That gorgeous falling snow prompts many of us in Virginia to want to capture it with our cameras. So here are a few tips to help, and as always, our associates at all our Richmond Camera stores, including here in Midlothian, are happy to talk more to you about ideas and suggestions!
1. Exposure Compensation
Often, the pure white scene can 'trick' your camera's automatic exposure into making the scene darker than it really is. That's because the camera thinks 'hey, this probably shouldn't be this bright and white, so let me darken it a bit.' That's because the camera has no idea it's SUPPOSED to be bright and white. So a common thing to do is to use 'Exposure Compensation' on your camera to dial up the brightness a bit to compensate.
2. Oh those batteries!
When shooting in colder temperatures, your batteries will not last as long before needing a recharge. So we definitely recommend not just carrying an extra battery, but keep it in a shirt pocket close to your chest, where your body heat can keep it warmer! Also, remember that rechargeable batteries become less effective over the years, so it may be a good time to think about replacing one of your batteries if you've noticed it doesn't seem to charge as much as it did 2-3 years ago.
3. Not the flashiest feature...
Many cameras (especially the higher-end cameras) have weather sealing that's appropriate for light snow conditions. Even though it's not one of the most exciting of camera features, weather sealing not only lets you shoot in more interesting weather conditions, but it also reduces the need for your camera to be repaired or cleaned, by keeping unwanted 'stuff' out of your camera bodies and lenses. That being said, it's a good idea to use a versatile lens when shooting in the snow, so you aren't changing lenses and potentially introducing water (snow) into your camera. If you DO need to change a lens when the snow is falling, please cover your camera body completely as you change the lenses...keep that camera body opening nice and protected! Note: If your camera isn't weather sealed, we do sell rain jackets that are great for protecting your gear from the elements.
4. Tricky White Balance
Depending on your exact scenario, setting the white balance can be tricky in snowy Virginia. You may find that leaving the camera set to 'Auto White Balance' leaves some of your images appearing more blue than you'd like. While you can always use a gray card (we sell them in our stores), another common approach is to set the white balance to 'Cloudy' in your camera settings. It may not be as perfect as the gray card approach, but it's a quick and easy approach!
By the way, if you haven't used a gray card before, stop by one of our stores and we'll show you a gray card and explain how it works! And if you have even more questions, you may even want to sign up for a 1-on-1 class with one of our associates!
5. And always, always, be safe out there!
* And if the cold is just too much for you, consider some indoor photographic fun, such as playing with some food photography, or maybe organizing old family photos, slides, and negatives. It's a great time to make a family project out of organizing old images, and preserving them for future generations.
- Brian Clary, Store Manager, Richmond Camera Midlothian