Capturing the Best Winter Photos

The time where days are shorter and the air is colder is also the time which provides a unique photography situation.

Winter season is the time of the year when photographers are challenged to produce stunning images because it truly creates a vast room for creativity.

This however, doesn’t neglect the fact that taking photographs during wintertime presents a daunting and complex challenge.

Here are some tips to get you ready for some cold winter photo session.

winter photos
Photo by Matas Juras

Appreciate the Quality of Winter Light

First step is to bear in mind the unusual position of the sun during winter. The angle placement of the sun is smaller in horizon and therefore can be used for a myriad ways of effects. The prolonged time of this magic hour when the sun is about to set and rise provides ample avenue for photographers to take advantage of the winter light.

Due to the different and lower angle of the sun, textures provide a three-dimensional look and become more alive and shadows will be deep and long. Photographers can use shadows to support their main subject, to show the presence of a subject by only displaying its shadow or to produce a sense of scale by equating shadows. The winter sun can be greatly used to enhance the subject’s shadow.

winter photos
Photo by Brian Haynes

Shooting Conditions during winter

Come wintertime, things that surrounds us changes greatly. The sky becomes a different kind of interesting subject, it is seen as having a deeper shade of red that illuminates the vast sky and clouds because it now travels further throughout the atmosphere. The unique and interesting “scapes” it creates as photographers would call it, produces a great backdrop to any subject.

Winter has many favourable patterns to offer. Nothing is as exhilarating as taking a photograph of a virgin snow scape during the first occurrence of light in a day. When a stunning white veil of beauty envelops all the unappealing spots and the frost shimmers coming from the trees shimmering the first rays, a photographer know that they can only achieve it during winter.

Tips and Challenges

Cameras have the tendency to produce underexpose white and overexpose black as they descend toward the color of neutral grey. You should remember to overexpose snowscapes images by up to 2 stops. If you are photographing sunrises, it is best to know this because the sun quickly ascends. Always be attentive on your histogram.

Shooting RAW at least during winter also takes care of the white balance. RAW also allows you to correct your exposure.

When your camera clips your subject’s highlights, you will not salvage it anymore. Focus on the brightest spots you wanted to show the most. Batteries lifespan is shorter during cold season. Keep them someplace warm.

Apply some insulation foam on your tripod to avoid it from freezing and getting stuck. When you get done from a winter photography session, wait for your equipment to get warm slowly to prevent the forming of condensation inside your lenses.

winter photos
Photo by Cornelia Schulz


Take advantage of winter time with all its advantages, given you are properly cloth and protected from the cold, rest assure you will produce mesmerizing winter landscape photographs.

About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

View all posts by Kristine Buenavista →

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