Winter Photo Tips

Winter is here and with it beautiful fluffy snow!  Inspiration often strikes when you look out your window and see that blanket of white but how do you quickly capture great shots before you all freeze?

I’ve put together some helpful tips to try the next time winter arrives at your door.

Tip #1 – Choose your location and time

Before you head out, you’re going to want to have a great location in mind but how do you recognize a good spot?  Snow is white and bright.  It’s going to be important to balance the light with the dark with where you take your photos and what time of day you’re taking your photos.  Choosing a spot with evergreens, dark rocks, or any kind of shadows will help balance out that light, and going out in the late afternoon will also help with the light.

collage of images of two little girls in blue winter coats playing in the snow beside a frozen creek.

It’s important to choose a location with shade and some contrast to balance all of the white

Tip #2 – Layer up

When I’m planning on snow pictures, I always consider the temperature.  If it’s below 30 degrees, I know we’re all going to get cold really fast so I’ll either wait for a warmer day or plan on working really fast.  Ideally, I like to try to capture snow pictures when it’s between 30 and 35 degrees out and preferably with no wind.  Then make sure to layer up.  Both as the photographer and subject, layers of long sleeves, coats, scarves, hats, and good boots are important.  Snowpants can be great for getting down low for shots and fun for kiddos that really want to play.

Fingerless gloves are my must-have cold-weather gear.  They provide just enough warmth for my hands while still letting me be able to work my camera settings.  (Hand warmers are a nice thing to have)

collage of two little girls wearing blue winter coats and gloves as they play in the snow in a park

collage of siblings playing in the snow while wearing knit sweaters and hats by a creek near Pittsburgh

With warm layers, you can ditch the heavy coats for a few quick shots and then put the coats back on to warm up.

Tip#3 – Camera settings

Okay, this might be the trickiest part.  If you’re most comfortable in auto mode, then find your nice shade and keep it in auto.  If you’re more comfortable with changing your camera settings and wanting to be a little more creative, here are some things to try.

To get those sharp pretty snowflakes, you’re going to want a fast shutter speed.  1/300 is a good setting to start with.  If snow is falling and you want that dreamy, bright, bokeh (blurry background), use a small aperture (f4 or smaller.  I’m usually around f2.8)

images of a little girl in a blue winter coat tossing snow over her head

Tip#4 – Have fun!!

Anytime you pull out the camera, the goal should be having fun and enjoying the moment.  Watch your subject and capture their experience.  And be sure to toss a few snowballs yourself.

image of a little boy in a white sweater and gray knit hat tossing snow over his head

image of a little girl in a blue winter coat running in the snow and hiding behind a tree

And if you’d rather play than take pictures, schedule a snow mini session with me and I’ll handle the hard stuff.

Snow mini-sessions are scheduled throughout January and February as weather permits.  These are quick sessions at parks located in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh.  Sessions can be in your winter coats or in cozy sweaters with breaks to warm up in between shots.  Most of all, sessions are meant to be fun!  Throwing snowballs, making snow angels, and all those fun bits that make winter magical!  Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to find out when I’ll be scheduling my next round of snow mini-sessions!

snow portraits of two sisters and a little brother all wearing knit hats and sweaters while playing in the snow next to a creek in Avonworth Park

My snow mini sessions offer that perfect mix of crazy fun with those smiling faces you’ll love.

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Hi there, it's Jodi!

I hope you enjoy my work and please let me know if you have any questions about photography, art, or anything at all.

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portrait photographer for the Pittsburgh area including:

Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Mt Lebanon, Sewickley, Upper St Clair, and Wexford