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5 Tips for Photography in Cold Weather

woman using Nikon DSLR camera

A few blogs ago, we wrote a photography guide for visiting Alaska. With an average temperature of 28 Fahrenheit, however, we didn’t take into account how exactly you could do this. 

You might think cold weather photography is easy. You wrap up warm, bring a hat, bring a thermos, and away you go. But actually, there are a load of things you need to think about if you want your photo session to be a success. 

Whether you’re taking these photographs for a cute, square photo book, or to add to your extensive winter portfolio, Jack Frost will never differentiate between photographers. Every photographer is fair game, and you need to do everything in your power to ensure you – and your phone – are prepared for his sting.

That’s why we’ve created a full guide to help you out! Below are our top tips for making the most out of your next cold-weather photography session, as well as an inventory of what you will need. 

Plan Beforehand

Firstly, if you’re braving temperatures like Alaska’s, then you need to have a plan before you head out. This is to ensure you don’t stay in the cold any longer than you need to, and you’re also prepared if things head south.

Snowy weather doesn’t just mean it’s going to be cold, it means visibility will be reduced too. You need to make sure you know where you’re going, and where the nearby amenities and shelters are, just in case the weather gets too heavy.

Wrap-Up Warm – You and Your Phone!

Batteries are like cold-blooded reptiles – they hate the cold! If you’re taking your smartphone into colder temperatures, then your batteries are going to drain faster and your performance will degrade. Unless you keep it warm, of course. 

Before you set off on your trip, make sure you have a thick case for your phone, and keep it as close to the body as possible. As well as this, make sure you bring a spare battery pack, or better still, purchase a Magsafe case that can keep a secondary power supply secure to your phone at all times. 

Prepare for Moisture Damage

You also need to prepare for moisture damage. When photographing in the cold, one of the common problems that photographers run into is a foggy camera lens

This can be a real nuisance if you’re out and about, and have no way of adequately cleaning your camera or disposing of moisture – there aren't many bags of rice lying around in the wild! To avoid this, all you need to do is bring a waterproof bag to zip your phone inside, and don’t keep your phone out for too long – once you snap the perfect picture, get it back to safety! Heat pads will also help for when you’re taking photos. Simply place a couple in each pocket, and keep your phone tucked tight between shots.

Get Your Settings Right

There’s a reason why people take pictures in cold weather, and that’s because it works in the photographer's favour. When the air is cold, it’s generally clearer than warm, summer air, and the lower angles of the sun give you better quality of light throughout the day. That being said, you need to make sure your exposure is right. 

If there’s snow on the ground, it can easily fool your phone into underexposing or overexposing the details. To avoid this, tap on the subject you're photographing and then drag the exposure from left to right. Top tip: don’t overcompensate by making the picture too bright, otherwise you’ll lose all the details of the landscape. Similar to this, if you’re attempting snowflake photography, make sure to alter exposure and brightness, as well as increase your shutter speed to up your odds of success.

Embrace it, Don’t Fear it!

As we just mentioned, cold weather offers loads of opportunities for an avid photographer. It doesn’t even have to be blue skies. Oftentimes, overcast weather provides a soft aesthetic to photographs, and gives your phone a solid basepoint to automatically adjust exposure. 

Although it might be a little uncomfortable, don’t waste those snowy days by shutting the curtains and turning up the heating. Get out and explore! You’ll thank us later when you’re uploading your photos to our photo book maker. But before you do that, make sure you take this guide into account and take all the items we’ve listed below.

  • Warm, Protective Clothing
  • Fingerless Gloves (For Photo Taking)
  • Battery Power Bank
  • Heating Pads
  • Water-Tight Bag
  • Camera Wipes (For Condensation)
  • Plenty of Water!


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