05 February 2012

Photo Tips #7

Top tips for you and your camera

# 7 - SNOW

OK I know I said this one would be landscapes but as it snowed over the weekend I thought you would like some ideas about capturing the snow. There's loads - here goes:

  1. Don't start shooting as soon as you go outside. You must let your camera acclimatise to the cold. Your lens will probably mist up. Also your batteries will run out very very quickly so make sure you take lots of spares with you, warm and snug in your pocket.
  2. Remember your camera is not as good as your eye and it will see everything as 18% grey. This is because the highly reflective tones of snow confuse your cameras metering. It can cope when an image has everything from black to white but when its just white your camera will underexpose - hence grey snow.
  3. Override your cameras automatic settings using exposure compensation or by switching it to manual and taking control yourself. Set to plus 1 or 2 stops - depends on how much snow. Some compact cameras have a "snow" setting - use it. It will have already made those adjustments for you and you'll get much better results.
  4. If you are not sure how many stops adjustment you should make then capture the same shot again and again - make half stop adjustments on each shot. Review them on the spot to help you decide which is the best setting and use that for future shots. Or leave it till you get home when you have downloaded them to discover which is the most pleasing. With a full range of exposure settings you could try and HDR them - I will discuss this on a future top tip.
  5. Avoid getting your digital camera wet, so don't go out whilst it is snowing. The snow quickly melts on your camera and the water can easily get into those delicate digital/electronic parts. If you do go out cover up your camera using a plastic bag and put an elastic band around the lens. Perhaps it's time to get your old film camera out!
  6. Make sure you have details in the shot - trees, walls, hedges - or it will be a bland wash of white. Spiders webs looks great on a darker background, but make sure you get out there before the sun melts the frost.
Quick tips:
  • Dress warm - protect your fingers.
  • Avoid photographing snow when it's an overcast dull day.
  • Remember shadows will help you and add depth and interest.
  • As always - look for patterns.
  • Put sun 45 degrees behind you it will create nice shadows.
  • Batteries will run out fast - take plenty of spares.
  • Use filters if you have them - graduated ones can give lovely results.
  • Take your time, be careful and have fun.

Next top tip ... Landscapes (I promise) ... Next week
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