Winter can be harsh and unforgiving…but there is no doubt that it creates a stunning backdrop for photographers.
We asked Swedish freelance photographer Johan Stephan for his tips on shooting in the depth of winter. His recent photo shoot was all outdoors in Norrland (the north of Sweden) in -23 degree weather.
His first tip is the most important: “Dress warmly,” he says. “But make sure to wear comfy clothes. You have to be able to move properly. You might have to get down on your knees or even lay down for a shot. You don’t want your clothes to be too bulky and stiff then. Use gloves that will let you work without taking them off.”
Another good tip against the cold that he picked up from his children’s school is to wrap your feet in plastic bags before putting your shoes on. That way if your shoes become wet, your feet will stay dry.
He stresses to keep your equipment to the bare minimum and make the best with the gear that you bring. “Are you really going to change lenses in this weather? Is your tripod easy to use with gloves? Me, I decided every morning before I left which lens to go with that day. I think that I get more creative when I travel light with just my D800E and the lens attached to it.”
“Speaking of gear, always bring extra batteries and keep them in your inner pocket as close to the warmth of your body as possible, the cold will drain them otherwise (just as with your phone).”
Concerning shooting, he says, “Many photographers advise to overexpose since the snow makes it hard for the camera to tell the right exposure when shooting in snowy conditions, however I did the exact opposite this time… I felt underexposing gave me the start files that I wanted. But next time I might do the other way. Just do what works for you.”
Finally, don’t forget to bring something warm to drink, some food to eat and tell some friends were you are heading.
When you arrive back at home, leave your camera in the bag until it reaches room temperature again. This way, you can avoid condensation buildup in and around the body and lenses.
Thank you Johan for the tips!
You can see more of Johan’s photography at www.johanstephan.com.