Winter photography is not for the mild at heart—and no, I am not talking about cold hands and cold feet. There’s a lot to consider when taking a winter shot. One such issue is that your camera—and the rest of your kit can easily get damaged, or you may not get the desired beautiful picture you had in your mind.
Snow is white, but cameras do not recognize colors; so, if your shot isn’t rightly set, snow can become grey, and you will lose the beauty your hard work deserves. David Koonar walked into our studios wearing a winter jacket—and no, it was not wintering yet. We could not resist the urge to ask him a few questions about winter photography.
David, a seasoned Canadian photographer—and one who is no stranger to the biting storms of the snow, had so much knowledge to impart.
So David, how many winter shots have you taken in your career?
It’s innumerable. Canada is one of the coldest places on earth, so winter shot becomes a walk in the park for any ambitious photographer after two years. I have been in this business for decades (laughs).
Is winter photography easier than, say, wedding photography?
Unless the wedding is done under the snow’s full blight, then yes, winter photography is more complicated. There is so much to consider.
Some years back, my friend took a model to a mountain top. It was in the middle of a mild snowstorm. She almost froze to death (smiles). I exaggerated; however, he was hit with a lawsuit a few days later.
Do you love winter photography—compared to other forms of photography?
Honestly, yes, I do. Everyone knows that an unchallenging shoot is uninspiring to me. I love the challenges that come from taking beautiful moments in the snow.
Can you give us some tips for taking the best winter photography shots?
1. Increase your exposure compensation to +0.3 or +0.7. Why? Your camera lens does not recognize color—only your brain does, so you have to let it know that you are shooting a bright image.
2. Buy photo-friendly gloves, and not just any type of gloves. Photo friendly gloves keep your hands and fingers warm while ensuring that you can still use all dial buttons seamlessly.
3. Adjust deficiencies in your model’s face in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Defects include red cheeks and a red nose. While red cheeks are beautiful—except when they are too much, red nose is horrible.
4. In all my years as a photographer, I have come to accept that sunset and sunrise in winter are usually dramatic. Capture moments like these, and you will have breathtaking winter pictures.
5. Invest in a snow cover: If you are going out a lot, invest in a snow cover. While the $10 will work, it might not be sufficient. A $30 – $100 snow cover might sound pricey but consider the money you will spend if your gear gets damaged.
6. Don’t heat your camera when it gets wet. Use a towel instead and patiently wait for the towel to absorb the water.
7. Keep yourself warm at all times. Also, keep your batteries warm. You can always keep the extras in your pocket, close to your body heat.
Thank you for honoring our invitation David. Can you give a parting word to newbie photographers?
Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! Never stop practicing. Everyone gets better when they spend time honing their crafts.