5 Tips for Successful Winter Photos - Cramer Imaging - Quality Fine Art Photography
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5 Tips for Successful Winter Photos

5 Tips for Successful Winter Photos
Winter is here to stay for a while but that doesn't mean that you can't go take pictures out in the snow if you choose.  Winter is one of the most magical times of year for outdoor photos.  With a few considerations, you can enjoy taking lots of pictures outdoors hassle-free.

1. Keep Your Camera Cold Before You Go Shoot

Cramer Imaging's professional quality product photograph of a Nikon DSLR camera with removable flash unit in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho
Something to think about is to make sure that your camera is at the same temperature as the outside air before you start shooting.  This doesn't seem to make any sense until you think about why.

If your camera, especially your lens, is too warm when you start your photo session outside, then you have to worry about condensation on the lens.  This will obscure whatever you are trying to take pictures of.  Water will condense on both the inside and the outside of the lens.  The inside is not easily accessed at best.

To counteract this problem, make sure that your camera is chilled before you take it outside with you.  The refrigerator or the freezer will work.  If you are going out on location someplace, simply place your camera in the trunk of your car and it will acclimate during your drive there.

2. Bring Lots of Batteries and Keep Them Warm

While your camera needs to keep cool, your camera batteries need to keep warm.  The cold will suck the power right out of them faster than almost anything else.  You will find that you have power for only a handful of photos if you don't take appropriate steps to ensure power for your camera.

Photograph of three different kinds of camera batteries as done by Cramer Imaging
It doesn't matter what kind of batteries your camera takes.  They all need to be kept warm.
There are a couple of ways to make sure you have enough battery life for your outdoor winter shoot.  You must remove your battery from your camera while it's cooling off and you must bring lots of already charged batteries with you.  Keep them someplace warm and accessible such as your pocket so you have them when you need them.

3. Dress Warmly

Cramer Imaging's photograph of a winter jacket or coat, a knitted scarf, and a matching knitted hat
One of the most important parts of successful outdoor winter photo sessions is that you come back in one piece.  This means that you don't contract a case of hypothermia or frostbite while out in the field.  For this, you must remember to dress warmly and properly for the situation.

For some tips on avoiding hypothermia, and frostbite, check out this article.  It contains specific tips to help you dress appropriately and tips to avoid activities which could cost you your life in the cold outdoors.

4. Get Gloves or Mittens With Removable Tips

Photograph of a black photographer's glove with removable thumb and index finger sections on white background by Cramer Imaging
These gloves were developed especially for photographers' hands in the cold but any gloves which work similarly will do the job too.
I've been shooting photos outside in all kinds of temperatures for a few years now.  One thing that I've learned is that there is no mitten nor glove which can make up for the friction of the human finger tip when manipulating buttons and dials on your camera.

If you are planning an outdoor winter photo shoot longer than a couple of minutes or so, then you need to make sure that you have hand protection that will grant access to your finger tips.  Gloves and mittens will slip on the controls and will fail to turn dials.

There are several different options on the market which will fill this need.  The most common version is mittens with no finger tips.

Choose your hand insulation carefully as you will be exposing your bare skin to the cold during your session.  You don't want to freeze your fingers temporarily or permanently.  Numb fingers won't operate your camera controls with much precision at all.

5. Have a Warm Drink Waiting

Photograph of a colorful Christmas-themed mug of hot chocolate with a spoon by Cramer Imaging
There's no two ways about it.  Taking outdoor winter photographs, no matter what kind, is a cold business.  You need something to help you warm up afterwards.  The single best way to warm up is with hot liquids.

One of my favorite warm-up methods is a big mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows or whipped cream.  Something like this will help you recover much quicker from the cold.


Successful winter photographs in the outdoors are mostly about keeping yourself and your batteries warm.  The rest is about keeping your camera cool.  If you take a little time and make sure that these matters are attended to, you will have a much better chance at scoring amazing winter photos.