As winter moves in and temperatures drop, environmental conditions for shooting are changing rapidly from day to day. The cold weather, sometimes accompanied by snow, shouldn’t keep you from getting out there—if anything, you should be taking advantage of the beauty that is often overlooked when it comes to winter conditions.

That being said, it is important to be properly prepared for shooting in cold weather conditions, as well as to have adequate knowledge of your photo gear, so you can practice your passion safely and without harming your equipment.

Here are some tips to follow, so you can enjoy the coming winter, and get some awesome shots, too.

DO

  • Travel light. There is nothing more inconvenient for a photographer than lugging around a bunch of equipment, and this is especially true in winter weather conditions. Unless you are doing a professional shoot, there is no need to carry anything other than your camera, flash, and batteries. Ditch the copious amounts of lenses, tripods, and straps, it is unlikely you will really need anything other than the bare minimum.
  • Bring an airtight bag. This is especially important if it is snowing, as your gear is vulnerable to condensation and moisture. With an airtight bag, you can make sure your equipment is safe from the weather conditions, even if it suddenly starts to pour.
  • Try out fingerless gloves. It is impossible to use your phone with heavy duty gloves, let alone a camera. Fingerless gloves give you the ability to expose just the very tip of your fingers while keeping the rest of your hands warm, meaning you will have more control over what you’re doing without having to compromise your comfort.
  • Monitor your shots. The changing weather can alter the way your photos come out, even more so if snow coats the ground. If your photos are coming out with too strong of a blue hue, change the white balance on your camera to a “cloudy” setting to warm up your photos.

DON’T

  • Leave the house without extra batteries. Batteries discharge faster in cold weather, and the last thing you want is to get out there in the freezing cold only to have your camera unusable because it’s dead. Be sure to pack extra batteries so you won’t have to worry about the life of your camera while you are out and about.
  • Keep all your gear out in the cold. Try as best you can to keep your camera and additional gear under your coat or in your bag as much as possible. Exposure to cold weather can be damaging to your gear and everything will stay in tip-top shape if it’s kept nice and toasty.
  • Let snow mess up your shot. Sometimes snow reflects light off axis and causes lens flares, and you would hate to take your shots only to get home and realize the light is wonky. Use a lens hood on sunny days to avoid this clash with snow, and to get the most out of the beautiful powdery white sheet that covers the ground.
  • Put yourself in danger. This one is fairly obvious, but don’t put yourself in a potentially harmful or dangerous situation just to get a good shot. Hypothermia and frostbite can be very serious, and you are incredibly susceptible to these in the freezing weather. Make sure your health comes first. 

Happy Winter Shooting!