Don’t be tempted to hibernate with your camera this winter.
When there’s snow on the ground and those icy temperatures give you a polar bear complexion, there’s probably nowhere else you would rather be than sat in front of the fire with a hot drink and a book.
But for those snap-happy photographers among you, even the murkiness of the seasonal forecast is probably not enough to keep you inside.
Whether you’re ready to face the elements or holding out for warmer scenes, we’ve put together a few pointers to inspire you to get creative despite the winter chill.
The early bird catches the worm
Even with Britain’s increasingly unpredictable climate, one thing you can be sure of at this time of year is those foggy mornings. Make sure to keep one eye on the forecast and the other on your alarm clock – if fog is on the cards make sure to head out as the sun is rising.
The early morning light rising behind bands of fog make for some spectacular shots. If you can make it up somewhere of higher altitude, you could be lucky enough to capture some interesting fog patches as you look down on the scenery below. Even if heights are not your thing, simply shooting trees and foliage emerging from the fog can create some stunning compositions.
We don’t all have time to go wandering around in search of photo-worthy scenes but armed with your smartphone, you’re always prepared for an impromptu shot. Whether on your morning commute or making your way home as the sun dips below the crowded streets, there’s always something special to be found in the ordinary.
Photographed HMS Warrior in the fog, Portsmouth. pic.twitter.com/g1dnaGb5wd
— Jeremy Curl (@jcurlexplorer) January 11, 2017
The beauty is in the detail
Don’t worry if there’s a shortage of epic scenery around you because frosty macro shots are where it’s at in winter!
Head out to your local park or even to your back garden and point your camera to the ground to shoot some close-ups of frosty leaves, snow-covered objects, and the odd icicle or two. Water can make the most intricate of patterns on any surface when it freezes – so take notice before you go to de-ice your car windscreen.
Of course, melting ice can sometimes have the same visually striking effects – sun-dewed grass or reflections in puddles can offer some creative focus.
Even your dog’s paw prints in the garden snow can become a story without words when captured on camera.
You don’t have to venture very far to come across some wildlife either.
Wild birds, in particular, can be very easy to attract (if you don’t own a cat, that is) with some birdfeed in the cold months. A robin’s red breast features as a lucid contrast to the white of the snow.
Try and shoot from a place where you remain hidden as birds are less likely to remain still if they are aware of your presence. And always make sure when photographing animals to focus on the eye; capturing a sudden flicker of movement or light will make the image stand out even further.
— Owen Humphreys (@owenhumphreys1) January 12, 2017
If there’s a shortage of wildlife where you are, or if that same annoying magpie keeps scaring away any potential for a more varied subject matter, then go grab some people to photograph instead. (With their permission, of course!)
Snow and frost can make beautiful backdrops for portraits. The bright white of the snow acts as a natural reflector and a more overcast light sometimes works as a soft filter for your human subjects. Coloured hats, scarves and coats will also liven up any drab winter scenes.
Of course, there’s no need for your subjects to remain still in the snow, and you don’t want them to get cold. So why not capture a snowball fight in action? With the right camera settings you’re sure to create some fun images.
When snapping children playing in the snow, you often retrieve the best results when you don’t intervene. Let them play and see where it takes them because they are often more creative and fearless than adults. (Obviously be prepared to be kept on your toes, too!)
Even if it’s out in your back garden or as part of a special planned excursion, we hope that you and your camera can make the most of what winter has on offer while it’s still here!