At the end of March, my work flew me over to snowy Tignes in France to shoot their Autumn/Winter 2019 product range. I know, I feel incredibly lucky! Unfortunately, I can’t show you any of the actual photography I did as that’s super-confidential top-secret information and you’ll have to wait until the winter when it’s all released. Plus, if I showed you, I’d have to kill you, so…
However, instead, I thought it would be useful to share some tips I learned from photographing in a snowy environment, as this is something I did a lot (sorry, I’m not sure you understand – I mean A LOT) of research on before I went and I think it’s useful for all photographers to know! Also, I get to show you my behind the scenes photos which I’m very, VERY excited about.
POLARISING FILTER – Invest in a polarising filter! I cannot stress this one enough! It may look like a fairly expencive piece of glass to most people (I mean, it kind of is) but it’s the most useful fairly expencive piece of glass I own.
It basically takes the glare off your photos. Snow creates a whole lotta glare as it’s so, so white it reflects the sun massivly (which I’m sure you know if you did GCSE science, or have been skiing and have got major goggle lines). So, when your whole background is snow and you need to expose the photo for the model in the foreground, you can see how this might be an issue. A polarising filter removes polarized light whilst increasing colour saturation (a-ma-zing for blue skies). It’s a magical piece of equipment.
However, try not to over do it. You might be tempted to turn up the polarising filter because it looks so nice, but be careful because it can sometimes make skin tones look a little odd.
But overall, It’s something that just can’t really be mimicked on a computed in post, so I’d really recommend one. Here is a link to the one I bought.
BATTERIES – Make sure you have charged up extra batteries! When cold, batteries run out much, much faster than usual. Therefore, always keep a spare or two in a warm place like your inside pocket!
BACK IT UP, BACK, BACK IT UP – Bring a hard drive and back up your photos every evening. Another super duper important one. Imagine being out for 7+ hours and taking 500 photos and the next day maybe dropping your camera in the snow and your memory card malfunctions, or accidently formatting the wrong card. It’s more likely than you think!
I’ve heard so many horror stories of this happening to other photographers, I set my camera to shoot to two memory cards (so I had a backup copy of every image) and then backed up all my photos every evening (a backup of my backup) and then just didn’t format the memory cards. So I have three copies of every image. Some call me paranoid, I like to call it suitably precautious.
SUNGLASSES – The sun reflected off the snow is BLINDING! I can’t take photos with sunglasses on, but when my eyes were streaming and there was mascara everywhere we had to take little breaks to put sunglasses on in order to not permanently blind ourselves. This was particuarly hard for my model who had to keep her eyes open and not look in pain from the sun burning off her corneas. So, sunglasses are a must!
ALSO! Being out photographing and standing in the sun for 7 hours at a time – WEAR SUNCREAM! As you can see in one of the photos above, I burnt my arm really badly because I forgot that if I wear a t-shirt, the sun can get to my arms! Crazy!
This isn’t particuarly for photograpy in the snow, but always bring a lens cloth and one of those little air puffy things that blows air onto the lens (100% sure that’s what it’s called). I think I have a lens cloth in every bag I own – just in case. You never know when you might get a bit of snow on your lens, especially when you’re throwing it about for the photos!
So those are some tips for photography in the snow! I hope they might be useful to help you not go blind and lose all your photos. Which is the ideal situation to be in!