You can never have enough tips in your tool belt when it comes to two things: shooting in low light, and shooting snow scenes. In winter we photographers encounter both these issues in spades, so here are a few more tips to try.
Vignettes (but not the kind you think)
You can add a vignette (dark edges) in most photo-editing software programs to keep the viewer’s eye from travelling out of the frame; but for snow photos you need to be able to use a “white” vignette instead, to keep everything looking bright and white rather than dingy and grey.
In Picasa; you can choose the Vignette option on the last tab, then choose your color with the color picker. Give it a try!
Frame in White
Putting a black or dark frame (or matting) around a white scene can distract from the subject as the eye wants to travel to the highest area of contrast. If you are printing and framing a photo of your kids in the snow, try framing it in white. This will put your kids on center stage.
Use a Lens Hood
If your lens comes with a lens hood – use it! The lens hood helps to cut down on excessive light coming into your lens, which will give you a more balanced exposure. Remember the brighter your scene is, the more likely your camera will choose to go darker to compensate. This may also mean manually increasing your exposure so your subject isn’t too dark. In an ideal world your first shot would be perfect, but you may want to play around with different exposure levels to ensure you get “the” shot.
Add a Splash of Color
If your snow scene looks a bit “blah” – try adding a bit more color to your subject or focal point. Picasa doesn’t offer this feature (at least not easily), but other free editing software programs can help here (such as GIMP) – or you may want to splurge just a bit and invest in Photoshop Elements or Lightroom.
Bright and white is good, but you can get an entirely different effect by shooting later. After dusk you’ll get a lot more contrast in your images for moodier photos. Who says kids’ photography always has to be bright and shiny??
Do you have any tried and true methods to improve snow photography? Let’s hear them!