Photographing in the snow or other white, wintry conditions can certainly be a challenge. One reason for this is that your camera evaluates the whole scene and tries to give the shot an overall “middle gray” average (I went into a little more details about this a few weeks ago in one of our weekly photo tips. See it here: http://tinyurl.com/32cpkf).

The first and easiest solution is to see if your camera has a setting for snow. If it does, use it. This tells the camera to automatically make the compensation for you.

Another option is to make the compensation yourself. Here’s how:

1.) In your camera’s modes, set your camera to take shots that will be 1-2 f-stops over or under exposed (read your manual for how to do this on your camera). In this situation with snow, you want to overexpose the shot (letting in more light then the camera thinks it needs).

2.) Take a few test shots and look at your histogram — remember that you are intentionally overexposing, so you will have areas that appear fully white.

3.) Turn on blinking highlights if you have them, and be sure that only the areas of brightest snow and white are blinking — not the areas that should have detail. Even snow should generally retain some visible detail so be sure not to overexpose too far.
Snow can provide a lot of opportunities for you to learn how your camera really functions. Trying to outsmart your camera takes some trial and error and a whole lot of practice. Keep in mind that the amount of snow, time of day, weather, as well as the other things that are in your shot all play a roll in the overall exposure.

When switching modes and making these types of adjustments, be sure to change them back when you’re done!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the office we’re lucky to work with professional photographers who answer our every photo question. If you don’t have a photographer like Shelly on hand for your own photo questions, you can still carry professional advice in your pocket, where it’s handy when you need it in a pinch.

Our Photo Tip Cards are made to fit in your pocket or camera bag, and they’re full of all kinds of advice for perfect shots. It’s so much easier than trying to remember the correct camera settings for soccer games, portraits, sunny days, shadows, night shots, and more.

Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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