Photographing of snow looks be pretty easy, we are shooting just white color, right? Yes, it sounds simple, but actually photographing snow is quite complicated. It is because you are working only with white colour tones. It’s important your camera setting will be done correctly for white to be white.

What to shoot snow and winter landscapes with

Make sure your gear is weatherproof. It can be easy for some tricky snowflakes to get into places they shouldn’t and cause problems with your gear. For photographing snowy landscapes, a wide-angle f/2.8 7-14mm lens or a zoom lens of either 12-40mm or 40-150mm will do. With the 40-150mm lens, you can also shoot distant details of winter landscapes.

Setting up your camera for snow photography

When taking pictures, treat snow as if it were strong sunlight. Take sharp, noise-free photos with low ISO settings, and try to make the most of natural light.

One of the most important settings when photographing snowy landscapes is the white balance setting. A poor white balance setting will degrade the color tone of your photo, turning white into a gray, blue, or even yellow tone.

Be careful with automatic white balance, however. If it’s a cloudy day, it can increase blue tones and produce a blue cast that is difficult to remove in post-processing.

A good way to avoid gray tones is to set a positive EV exposure correction. Try setting the EV to +1 or +2, this setting will give you brighter whites without the risk of overexposing your photos.

Snow Photography Tips

The best way to get started is to take a few test shots. First, try the automatic white balance and check that the color of the snow matches the color of the snow you see with your own eyes. If it doesn’t, change the setting to “sunshine”. You can improve the mood by setting it to “glowing”. In the early or evening hours, I personally prefer to set the white balance to “cloudy”, this will achieve a warmer tone than stark white. It’s really a personal preference of white tone.

1. Camera setting for snow photography

  • Snow + sunlight: ISO 64 to 100 (or as low as your camera will allow), exposure +1, shutter speed 1/40 sec to 1/2000 sec (depending on whether you want to blur the run p it super fast).
  • Snow + low sunlight ISO 400-640, exposure +0.7, shutter speed 1/400 to 1/1000 sec.
  • Snow + overcast: Take a look at my guide on how to photograph the aurora borealis  and astrophotography. On an evening with a white foreground, you can light it up by quickly flickering a torch across the snow or creating shapes with letters and long exposures.* Take the above settings as default settings only. Always take a few test photos and play around with the settings. For brighter photos, set a higher EV and vice versa.

2. How to focus on snow

On white snow, you may find that autofocus doesn’t focus your photo correctly. Better double check the sharpness of your photos. Try to find a contrasting colour, a rock or the edge of a building and focus on that.

3. Winter photo composition

Trees are great objects to incorporate into a photo in the snow. Especially if you are lucky enough to find icy branches. These can act as something to create a picture within a picture. Lone trees will help add perspective to the landscape.

If you’re shooting snow, you’re more likely to be on or near mountains. By incorporating a figure into the photo, you create a mountain-sized perspective of the mountains. Ask a friend or random passerby to stand in the distance, then take a series of photos from a variety of convenient angles. You can also create guide lines in the snow.

Jak fotit sníh

Also look for contrasting colours. Brighter shades will appear when you look against the snow.

Best tip for the end

It’s certainly important to have your camera with the best lens, but it’s just as important to dress appropriately. You won’t feel like being creative if you’re shivering in the cold. Your mind will just keep saying, “Warm shower, warm shower”. Also, make sure your shoes are waterproof. Cold toes are no fun.

Při fotografování zimní krajiny budete muset obětovat hodně ze svého pohodlí. Budete muset brzy vstávat, šplhat do prudkých kopců aby jste nakonec skončili v mlze. Ale zároveň uvidíte věci které jste dosud neviděli a zažijete zážitky které nebudete schopni popsat.