Children love the snow and a winter shower can be a great time to shoot all the family; the amazement on a toddlers face, teenagers and adults often reverting back to being kids, family snowball fights, sledging, snow angels… and then mugs of hot chocolate and marshmallows to follow! But with all that white stuff, sometimes taking photographs can be tricky, hopefully these simple tips will help you capture these magical snow days.
1. Speed it up
Using a fast shutter speed will help you achieve clear blur free images, so if the snow is falling at the time of shooting or your child is flying down the hill on their sledge and you want to freeze the action so you capture the falling snow as pretty flakes not a blurry fog or your child's face as they whizz by not just a blur of colour, then increase that shutter speed!
If you are not comfortable shooting in manual, try using the ‘shutter priority mode’ and set your shutter speed high (typically above 1/500th) then your camera will automatically select the appropriate aperture, alternatively your camera may have a ‘sports mode’ which means the camera will select the fastest shutter speed possible for the situation. Give it a try!
2. It's all-white
Another tip is to slightly over expose your images which will give you white snow not grey snow. Snow can be very bright and too much for your camera to handle, meaning your images will be darker or may even look grey. If you can, you will get the best results by shooting in manual and adjusting the exposure accordingly. If this is too complicated, you can shoot in auto or aperture/shutter priority modes and then slightly over expose the shot using the cameras ev compensation.
Alternatively, if you prefer to stay totally in auto mode try this little trick, when looking through the camera at the image you want to capture, aim on a dark object within that scene (a tree trunk, a childs dark coat...) press the shutter halfway, then move the camera (with your finger still pressing the shutter halfway) to re-frame and capture the image you wanted, this should trick the camera to expose for the dark area thus creating a brighter image.
3. Get creative and have fun!!
Take a big step back and shoot the entire scene. Landscapes look stunning in the snow, try to show the vast expanse of white; stand in the centre of a quiet street and shoot down the road capturing all the snow covered cars or capture the view of whole park with the kids having fun in the snow.
Remember to capture the details too, the way the snow is covering a branch, kids foot prints along a path, red berries poking though the white, kids coloured wellington boots….little details can add interest to a set of images more than just shooting a whole lot of the white stuff.
A snow day can be a great time to create images with large amount of negative space (the space around the subject) for example a field covered in white snow with two children walking through it or your child in the foreground and snow covered trees behind them, giving you a clean image and drawing your eye straight to your child.
Dress your kids in bright colours, this will look great and add a brilliant pop of colour against all the white.
Capture a portrait of your kids faces towards the end of their time playing the snow, their rosy cheeks, red noses, wooly hats and the happiness of the day, just say the words “hot chocolate” as you do this and you will get a great big smile.
4. And finally....
Keeping yourself warm is super important, extra socks (3 pairs!) as you will be standing about more and you can pretend to be in the 80’s by wearing fingerless gloves!!
Words by Emily Walker
Images supplied by Lifecake
Emily Walker is a natural light photographer based in Surrey but who works throughout the UK. Emily became obsessed with photography as a child when she would pour endlessly over family photo albums and smile at the memories captured. She would also love watching her dad use his Canon ae-1 as he patiently composed the shot and then waited for the perfect moment to capture it. These days, mum-of-three Emily can be found behind the camera herself, describing her style as natural, simple and fun.