It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for photography! The crisp landscapes and perfect light make winter one of the most beautiful seasons for photographers. Our guide to winter photography will help you capture all your moments; big or small, perfectly. This bonusprint guide will improve your photographic skills too, whether you’re a beginner or already a photography fan. There’s plenty of inspiration here and we’d love you to share your photos with us when you’re finished.
Photographers love winter — it’s a great season for taking stunning shots of landscapes. From misty morning light in the countryside, crisp cold days with amazing clarity, to snow-covered hills and peaks, or empty beaches, there is something for everyone. The winter light and atmosphere is especially great if you’re looking for a moody and romantic vibe in your photos. Whatever your aims are for taking great landscape shots this winter, these hints and tips will help you capture all moments, big or small, along the way.
- Early morning and evening are your friends for winter photography. It’s at these times of day when the light is best for all photos in general, but can be especially amazing for landscapes. Capturing golden light, dramatic shadows and a feeling of being out of time can be easy if you head out to take your photos a little early or stay out just a little longer after everyone else has gone home.
- Always take a tripod with you — and make sure you use it. Depending on what camera, or smartphone, you use, things might vary a little, but as a general rule you want to have a narrow aperture for your winter landscapes (f8 to f11 should work). This will ensure your whole landscape is in focus, but will probably require a longer exposure than you can effectively take by holding your camera by hand to be lit correctly. This is why you should make sure you have a tripod, or even a stable surface where you can set your camera safely. You should also use the timer function rather than pressing the shutter button yourself, this will reduce any vibrations and blur in your photos.
- Composition is crucial. When a landscape photo doesn’t take your breath away, it’s because whoever took it only captured a quick snapshot that doesn’t communicate much. When you’re setting up your camera and shot, think of yourself as a painter. What is it that is driving you to take this particular photo? Is it the light, snow, texture, depth, or something else? Set up your camera in a way that will give room to your story to be told. If it’s a beautiful winter sunrise, give room to the pastel colours in the sky, if it’s a mountain range, give the peaks more space than the sky. Sometimes just moving a few steps in one direction will change the whole perspective of your landscape considerably. You don’t want to take any average pics, so use your time to get one stunner that is exactly what you want.
Bonus tip:Make sure you’re warm! This is winter landscape photography after all! Take a thermos of tea or coffee, gloves you can take off and on easily, a blanket and warm clothes. Maybe most importantly, why not take a special person along too, and make this an adventure to share.
Cities in winter can be warm and cozy or lonely and cold. They are a canvas for you to describe your thoughts and feelings, or to document what you see. Take advantage of this season, when it’s often a little quieter, to go out and use the city you live in to express yourself.
- Let the light in! All those decorations, store windows traffic lights and cars going by can make for amazing city shots, especially when it’s later in the day and darkness is setting in. Look for pockets of light, clusters of brightness that speak to you and experiment with them. Get close and shoot details, or stay away and try to show the street in all its activity. Whatever you choose, the lights will make your shots fun and vibrant. Rain is your friend in evening city shots, as the lights will reflect beautifully in puddles and slick road surfaces.
- Embrace the blur, especially when paired with great lights. Find a subject that speaks to you, and make sure you are using a wide aperture (f2.8 to f4, or a portrait mode if using a smartphone). Once you focus on your subject, the background will blur, giving you some spectacular light effects and an artistic edge to your photos.
- Take advantage of empty streets — get out there early in the morning, (even on January 1st) and discover the city while it’s still sleeping, or just starting to stir. It’s not often we get to see the city like this, and when we do we are usually in a hurry and don’t have time to take photos. This is the perfect time for capturing moments.
Portraits and people
Whether it’s a photo session with your special someone or a group shot with the family before Christmas dinner, there are loads of opportunities to take amazing photos of the people you love during winter. Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, the natural light of winter can get you amazing results, especially on a bright, but overcast day.
- What colours to use? Whether you use contrasting or complementary colours is up to you, but both can create great shots. In snowy landscapes, wearing bright coats or accessories can be a great idea for colour juxtaposition, or you might prefer colours that blend in with the environment better. Try different options if you can, but try to always keep colours in mind while shooting, and use them to your advantage.
- When taking group photos, take some time to compose your shot — and the group. Wide angle lenses (or equivalent smartphone options) can be a really useful way to make sure everyone fits into frame. Just be aware that the edges of the frame will be quite distorted with these lenses, so try to leave space between the group and the edge of the shot. Take some posed photos, but then let people be themselves, tell a joke, let them be themselves and try to catch a shot of the whole family letting loose.
Bonus tip: you can combine all these tips with each other too. Why not use a stunning landscape as the perfect backdrop for a special photo of your family? Or have your loved ones model for you in the city lights? These tips are just suggestions to get you started, but your creativity is what will get you the perfect shots, and once you have them, make sure you share them with us!
We hope these hints and tips have inspired you to get out there and capture some great shots of the big moments and small moments. Once you’ve taken your great pictures, just click the button below and get creating with our fantastic photo products.