As I pouted inside Saturday, dreading having to venture out into the frigid air for an engagement shoot, I couldn’t help but think about happier days in the snow. I have great memories–many in the snow. I’m glad I’m not with my dear friends Amanda and Mark and other past Bostonian Clients who now have to brave the Boston blizzard. Many people, however, find that when they take photos of the snow, it looks grey rather than a brilliant white. That’s because eyes don’t react to light in the same way a camera does. Today’s cameras use built-in light meters that detect reflected light and then they automatically use a default setting otherwise known as 12% or 18% gray. When shooting in the snow, the camera sees too much of it and compensates by making it darker. The underexposure is good for getting bright colors, but makes snow gray (and no one wants to eat gray snow).
I find that the best way to capture the snow is to use manual settings. You can decide to override the level at which the light meter thinks it should be shooting, slow the shutter speed, or open the aperture; you want to meter for the snow and overexpose. So the next time you want to photograph the pure white, wonderful snow, think of these tips provided to you by your friendly Philadelphia Photojournalist and tune in every Tuesday for more from Joe G.