For years I have “wanted” to do more photography in the winter, but I always seem to find excuses not to! And Figuring out White Balance in the Snow was one of my speed bumps for a long time!
Well, this year has been the very coldest winter I have ever experienced. It has been in the single digits more days than I can count. And we have had below zero temperatures on several days! Holy Moly it has been cold!!
At some point along the way I decided to stop complaining about the cold and just embrace it! Not sure when the switch flipped, but I am really glad it did!! Now, as I sit here I am literally bundled up with a scarf on at my desk ~ just so I can wear flip flops in the house.
So don’t get me wrong, I would take 95 degrees tomorrow with a smile on my face if it wanted to arrive! But, I have also decided that it is no where near over. It is cold just about everywhere this winter. And it is about time to make the best of it.
So how do I make the best of most things? With photography of course!
Last week we got nearly a foot of snow and the boys were home three days in a row from school because of it. So we got out and went sledding (it was 12 degrees!! Ahh!) and they both loved it so much!!
And I have been getting out and taking portraits of the kids. And for anyone else who will let me it seems (more posts on that coming soon! Spending lots of time working in the snow to improve my Snow Portraits. Taking photos in the snow is really different from other outdoor portraits.
Snow is a Natural Reflector
The snow serves as a huge natural reflector, so you can get some amazing light if you use it to your advantage, or it can be a glaring awful problem if you aren’t quite sure what to do with it!
White Balance and Snow
Another issue is white balance. Our digital cameras have sensors that can read natural light and give a fairly decent reading. This works fairly well for the lighting in an open shade natural light environment if you have them set on Auto White Balance. But in the snow, the camera has some trouble. And this is why we end up with so much “blue” snow!
Maybe I should do a longer post with some examples on this in the future… But for now, a quick tip.
For those of you who aren’t quite up to setting a custom white balance for your camera. When shooting in the snow, try using the “Cloudy” setting.
It won’t get you all the way (custom is best), but it will be a big improvement over what the camera “sees” and gives you on Auto WB 🙂