photographing in RAW – in post-processing. Either of these options work well, though sometimes it’s nice to see a preview of the white stability in camera, so do not shy away from doing it that way (and remember: you can always change it out later! ).
Anyway, the point here is that will winter is cold , so a beautifully cold white stability looks gorgeous, like this:
Note the way the cool colors enhance the photo. The image feels frigid, wouldn’t you say? That’s thanks to the color balance.
Now, I don’t recommend you go overboard. You don’t need your shot to look like it came from a blue noncitizen planet. But feel free to force the white balance, test, and see what you get!
You’re also liberated to experiment in post-processing, assuming you’ve shot in UNCOOKED. You can use the Temperature slider to move back and forth between warm and cool effects, and you may determine what you prefer.
4. Photograph during blue hour for ethereal winter landscapes
The azure hour describes the time just before sunrise and after sunset, when the sun sits below the horizon and the world goes all beautiful and blue.
You still have enough gentle to shoot, yet there is nothing lit directly. The light will be soft and gorgeous.
And it works great for winter landscape picture taking.
You see, the particular soft light caresses the snow, making for a fairy tale effect. And if your photo includes streetlights or house lights, the composition can change even more magical. Here’s an example blue hour image:
See the marvelous effect? And do you see how the lights from the cabins appear truly gorgeous against the cold background?
Invest a few days shooting during blue hour, and you’ll realize that it’s cold, dark, and sometimes snowy. In other words, throughout the blue hour, you’ll most likely want to stay inside underneath a blanket.
But do your favor. Force yourself to wear a coat, grab that will camera, and get outside. The particular images will be worth it, even if the cold hits you like a great time in the face!
Be aware: You can still capture stunning snowy landscape shots throughout sunrise and sunset, or even in the middle of the day. But if I was able to choose just one time to head out with the camera during winter, it would be the particular blue hour. It really is that will amazing.
5. Bring extra batteries and keep them warm
When it comes to photographing in cold climates, this last strategy is absolutely essential. Batteries drain much quicker in winter, and when you shoot mirrorless or else you use Live View for many shots, you’ll soon find yourself heading home – unless you remember to bring plenty of additional batteries.
One tip that winter landscaping photographers often use: maintain the spare batteries in an internal pocket of a jacket. That way, the batteries stay warm, which prevents fast draining.
(Make sure, however , you don’t put your digital camera in your layer. That may cause the lens elements to fog up, which is very problematic. )
By the way, you can’t keep your batteries warm in case you’re not warm, so that you need to stay warm, too! Always be prepared; it’s far better to bring too many layers compared to too few.
You must also be very careful with your equipment. Don’t change lenses in snowy conditions, keep the towel handy to wipe the snow off your digital camera, and – if the snow is heavy – consider utilizing a rain cover for your camera setup.
Winter landscape digital photography: final words
Hopefully, you can now with certainty photograph winter landscapes – so the next time you get a good snowfall, head outside! Consider some photos, appreciate the elegance, and have fun.
Now over to you:
Which of these tips do you plan to use first? Do you have any winter landscape photography tips of your? Share your thoughts in the comments below!