With the winter comes snow, and whilst snow be horrible to drive in, it does make for some stunning photographs. With the chance of capturing those stunning winter wonderland shots or kids (and kidults for that matter) having fun sledging, making snow-angels or having snowball fights, there are a lot of photographic opportunities and you should make it your mission to try and capture some of them.
Many people find that when they photograph snow it turns out a dirty white or light grey colour than the pristine and bright white it should be, and capturing snow this way is one of the biggest pitfalls. Capturing pure white snow isn’t difficult, you just have to understand what your camera’s metering is doing and know what you need to do to correct it.
Let’s say you set your camera in aperture priority mode, dial in the aperture you want and point you camera at the snow, filling the frame. The camera will set the shutter speed it thinks you need to get a proper exposure, however this will be wrong. If you use the shutter speed the camera suggests the snow will be grey because the reflectiveness of the snow fools the meter. To make the snow white you need to add some exposure compensation and intentionally over expose by 1.5 – 2 stops and your snow will be white.
The golden rule is – whatever your camera suggests, when you take a meter reading off the snow only, you need to over expose the image.
All you need to do is dial in the aperture, or shutter speed you want, take a meter reading off the snow and dial in 1.5 – 2 stops positive exposure compensation and take the shot.
If you are shooting in manual mode set the aperture or shutter speed you want, meter off the snow and then adjust the other, i.e. either aperture or shutter depending on what is less important, until the exposure needle shows the 1.5 – 2 stops over exposure.
When taking the meter reading take it from the snow only, and don’t include anything else in the shot. If you are struggling to fill the entire frame with white snow put your camera in spot metering mode and follow the steps above.
As you can see, making sure the snow is white really isn’t that difficult and all you have to do is meter off the snow (and nothing but the snow) and then over expose by 1.5 stops – 2 stops.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.