Photography Cheat Sheet: Essential Tips for Shooting in Cold Weather

Brrrr season is afoot, so we best be prepared for the cold with today’s handy photography cheat sheet!

It’s only a matter of time before we slip into colder and colder weather. A trip to winter wonderlands may also soon be in order. Some know how challenging it can be to shoot in freezing temperatures. Some learn the hard way. In either case it’s best to keep today’s photography cheat sheet with you from now on!

Winter presents some of the most interesting scenes and visuals to photograph, so we understand why photographers take on the challenge of shooting in this season. Likewise, locations that are freezing cold or covered in ice and snow most of the year (if not all of it), also have their own allure, especially for landscape and travel photographers. Preparation is key to shooting in the cold season and at frigid destinations, and that’s exactly where B&H’s infographic helps.

Personal safety is of paramount importance. Before you prepare your gear, secure the details of your trip first. B&H stressed this in the tutorial paired with their photography cheat sheet, urging travelers to plan routes well, ensure there are measures for keeping warm, and put together a list of other safety precautions.

When packing your gear, don’t forget to bring extra batteries: cold weather causes batteries to discharge faster. A sturdy and reliable camera backpack is also essential to protect your gear from the harsh winter elements. Pack some airtight, resealable plastic bags to protect your camera from condensation. Bring some fingerless gloves as well: they will keep your hand warm but still allow full control over your camera.

Once you’re out shooting, you have to keep your camera, flash, and batteries as warm as possible. You can keep your camera and flash under your coat and put your extra batteries in your pockets. When shooting, switch your white balance setting to “Cloudy” if you notice your photos looking too blue. Use a UV or clear filter over your lens to protect the front element from snow or moisture. If you’re shooting in a snowy spot, use exposure compensation if your camera’s meter underexposes the scene. A lens hood on a sunny day in the snow will help avoid lens flare from the snow reflecting light.

Done with your shoot? While you’re still outside, take out the memory card then place your camera inside the airtight plastic bag. This will cause the moisture to form on the outside of your bag and not in or around your camera. Once you’re indoors again, keep your gear in your bag for about two hours to allow it to warm up gradually. Since you already took out the memory card, you can proceed to grab a warm drink and edit your photos while waiting for your gear to acclimate to the temperature.

Want more useful tips and tricks like this? Check out the rest of our photography cheat sheets so far!