Tips & Tutorials

Dealing with cold weather photography

It’s that time of the year when we’re drawn to cooler climes for wintry photography adventures. Learn how to ensure your equipment stays safe in the blistering cold.

EOS 5D Mark II, EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens, f/5, 1/125sec, 50mm, ISO100 by Zach Dischner

Before your shoot

1. Always bring a camera bag or backpack to protect your equipment from the cold. Remember to stash your camera in its bag until you’re ready to shoot. If you’re using a tripod, get one made from carbon fibre. It works well in extreme temperatures and is lighter compared to its metal counterparts.

2. Nothing drains batteries faster than cold weather. Bring spare batteries to prevent from running out of power just as you’re about to capture that perfect shot. Remember to head outdoors with a fresh battery and stash your spare batteries under your layers of clothing to keep them warm.

EOS 700D, EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens, f/5.6, 1/500sec, 10mm, ISO100 by David Schiersner

3. Don’t forget gloves that are touch-screen friendly to keep your hands warm so they’re able to manipulate your camera’s controls. We also recommend you bring along an airtight plastic bag. Why? We’ll get to that later. 

EOS 700D, EF-S10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens, f/5.6, 1/1600sec, 10mm, ISO800 by Groman123

During your shoot

It’s important to have your equipment as warm as possible. Keep the camera and flash under your jacket or coat, while extra batteries should ideally be stored in your shirt or pants pocket. 

EOS 70D, EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens, f/6.3, 1/320sec, 81mm, ISO100 by Markus Trienke

Shooting tips

You might notice your photos becoming hazy, which is common in winter and cold weather. If that isn’t the effect you’re after, use a UV or clear filter to reduce it and protect your front lens from snow or other elements. Always check your exposures when shooting snow on a sunny day.

Tip: Expose for the brightest parts and watch out for highlights from turning white. As snow can act as a giant reflector, use a lens hood to prevent unwanted lens flare when shooting on a bright day. 

Discover more tips on shooting misty conditions in the article: Camera Settings for Photographing Misty Streams and Rivers

EOS 100D, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, f/4, 1/250sec, 100mm, ISO400 by Susanne Nilsson

After your shoot

Once you’re done taking photos, remove the memory card from your camera. Remember the airtight plastic bag we mentioned earlier? Keep your cold camera and lens in the airtight plastic bag, and let them acclimate to the temperature change. Keep them in the bag for two hours so they warm up gradually. Add silica gel packs in the bag to help reduce humidity.

What other extreme conditions can you shoot in? Learn from renowned photographer Raymond Man in this article: Shooting in Extreme Conditions with Raymond Man


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