written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 12/7/2014
Winter can be one of the most attractive times of the year to capture photographs, both because of the weather and the way that the communities respond to it. It provides its own technical challenges for photographers, so here is a gallery of beautiful images and an outline of what to consider.
slide 1 of 15
Many of the images of winter forgo the snow and instead show the cold with the simple absence of spring nature. This image really captures the cold and mood of the area, but this required post-production on the photo and would likely not have been captured on its own. The lack of color would need desaturation as well as a change in contrast. The fog adds a nice element to the scene that you cannot create on your own, but the colors need to be adjusted to get this correctly.
slide 2 of 15
Snow on Plant
Snow remains the iconic image of winter worldwide, and the simple presentation of it on something as small as a ground plant can say a lot. When you are filming close up images like this you are often going to have issues with depth of field. If you are filming on a DSLR camera, you may even want to choose a macro focus lens so that you can capture the details rather than a larger image.
slide 3 of 15
Snow in Trees
As the snow catches in the trees it can clump up, reflecting the light brightly in the morning. One of the difficulties in filming snowy objects, which is going to be an issue in most images is the bright reflective nature of the snow. You will need to find areas where there is no direct reflection of the sun from the snow as it could end up acting as a light source in and of itself. This is going to be a concern as it is often the defining condition of the images themselves.
slide 4 of 15
Snow on Street
As the snow comes down, its beauty can hide the difficulty a downfall can create for residential streets. Though the reflectivity of the snow can be an issue during the daytime, it can actually be your best friend at night. This scene shows how only a small amount of street light can end up supporting the entire scene, as the snow on the ground allows the entire area to be seen relatively clearly.
slide 5 of 15
Winter on Baltic Sea
When the winter finally touches the water, the mix of snow and ice can be quite a sight. An image like this is given perspective by the layers of objects that are available. The frozen water is broken up by the bar against it, and this separates it from the larger body of water indicating how large the actual body of water is.
slide 6 of 15
The vast waters can freeze and leave vessels stuck, yet this can play with the light of the sunset. An image like this may require a little risk on the part of the photographer to actually walk out onto the frozen body of water to take the image. This can be avoided if you use a telephoto lens from a safe location.
slide 7 of 15
A city always looks different when its blanketed with the winter's snow. This will require a longer lens that is going to allow you to get a relatively long depth of the city, otherwise the blurry background will dominate the image.
slide 8 of 15
The winter weather can make simple trips a bit of a problem, both for humans and canines. If you are actively shooting in snow or very cold weather, you are going to have to take precautions to protect your camera, both from the moisture and the temperature itself. Both can damage the equipment, and the cold itself can lower battery life and functionality on its own.
slide 9 of 15
On the white winter floor, your footprints show the path taken. If you are going to film directly into the blanket of snow like this you will have to wait for it to be free of sunlight, or you will need to readjust your camera and bring up the shutter speed quite a bit. This should not be a problem if you are already moving around with the camera, but it will make the foreground objects much darker than you may want.
slide 10 of 15
The cold of the season brings the crops of water together into beautiful crystals that cling to surfaces, which may even create the most iconic picture of the entire image gallery of winter photography. A detailed macro focus is going to be crucial here, as you want to get the most subtle detail obvious to the viewer. You want the background to remain slightly out of focus so that it brings out the foreground even more clearly.
slide 11 of 15
Much of winter photography is designed to capture the decorations of the season as well as the brisk weather. In this way, you will often want to frame your winter photography without just images of the seasonal weather, but instead the holidays and cultural elements that highlight the season.
slide 12 of 15
Much of what is most essential about the winter months is in the detail, and the small part of an image. The specifics of these details will require you to really focus in closely, and avoid any motion of the camera.
slide 13 of 15
Though the trees themselves may remain the same, the vectors of the image for the orchard is as it would be in the spring. Think about parallel imaging now that the plants have become much more bare, keeping the objects in the image much more simple.
slide 14 of 15
The winter can change even the color and character of the cities you know best. In the same way that snow will act as your support system for night time filming, it will take any alternative lights and really run with them. If you have any colored lights in your winter photography, it is going to allow them to spread all over the environment. You can highlight this a little more during your photo editing.
slide 15 of 15
As the snow hits our surroundings, it can highlight the buildings and places of our history. If you are shooting these buildings in the snow, you have to balance the grand nature of the structure with the grand nature of the weather. Do not allow one or the other to dominate the image.
What are your best tips for shooting in the winter?