Getting Bright White Snow-Day Photos

A common problem when taking photos in the snow is that they come out a little grey and dreary. This is because the camera sees such brightness that it tries to compensate almost as if putting on sunglasses; and the white balance tries to make white a neutral grey. One way to fix this is with exposure compensation which adds light to the scene.

By adding exposure to the scene, you force the camera to overexpose just a bit. I usually start with +0.7 in snow and then either go up to +1.0 or down to +0.3.

The exposure compensation dial on your DSLR or mirrorless camera can be used in any mode except “green box” program. It is usually found on top of the camera and shows +/-. Simply hold it down and move the thumb wheel left or right to add (+) or subtract (-) light. On your iPhone, touch the screen on the subject’s face and slide the sun icon up a bit to add light to make the shot a less grey. BTW, this tip also works at the beach.

In photoshop, I may brighten the image by about 10-20%. Another trick to ensure white is white in photoshop is to use image>adjustment>levels. Then select the eye-dropper on the right (white) and click on something in your image that should be 100% white. This is a great way to correct images where the color isn’t just right and I find it really helps with skin tones.

Another way to get brighter winter portraits is to use flash. I will cover this next week. Enjoy the snow days of February and March!



Here We Go Again


Photo by Kathy Horan taken on photo workshop.

This is my second stab at blogging. This time I feel like I have a vision. Rather than post diary entries of my life, which really may not be that exciting to anyone but me, I want to help you take better photos. I’m in the industry. It’s part of my job, or should I say it’s about job security, to help people that like to take pictures…take better pictures…so that they buy more equipment…to take more pictures. But really, I love photography. I have great equipment, including my new beautiful DSLR my husband gave me for Christmas (xo). And I love school. I still get nostalgic every fall. I played school a lot as a child and maybe should have gone into teaching instead of marketing. Although let’s face it, these days neither career path offers job security. I’m a huge scrapbooker. And a novice photographer that has attended and produced hundreds of workshops and has experienced the industry’s transition from film to digital first-hand. My photography centers on memory-making and my eye is drawn to images that make a statement, tell a story. I chase scrapbook-worthy images at every turn. I drive my family crazy while on vacation. I am thankful for an 8GB card to hold all my shots from the first-day of school. Yes, I can shoot non-stop, fast, and from the hundreds to choose from, I might be happy with three or four. But when I slow down and think about the images shot by some of my favorite photographers, try to emulate their style and technique, think about the basics, I can make a pretty good image. I know lots of rules, tips, and more. I want to share them with you. Because I know you are looking for ways to take better photos. So I hope you will find my postings useful. Come chase picture perfection with me.