This is the time of year when snow begins to fall in many places in the northern hemisphere. Families will go sledding, skiing, snowboarding, or just playing in all the white stuff. Even adults get flashbacks to childhood when we got into snowball fights and built snowmen. As Dads, we are often called upon to be event photographers. Snow has some unique qualities which makes photographing it easier in some respects, but harder in others. The following insights and tips should greatly improve your chances of taking great winter photographs of your kids and just about anything else.
Snow Makes Everything More Interesting
You know that dead or dying bush right outside your house which (as if it was possible) looks even worse in the fall and winter than it did during the summer? When Mother Nature sprinkles a little snow on top it becomes a hundred times more interesting to look at. It may even become a photo-worthy subject all by itself. Snow can have this effect on entire landscapes. When your brown lawn gets covered in 5 inches of clean, downy snow you can’t help but smile just a little (while at the same time complaining about the cold, and the bad winter drivers, etc.).
Snow is the Color of the Sky
More or less anyway. Since snow is white it tends to take on the color of the nearest light source. The only exception to this rule is if the sky is blue. It may just be because I’m colorblind, but snow has never looked blue to me. If you get out early on sunny days you can see the snow turn the same color as the sunrise. It is also easier to take pictures at darker times of the day because so much of the available light is being reflected back onto the surroundings instead of being absorbed by the ground.
Falling Snow in a Picture Adds Interest
Think “sprinkles” for photographs. You may think that you want nothing in the way of a portrait of a loved one, but take my word for it. Snow will make the memory of that moment stand out more later on. The trick is to not get diagonal lines for falling snow in your pictures. People usually ask if it was raining when they see something like that. To make sure that you get the proper effect you can either speed up your shutter (SLR users) or just turn on your flash (Point & Shoot users).
Let Kids Play
If your goal is to take lots of pictures of your kids you’re in luck… it easy. In fact, kids make it easy for you by being naturally entertained by the snow. They will laugh and make joyful faces which will translate completely when viewing the photos later on. Just be cautious that there isn’t an errant snowball heading towards your shiny new camera. That could bring your career as a photographer to an abrupt end.
Kids will move fast in the snow. Between the running, sledding and falling over you’re likely to get quite a few blurs. A good way to counteract these blurs is to use a tried and true photography method: Move your camera with your subject. In other words, when you have your kid in the viewfinder sledding down a hill, move your camera so that she stays in the same part of the frame. This trick can make for very interesting photographs. Of course there is always the option of speeding up your shutter (SLR Users).
Overexpose If You Can
All SLR cameras and some Point & Shoot cameras have the ability to overexpose images. The tendency with any Camera’s automatic setting is to make snow look grey as the sensor attempts to even out tones. By overexposing you can make sure that the snow stays white.
Your kids will remember the snow as clearly as you remember snow when you were a kid. Having photo albums full of great snow pictures to supplement those memories is just icing on the cake (or snow on the lawn).
Photo © Belongs To: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremymates/