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5 Cold Weather Photography Tips

Just because it's turning cold doesn't mean you can't still get outdoors with your camera and other gear.

|  General Photography
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The temperatures are slowly dropping which means it's a good time to start thinking about cold weather photography.

Photo by David Clapp -


What To Wear

Layers are key as lots of thinner layers will trap more warmth than a single thick coat, plus you can always take a layer off if you get too warm! Always wear a waterproof outer layer and don't forget your scarf and a hat that covers your ears. Even though they can be a bit annoying, gloves are a must too and if you don't want to spend time removing them every-time you want to adjust your camera, invest in a fingerless pair, or a set that have a mitten part you can pull over your fingers when not using your camera. If your gloves are made of wool or fleece, do note that they do get very wet easily and this can lead to your hands becoming cold rather quickly. Wear boots that are waterproof, warm and most importantly have a good grip. Carry spare socks too as having wet feet, particularly when it's cold, isn't a fun experience.


Carry Food And Drink

If you're planning on heading out in the cold for a few hours, always take some food and drink with you. A small flask of something warm such as tea, coffee or soup can be warming on particularly cold days.


Always Tell People

Make sure someone knows where you are heading and when possible, take someone with you. If you are heading out on your own always write down where you'll be as people have a habit of forgetting things if you just tell them verbally.

Do double-check you have your mobile phone with you (and that it's charged) before leaving the house as telling people where you're going won't be much use if they can't get in touch with you.


Your Gear

Even though modern gear copes rather well in all temperatures do still take spare batteries as they can lose their charge quicker in cold weather. Do remember that aluminium tripods become very cold to the touch in winter, so you may want to fasten it to your rucksack rather than carrying it in your hands.

Even if you're going to a location you know well it's still a good idea to pack a map and compass (even if you do have a smartphone!) and a remote shutter release will come in handy when you find yourself shivering. If you don't have a remote release consider using your camera's self-timer so shake doesn't spoil your shot. Increasing your ISO will also help keep shutter speeds higher.


Do Your Research

Don't push yourself too hard if you're planning on going for a walk and do try and find out what the terrain will be like at your chosen location for example,  is it muddy? Do surfaces become slippery after a cold night? Etc.

As days are shorter, do take drive times as well as how long it will take you to walk there and back (if you are) to your chosen photography spot into consideration as you don't really want to be walking back to your car in the dark! If you are planning on shooting a sunset, a head torch will be more useful than a hand-held one as it'll mean your hands are still free.

Check the weather regularly for a few days before your shoot as well as while you're out as weather, particularly up in mountainous areas, can go from fine to terrible quite rapidly.

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tiff 12 111 United Kingdom
1 Dec 2015 12:30AM

The Highlanders
altitude50 17 21.6k United Kingdom
1 Dec 2020 11:35AM
I was in Northern Norway in December 1981 and went to North Cape in a Volvo BV202 courtesy of the Norwegian Navy. I had a Canon AE-1 not winterised and an Olympus Trip 35. I kept the Canon under my jacket most of the time, but most of the interesting photos were taken on the Olympus, both cameras performed faultlessly even down to minus 26 degrees C. Kodak Ektachrome & Kodachrome films used. Obviously no daylight at that time of year.

This photo taken out of the tracked trailer in a blizzard on a mountain on the way to North Cape. (There was no visitor centre nor hotel there then!)

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