Monday, January 12, 2015

5 Quick Tips When Shooting In The Cold

I think it is safe to say that New York is officially getting cold! The snow and the slush is accumulating on our streets, in our trees and making it very difficult for photographers to shoot outside. On the contrary, the snow makes for a beautiful photo. But there are just a few red flags that come to my mind before stepping outside in this cold weather.

1. Invest In A Battery Grip
The colder your battery, the less of a charge it will hold.  Think of it kind of like a car. When it’s cold outside sometimes your car won’t crank, right? That’s exactly how your camera’s battery (or any battery) reacts to cold conditions. Trust me, invest in a back up battery.

2. Shoot At Dusk Or Around Sunset
Shooting at these times allows for the white of the snow to really contrast with it’s surroundings. By shooting at these appropriate lighting times you are also avoiding harsh highlights that the sun reflects off of the snow and the entire image will be really smooth in light balance. This will be a breath of fresh air when editing.

Photo by Brandon Remler

3. Put Your Camera In A Freezer Bag
I know that sounds crazy, but you have to let you camera adjust to different climates at a slow rate.  Transporting your camera from a warm place (studio, bus, train) into a cold environment can and will cause condensation to your camera internally.  Kind of like when your glasses fog up when you walk into a warm place after being outside. After you are done shooting outside, put your camera in a large Ziploc freezer bag. When you get home, place the camera by the window and allow the camera to naturally warm back up. You do NOT want moisture building up in your camera.

4. Thin Cotton Gloves
This is the first thing I think of when shooting outside in the cold. I think of how annoying it will be to take my gloves on and off to adjust settings, then my fingers will start to freeze and I will just want to quit shooting. It happens all the time. The simple solution to my problem: Thin Cotton Gloves. Seems like a no brainer, right?  Great investment for shooting in the cold.  You can now shoot and adjust while keeping your hands warm at the same time.

** Although we all want to shoot with a large DSLR camera, I find it so much easier to shoot in tough environments with a small mirror-less camera like the Fujifilm XT1. It gives you the power you need internally without the hassle of lugging around a large camera. **

5. Reverse Vignette
If you’ve ever used a vignette before you know that it’s purpose is to apply a darker ring around your image to direct your eyes to staying in the center of the photograph.  It basically keeps your eyes from wondering around off the image.  When shooting in the snow, try reversing the vignette by applying a white ring around your images opposed to a darker one. I find that it blends everything together and can give your photo a "snowy" natural look (when done properly, of course).