At this time of year, across the UK, snow can start appearing in our landscape. But it's not the easiest of subjects to photograph, so we've rounded up some frequently asked questions to help you with shooting snow using your Olympus camera.
What equipment can I use to make my photos better?
- A tripod will be ideal for creating slower shutter speed photos of snow. This will allow you to capture streaks of snow falling down and create a sense of heavy snow.
- When it's snowing, the sky can often blend into the landscape so a grey graduated filter will help to add a bit more mood to your shot.
Why has my lens steamed up?
This is because you've moved from a warm house to the freezing cold outside, resulting in condensation. To avoid this, let your camera acclimatise in its case or bag for a while. Don't be tempted to wipe the lens with a cloth as this will cause smudges and marks.
Why does the snow look blue/grey in my shot?
This is because your camera's metering system is fooled by the highly reflective tones of the white snow.
As Pete's said in a previous article: "All cameras have built in metering systems that are designed to deliver a perfect picture assuming the contrast range is normal. They do this by scrambling the tones and then adjust so the scrambled colour brightness is mid grey or average. This is fine when the subject has a wide tonal range with everything from black to white being present, but when the subject is predominantly white, such as snow, the camera underexposes so that the white becomes grey."
If you're shooting under a blue sky, this will cause the snow to reflect a blue tone.
If you are using a compact camera it most likely has a snow scene mode and by switching to this, your once grey snow should appear white.
For those using more advanced cameras you can get around this by adjusting the exposure compensation setting to either plus 1 or two stops depending on the amount of snow in the picture.
If your camera has the exposure lock feature, which is usually set by half pressing the shutter button, point it at a mid-tone in your scene, lock the exposure then recompose your shot.
Why does my snow shot look boring?
When snow covers most of your shot it can make the scene look a little bland. Try stopping down a little to add more depth to your shot, or if this doesn't work, try adjusting your position to include a stone wall perhaps, or a lone tree, to add a little more to the shot.
Falling snow is ruining my shot. How can I minimise the appearance of the flakes?
The simple answer to this is to wait until it stops snowing. If this is not an option, make sure you're not using your flash, as this can cause the light to reflect off snow flakes nearer to the lens, causing the rest of your shot to look really dull and grey. Use a tripod and a slower shutter speed to minimise snowflakes in your shot by turning them into streaks.