Whether you're going out to photograph spectacular winter sceneries or are simply going into an ice rink, here are some tips to help you photograph in these conditions.
Dress for the weather conditions
You’re likely to be out in the cold for quite some time so make sure you dress appropriately! Wear clothes that will keep you warm and comfortable without making you sweat. Take into account if you’re going to be trekking (or skiing) through the countryside as you’re likely to get much warmer than if you’re driving around.
Take someone with you and let someone know where you’re going and when you’re expecting to be back… just in case.
If you’re going to be out in the cold for hours, you’ll definitely need gloves, even if you don’t wear them while photographing. Personally I hate shooting with gloves as I don’t find I can “feel” the camera trigger but I always bring them along with me to defrost my hands between shots.
Keep your batteries warm
The cold drains batteries very quickly so it’s a good idea to carry your camera batteries in a pocket where your body heat can keep them warm. Make sure to bring a spare battery just in case.
Pack your gear in a camera bag or backpack
Pack your gear in a sturdy camera bag or backpack and make sure you’re going to be comfortable carrying it around all day. Make sure the gear is easily accessible so you don’t need to put it down in the snow to get your gear out.
Keeping your gear in the bag will not only protect it while you’re out but will also gradually cool down your gear (when you head out) and warm up your gear slowly (when you return).
Warm up your gear gradually when you get back into the warm
It is really important to let the gear warm up slowly as you don’t want condensation to form in the camera or lenses. Leave all your gear in your bag for 2hrs or more to allow it time to get back to room temperature and, of course, don’t put your bag near the heater or the fire as it’ll warm up too quickly.
You could also pack your gear in a ziplock bag before going back inside, allowing any condensation that forms to do so on the outside of your bag and not on your gear.
Pack only what you absolutely need
Consider what lenses you absolutely need to bring with you. If you’re going to shoot landscapes bring your wide-angle lens but ask yourself if you really need that telephoto zoom. On the other hand, if you’re going to photograph your child in the local ice rink, the telephoto is likely to be a much better option than the wide-angle lens.
Avoid changing lenses in the field as this can introduce moisture into the body, which can have disastrous consequences.
Watch where you’re walking
There’s nothing worse than footprints marring the fresh snow in the middle of your shot….unless that was the look you’re going for of course. Think about what you’re going to shoot and how you’re going to get there to ensure you get the best shot possible.
While we’re on the topic of watching where you’re walking, watch out for ice, streams covered with snow etc all of which can bring harm to you and your gear.
Have a great time shooting. Winter is a great time to shoot so make the most of it!