“I’m going on a family ski trip soon. What are some tips to keep in mind when photographing in winter weather?”—A.P., Chicago, IL
When I think of all the pictures that I have taken of my family during our own ski trips—we try to hit the slopes every winter—my favorites have each had one or more of the following key elements.
Now is the time to break out your richest, most colorful scarves, gloves, hats or helmets, ski pants, and parkas. The camera just loves vibrant hues, especially in contrast with stark white snow or mountains in the background. The effect is dramatic and beautiful. Also, when people are bundled up and huddled together, the fun color mix makes for a great shot.
One of my favorite winter photos is of my girls (when they were little) getting ready to go downhill. They were lying on top of each other on a sled. Everything around them was pure white except for their red-and-black parkas and bluish hats (see scanned photo below).
Sometimes sunlight can be harsher and less soft in the winter. The snow on the ground acts as a reflector, which can lead to overexposure. In other words, the brightness can wash you out.
On the sunniest days, I like to photograph indoors. Filtered through a window, natural light can make your home or cabin come to life. Turn off your automatic flash and let Mother Nature act as your lighting crew.
Catch people strapping on their skis, gliding on their snowboard, or making snow angels. I have this great photo of my husband helping one of our daughters build a snowman. The funniest part is that our two dogs are also in the shot sitting on a sled near them. I love it.
Photographing with regular gloves can be tricky. The last thing you want to do is drop your precious equipment in the wet snow. That’s why I like to use those gloves with exposed fingertips to optimize dexterity. You can buy them or take an old pair of wool gloves and cut off the ends so you can have a better grip over your camera (this is especially helpful if you use manual versus automatic settings).