It’s almost here, those cold winter months where your kids are super excited to get out there and play, while you shiver and turn up the edge of your coat. One way to pass some time is to get out your camera and snap some winter-themed photos of your kids having fun. But first, some tips on locations to take your kids, and how to prepare for a winter photo shoot.
There’s a ton of places to capture action; skiing on the slopes, tobogganing, having a snowball fight, playing hockey or skating. These action locations will require a faster shutter speed. Fortunately, here the snow is your friend, as it helps to increase the amount of light in the photo. Faster action shots (skiing, etc.) will require a faster shutter speed to freeze action – start with 1/500s.
When your kids are playing quietly or willing to pose you have some options. You can step back to include some of the surroundings, such as the sky, clouds, trees, or mountains. Or you can get in close for rosy cheeks and bright eyes with a large aperture. Go to the park, find a field, or just hang out in your backyard.
The thing with winter photos is that they are just so, white! Adding some color with a bright hat or scarf can help to brighten up the shot and brings more attention to your subject. So can adding in some background – a brick wall, tree, sky, or some water.
If you really want to see the texture of snow, rather than flat white, then later in the day is the best time to shoot snow and winter scenes. The late sun will create more shadows in the grains of snow, so you get lots of texture in your kid’s photos. However, it might be a bit more difficult to get the right positioning and exposure, so be prepared to take a bit of time testing out different settings.
If you’ve ever dug a hole in the snow, you’ll see the bluish cast that snow creates – which can show up in your images. You can check your camera to see if it has a “snow” setting in its white balance menu, or you can set a custom white balance by taking a photo of the snow and using it as your template – so your snow turns out white (not blue or orange) and your colors are accurate.
For a different kind of scene, try black and white. Dress your kids in darker colors so they contrast with the snow. Remember that if your camera is out in the cold you’ll want to put it in a plastic bag when you return insides to reduce condensation on the camera sensor and electronics. After that, grab some cocoa and review your brand new (and lovely) children’s photos!