snow photography inspiration

by Amy Lucy Lockheart

There is something so enchanting about snow. The way it falls softly to the ground and covers the earth
in a giant white blanket makes everything seem so fresh and magical. But when snow is present, so is
the cold. That cold may mean that many of us decide to stay indoors where we are nice and toasty.
Taking photos of your kids outdoors in the winter can be very rewarding, so do your best to come out
of hibernation and take advantage of the beautiful winter scenery. Here are some tips to inspire you to
brave the cold and keep shooting outdoors in the winter.

Capture the snow falling

The magical mood that is created when snow is falling really cannot be replicated. Make the most of it!
Snowfall does not happen all too often in some parts of the world, so being ready to go when the snow
starts falling is important. I usually have my next snow shoot planned out in advance so that I don’t miss
any window of opportunity.

One thing to know is that the size of the flakes does make a difference in the look you will achieve.  Groups of big flakes that fall softly are my absolute favorite. Also, don’t forget to play with your aperture to find the depth of field that you like the best.

In the image below, the snowflakes were small and more difficult to see against the white, snow covered backdrop.

snow photography inspiration photo

The groups of snowflakes in the image below were very big and stand out against the dark background.

snow photography inspiration photo

Get creative

Tired of taking photos of your kids in their bulky winter jackets and snow pants? Maybe coming up with a
concept or using a prop is a good way to get the creativity flowing.

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

Use a Lensbaby

Using a Lensbaby or tilt-shift lens is a great way to stay creative when taking photos in the winter. The
way the out of focus area bends and blurs can really add to the atmosphere of outdoor winter photos.

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

Play with light

After the snow stops falling and the sun comes out is the perfect time for capturing beautiful, dramatic
light. The sun is lower in the sky during the winter, so backlighting works really well. The white snow
serves as a perfect natural reflector, so, in most cases, there is no need to haul your reflector out with
you. When light hits ice and snow that is frozen on shrubbery and trees, it looks like the whole tree is
covered in jewels. What a great photo opp!

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

Step back and get in close

Make sure you take advantage of the beautiful scenery by stepping back and capturing a lot of the environment. Then get in really close and capture the details.

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

Keep it safe

Safety is certainly my top priority when photographing my children outdoors in the winter. I have lived my whole life in the north and have a Master’s Degree in Public Health, so I know very well that safety is not something to take lightly. Almost all of my outdoor winter photos are taken when the temperature is above 25 degrees – it is chilly enough that any precipitation will fall in the form of snow, but not bitterly cold. In addition, I don’t take the kids out when it is windy. Not only is wind chill dangerous, but it is difficult to get natural expressions and have fun when the cold wind is blowing.

I always make certain that my kids are warm enough and have very quick access to a safe spot. All of the photos you see in this post were taken in a location with extremely easy access to a warm home or building (most of them were taken just steps from my house, actually). Another thing I frequently do is to dress in less clothing than my kids. So, for example, if my child wears lightweight mittens, I don’t wear any protection on my hands at all. When I start to get cold, I know it is time for us to go in and warm up.  Another idea to keep kids warm is to dress them in layers. Even when I dress my kids in a lighter coat, I make sure that they have extra warm layers beneath. Lastly, get your camera settings ready before taking your child out. All you need is a minute or two to capture some precious moments.

snow photography inspiration photo

snow photography inspiration photo

So get out there and take advantage of the beautiful winter wonderland that may be present in your own backyard. Snow and winter is an important part of my children’s life stories, and I am glad to be able to capture these important memories.

snow photography inspiration photoAmy Lucy Lockheart, Minnesota
Click Magazine Product Editor | CMU Instructor
Blog | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Mentoring | Ask a Pro
Residing in Minnesota with her husband and three children, Amy has “always had an appreciation and interest in photography, but my beautiful children inspired me to pursue photography and for that I am so grateful.” Shooting with a Nikon D4 and varying prime lenses her “first priority is capturing the fleeting moments of childhood. I love photographing my own children and showing them how much I love them through the images I create. I also enjoy capturing the connections between family members as they interact in unique locations.” Picnicking in a state park with her family or searching for vintage treasures at antique shows is how she likes to spend her day off but she also enjoys volleyball, gardening, a good book, compassionate people, and watermelon. Amy is also the instructor for one of CMU’s newest workshops, Shooting 101: First Steps With A DSLR.

Read all photography tutorials by Amy Lucy Lockheart.

 

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30 Responses to “snow photography inspiration”

  1. Jan 23 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Great post. I love the ones with blanket. I was lucky to get out to the midwest during one of their storms this year and get some pics of the kids playing. I think it might be the only chance I get this year . . . :-(

  2. Jan 23 2013 at 11:38 am #

    wonderful tips and beautiful photos, Amy! I guess this means I should wait until the wind chill rises above -20 to try these at home? ;)

  3. Jan 23 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Gorgeous work! Too bad that with the wind chill in Ohio today our area feels like -2 degrees! I wanna get out and capture some snowflakes and sunshine!

  4. Jan 23 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Love your snow work Amy Lucy!! So inspiring. Great tips :)

  5. Jan 23 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    your outdoor snow shots are my absolute favorite, Amy! Great blog post!

  6. Jan 23 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    So lovely Amy. I adore your snow shots and really enjoyed reading about your tips :)

  7. Jan 23 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    these images are all so dreamy, amy! since our houston winters don’t seem to include snow, maybe i need to plan a visit so i can try these tips out for myself! <3

  8. Daniela
    Jan 23 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Great tips and beautiful images Amy! Thank you!

  9. Jan 23 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Ooh beautiful images Amy! Great advice.

  10. Jan 23 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Love these beautiful images. Thanks for your tips and the safety reminders!

  11. Jan 23 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Thank you for the awesome insight Amy! I love your snowy images and your timing couldn’t be more perfect with snow in the forecast. I love your advice on dressing in less than your kids. Great tip!

  12. Jan 24 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Soooo beautiful! Simply stunning. Thanks for the tips!! :D

  13. Jennifer
    Jan 24 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Beautiful images! Great tips for keeping the kids safe. I was wondering if you do anything to protect your camera when it’s snowing? I’m always afriad of what the snow will do to my camera and/or lenses.

    • Jan 24 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      If the snow is heavy and wet or if I am going out for more than a minute, I will always protect my camera with either a thick plastic bag (with a hole cut out to fit the lens hood) or a LensCoat raincoat. I always shoot with my lens hood to protect water from reaching the glass. Hope that helps!

  14. Jan 25 2013 at 3:25 am #

    Great post to know how to keep your children safe, Loved the pictures too, very well clicked, Keep sharing the wonderful posts.

  15. Amanda
    Jan 26 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Loved this article!! I’m in MN too and it’s difficult for me right now to get out there and feel inspired – it’s just too stinkin’ cold! And we don’t have much snow near the Cities so it’s not even all that pretty out there. Enough complaining…..I just got a Lensbaby so I’m going to buck up and give her a try – today! :)
    Thanks for the inspiration!!
    Amanda

  16. Barb Paa
    Jan 26 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Beautiful images Amy. Thanks for the tips:) We are expecting snow tomorrow so I will be getting out there!

  17. liz
    Jan 27 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Hi Amy, great photos! How do you capture your snow in such a dreamy white color? I’ve tried playing with exposures and post processing, but am never satisfied with the color of my snow shots.

    • Feb 09 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Thank you! I wish I had a secret trick to share with you, but all I do is try to make sure my white balance and exposure is correct.

  18. Jan 29 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    These are all so beautiful

  19. Jan 31 2013 at 10:37 am #

    you’re amazing. that is all. oh and these are BREATHTAKING!!! as soon as we get some more snow (fingers crossed!!) I’ll be back to re-read your fabulous advice, Amy!

  20. Feb 01 2013 at 8:07 am #

    Great tips! It is snowing this morning and I am excited to get outside to snap some pics! If only I could find the strength to come out from under these blankets….hmmm :)

  21. Lindsay
    Feb 08 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    How do you protect your camera in the snow?

    • Feb 09 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Lindsay! If the snow is heavy and wet or if I am going out for more than a minute, I will always protect my camera with either a thick plastic bag (with a hole cut out to fit the lens hood) or a LensCoat raincoat. I always shoot with my lens hood to protect water from reaching the glass. Hope that helps!

  22. Danielle
    Feb 08 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    Wow, such GORGEOUS images, Amy!! Thank you for the fantastic tips!. You have inspired me to get out there now that we finally have some snow. :-D. Beautiful work as always. <3

  23. Feb 09 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Thank you all for the very kind comments! xoxo

  24. Feb 24 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    What beautiful photos! I loved all your tips too. Your article caught my attention because of the snow…something that’s all I see right now since I’m in Minnesota too :)

  25. Feb 26 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Oh wow the girl is such a cutie! Little blond angel in the snow. Beautiful shots!

  26. Nov 28 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Hi there Amy:

    First off the photos are beautiful. Sadly I’ve never really been the hero at when it comes to snow photography of any kind. Of course I have my good days and bad days but all and all —- well, it’s best to avoid talking about how depressing my efforts can sometimes be. :)

    Many times over the years I have planned the sets in advance as you have suggested but as the storm sets in it can often be hazardous for the client to get to me and the whole thing becomes a wash in the end anyway. When I do get good results it’s always after the fact. Once the storm is over, no flakes to be seen falling and there’s just a clean white blanket covering the land. I really would like to get the types of shots you have here but luck and or timing has never been on my side.

    Oh well, Winter is here again and it’s time to see what sort of results I can get once more. Wish me luck and thank you for sharing.

    Barry

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to take better pictures for Christmas: 6 online tutorials - Dec 19 2013

    […] inspiration and tips on creating beautiful images of your children playing in the snow? Read Amy Lucy Lockhart‘s very cool post at Clickin’ Moms. Her photos are exquisite, and I love the tilt-shift […]

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