If you are going out shooting in the snow and ice, bring gear that will a) protect your camera from the weather and b) protect your camera from you! Most camera accidents don’t occur due to the elements, but due to clumsiness. Protecting your iPhone with a waterproof case or at a bare minimum, a camera-focused case will save you a world of hurt (literally!). I have used Moment lenses and cases for years and absolutely love the glass they use for their lenses. If you’re looking to invest in camera gear for your iPhone just yet, a simple waterproof case from Lifeproof or Otterbox will do the trick!
2. Find a subject
It seems simple, I know, but if you scroll through Instagram after a big snow storm, you are likely to see a substantial amount of white photos of nothing. Finding a subject to shoot is key for any type of photography, but is especially important in the snow. Look for something to contrast with the snow. Whether that be another person, a log, leaf, or even your cup of coffee, look for ways to make your photos more interesting. Use Portrait Mode to make your subjects really stand out! If you are struggling to find a subject you like, my personal favorite are snowy footprints. Take a couple steps and then walk backwards. Bring your camera way down to the ground and shoot your path!
3. Watch your exposure!
A common problem when shooting snow is that the photos turn out either too dark or too bright. You don’t want to miss all the details of the subject you are trying to shoot if the shot is too bright, and dark photos miss the happy spirit of a snowy day! An easy way to change your iPhone’s exposure without any editing is to tap on the screen and keep your finger pressed. While still holding, swipe up or down to change the exposure to your liking: swipe up for brighter and down for darker. This can also come in handy for sunsets, photos in low light, or in our case…snow!
4. Catch the falling snow or edit in later!
It’s always difficult to try to catch that moment in time when the snow is still falling in photos, but there are some tricks you can do to help. First, shoot against a background that is something other than white. The best background would be a landscape like a lake, road, or any dark background to contrast with the white snowflakes. Next, when you are trying to capture your shot, make sure your shutter speed is fast, above 1/250 at minimum. If you are having trouble capturing this in the native camera app, try using apps like Camera+ or VSCO to manually control your ISO and Shutter Speed. If you’re still having trouble and it’s getting close to dark, grab a tripod for your phone or create a makeshift one to keep your camera totally still. If you have an Apple Watch, you can control your iPhone’s camera right from your watch! Of course, shoot during the most intense part of the snow for best effects. If all else fails, you can always edit this in later using my favorite iPhone camera app: Lens Distortion. One of the many selections is to add in a snow layer overtop of your existing photos, it works really well!
5. Correct your White Balance!
Winter photos sometimes don’t look like what you remember them to be and it could be due to the white balance of your iPhone’s native camera app. Use apps like Lightroom and VSCO to apply filters or edits to your photos to give it that blueish winter hue. My favorite winter preset in VSCO is C1. Tap to add this to your photos or go into Lightroom and drag the WB tool down towards the blue end of the spectrum. You can always also go deeper into Lightroom and change the colors of both the shadows and highlights to get that exact look you want!
6. Just have fun!
Most of all, have fun! Shooting photos in the winter snow is magical and if you are from the Southern states like I am, it happens so rarely, enjoy it! Bring your friends and loved ones, get outside, make a sled out of a trash can lid, build a snowman, throw snowballs…and of course, take tons of photos to remember it all. It’s worth it!