Winter isn’t just a cold and dark time of the year but it has a lot of beautiful images to offer for landscape and nature photographers. But what to photograph in winter?
From icicles and frozen lakes to stunning winter landscapes, the time when everything is covered in ice and snow is the perfect time for a photo shoot. In this guide, we share our top winter photography tips to capture the season in stunning photos (see also “The Art Of Capturing Stunning Waterfall Photos“).
1. Enhance Soft Light
While the sunlight in winter is less glaring than during other seasons, the ice and snow reflect a lot of light which can lead to overexposure of your photos. That’s why it is best to use a slow shutter speed or a wider aperture with your camera settings.
This allows you to create a soft effect with ambient light. These are the perfect lighting conditions for any type of landscape, especially after a fresh snowfall.
However, keep in mind that a slower shutter speed can lead to darker images, so you need to make sure that your snowy scenes are well-lit.
Alternatively, you can also play around with the white balance settings of your camera to get the best color temperature in your winter photographs.
2. Experiment With Winter Fog
Winter isn’t just about snow and ice but there are plenty of weather phenomenon that you can observe at this time of the year. With the higher humidity and cool temperatures, winter is typically a time where you can see a lot more mist and fog.
Winter fog creates the perfect backdrop for your mysterious and eerie shots. It shows the cold and lonely side of this season.
Capture the fog rising out of snow-covered forests or low clouds hanging around mountain tops. There are so many fascinating shots that fog can enhance.
3. Get Up At The Golden Hour
Every landscape photographer knows that the best lighting conditions are just after sunrise and before sunset. Just make sure that you pick a sunny day for your photoshoot, grab your camera gear and head out into the morning light.
The gentle, natural light of the sunrise or sunset creates a golden shimmer on your snow photos. It also works especially well with mist or fog.
This being said, you don’t have to photograph a snowy landscape with beautiful sunshine. Even a light drizzle, heavy downpour or snowy weather can look beautiful.
4. Capture Wildlife In A Winter Landscape
While a wintery landscape itself can look spectacular, it is a good idea to incorporate other subjects in your winter shots, including buildings or wildlife.
Winter may be a difficult time for animals and many creatures hibernate but there is still plenty of wildlife around that you can photograph with some patience.
If you can’t easily find animals to photograph near you, then you can also put out a bird feeder to attract birds into your backyard. This doesn’t just help the birds find food but you can take some lovely winter wildlife photos from the comfort of your home.
Winter is a fantastic time to capture birds with your camera because they create the ideal contrast to the snowy landscape. Plus, birds also add a dash of color to your shots.
You can set a low aperture setting on your camera to blur the background and make your subject stand out more.
5. Use Your Macro Lens
The beauty of winter doesn’t just lie in wide, frozen landscapes but also in the little things, like bubbles in an icicle or intricate snowflakes. You can use a macro lens to photograph the small details.
Zoom in on an object and its icy frost cover. With natural sunlight, you will be able to capture some stunning photographs.
6. Make The Most Of Christmas
There is no doubt that Christmas is one of the lights of winter. With the bright greens and reds you can see everywhere at this time of year, it is a fantastic opportunity for some colorful shots.
If you prefer portrait shots over landscapes, then Christmas-themed photographs are the perfect way to capture the winter mood.
From the classic Christmas tree and Christmas parties to decorative items, such as Christmas cups, there are plenty of objects that bring back childhood memories.
Many people also decorate their homes or front yards with reindeer, Santa and other festive decorations, so you can even find inspiration for a Christmas shot in your neighborhood.
If you love your Christmas table setting and you have all the family around, then this is a great opportunity to take your camera out and make new memories for years to come.
7. Create A Thematic Contrast
Winter is often considered a time of death because everything is covered in a thick blanket of snow. But when you look closely, you will be able to see small signs of life.
From early flowers to grass shoots that struggle their way through the white snow, these lovely objects can become a wonderful contrast to the barren, white landscape.
Plus, you can also capture the contrast between the two seasons. Choose the last snowfall as a chance to find some early blooms and take a picture of them surrounded by snow.
8. Capture A Sunset
A sunset isn’t just romantic but it also creates a beautiful, golden glow around your subject. The warm, soft light makes a stark contrast to the cold landscape.
Try to integrate a number of different objects in your winter sunset photos, including tree branches, animals or people.
The blue hour of winter has much to offer when it comes to contrasts. You can also use the dark sky silhouetted against the white landscape which creates a surreal image.
Winter is by no means a time that’s dead or boring. From vast snowy landscapes to intricate snowflakes, winter photography can create breathtaking images. The contrast between white snow and other objects in a landscape makes for a fascinating nature photo collection.