View Full Version : Photographing in the snow

Graeme Buckland
08-07-2009, 11:10am
Looks like I'm off to Falls Creek for the weekend with the wife my 2 boys aged 24 and 21 and 1 partner shes 21, dads been invited so he can pay. I don't ski so can some one give some tips of taking photo's in the snow. I have been told that the white snow will affect the metering is this correct. My gear is Canon 5D and 24-105 or if I get time to pick it up the 16-35 L lens.:confused013

08-07-2009, 11:12am
it sure will, not that i have ever photographed in the snow ;).

Problem will be if you even partly meter off the snow you will have dark people.

You can avoid this by potentially using EV+1 etc, spot metering, or go manual

JM Tran
08-07-2009, 11:20am
hey Graeme! I just got back from Mt Buller on a shoot for clients there, will post up some photos in a snow thread later today for u to see

yes it will underexpose, so i shot usually at EV+1, and in Raw, which helps immensely

fill flash helps greatly too for ppl shots

08-07-2009, 1:58pm
Google is your friend:
but as JM Tran has mentioned EV+1

08-07-2009, 7:05pm
When measuring snow, EV +1 often is not enough but increasing it more might blow out some highlights. Manually set your whitebalance to match the weather conditions or use a custom WB; snow will look blue otherwise. Flash for fill-in only; do not use flash at all during snowfall.

Bring some extra batteries and keep'm warm (pockets close to your body but make sure they won't shotcircuit through keys for example). Batteries will loose some capacity in the cold but they will act as if they loose a lot (part of it will become available again once the battery warms up).

09-07-2009, 12:40am
Sometimes +1 is too much too!


metering is the least of your worries Graeme.
Get used to wearing gloves and handling the camera. If you have too, get a pair that are a slim and tight fit, but are not too bulky and over padded, as yu want to be able to feel the controls.
That was my issue. Metering was easy :p
In the end, I just went bare handed and gave my hands the odd break from the icy conditions.
This weekend is looking to be very windy, and that means taking into account the wind chill factor. The day I was up at the snow(Lake Mountain) just for the day, it was blizzard like, snow coming in at 45° and the wind was incessant. Snow was always falling onto the front element and making it hard to clean off, as the cloth used was getting more soaked with every wipe.

With the shot above I set camera to spot and +2/3 as there was plenty of light even though it was dark! :confused013 .. and that's because of all that snow!.. highly reflective stuff it is, even when it's dark and gloomy... and blizzardy.
In the end we only stayed about 4 hours and the kids had had enough of it.

Oh.. back to the metering! :D I tried a few shots at +1Ev and they all came out too overexposed, and the better(exposed) images were in the -0.7 to +0.3 range, but that was using matrix metering. Pity about the subject matter and snow covered lens though, other wise I'd have posted them.. should be deleting them in fact! :D
If the sun is shining, which I doubt considering the weather pattern currently looming over in the west, I have no idea on how you'd want to meter, but I suspect that +1.0 and more may be the best option.(that's what I was preparing for until we got to the base of Lk Mountain and the clouds rolled in and the blizzard conditions started in earnest... and with a vengeance.

so more importantly .. try to get used to wearing gloves and operating the camera efficiently. Thickly padded ski gloves may end up being totally useless.
A pair of lined kitchen gloves may be a better alternative(I need to get a pair also, as I'm planning a trip up there again real soon.
To reduce glare as much as possible make sure you take along your polariser!

Dylan & Marianne
09-07-2009, 3:33pm
I have to agree with arthur - the most difficult thing about snow photography is getting your fingers to work!
I use a pair of those fingerless gloves worn underneath thicker gloves which I wore when not taking pictures.
As for metering , I didn't change any settings as such, just spot metered on the snow itself to make sure the snow was between +1 to +2 over and let the rest take care of itself !
If you have an old vest or something, the best spot for batteries is a little custom sewed pocket in your armpit area ! (keeps the battery warm on both sides)

09-07-2009, 7:10pm
the most difficult thing about snow photography is getting your fingers to work!
Nah, any good pair of silk gloves will help you with that. Just don't take'm off at temperatures below -20 or so and you'll be fine in that respect.