Ever wonder how the pros get those stunning winter photographs while you sit and struggle with over exposed and harsh hopefuls? Here’s some quick tips I use during my winter travels and they will work with any dslr or film camera.

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Exposure

Underexpose to overexpose… What? With bright blue skies and snow, light is more then present; its blinding. With such harsh light during the day photos can result in harsh shadows leaving your subject or landscape looking unbalanced and crude. One of my tips that I always keep in my mind while shooting is to adjust for this. Underexpose the entire shot. This will allow you to bring out more detail post production.

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Contrast

Winter brings out a great opportunity to get shots with a lot of contrast. The ample amount of snow can make for some stunning images. Look through the viewfinder a little longer and try to visualize the finished photograph. Dark trees and subjects allow for dramatic black and white shots with stunning backgrounds.

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Timing

Like always, timing is everything. Don’t be afraid to try new things with your camera. Mount it on skis, or putting a timer on that allows for multiple shots. During my time in Iceland, a farmers dog followed us during the approach, I anticipated the shot and waited. Realizing what you want to capture is half the battle.

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Location

This goes for destination and relation to your subject matter. This shot was during an approach to Hraundrangi, Iceland. I allowed my climbing partner to get quite a ways in front of me, this helped to show perspective, the size of the peak as well as the person. Don’t be afraid to take your camera too! I often get asked, “you really take your camera into those spots!?” Yes, if you aren’t willing to take the camera out, then you aren’t going to get the shot.

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Time

While most winter fun takes place during the day, night can offer up some special moments and amazing shots. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years is that when you are shooting you need to step away from the action if you want to get the shot. Being awake before and after everyone else is essential. Mornings, offer up stunning light and nights will allow for great long exposures, the snow reflects more light and creates great effects.

While keeping those in mind, don’t forget that batteries get cold. Keep spares inside a coat pocket close to your body and switch them out often, you don’t want a dead battery in the middle of a shoot.

Your camera may get wet, so when it does allow it to dry out. Keep it out of its bag and allow it to air dry since you don’t want a foggy lens the next morning.

So, keep those in mind, shoot often and get out and enjoy the winter photography!

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