With the change of the seasons, comes the change in light. Shorter days in winter combined with changes in weather can make working with natural light a bit more challenging. Being stuck indoors for days at a time can really have an affect on your creativity if you crave beautiful golden light, but it doesn’t have to. Winter presents itself with new opportunities to master your skills.
Our contributors are sharing their own tips for taking amazing photos in winter (even when they’re stuck inside).
- No.01Courtney Slazinik
As a photographer you either love to photograph in winter or feel discouraged and put your camera on a shelf. Personally, I find the challenge of photographing in the winter to be inspiring.
You are forced to work with less light, typically indoors and may feel restricted by your gear. Take advantage of this challenge. Embrace it instead of shying away from it.
I found that working with the low light that comes with the shorter winter days can really push your creativity. Place your subject near a window but really play with the shadows. Let your shadows be a part of the image that people notice and are drawn too. You can do this by only exposing your subject and even maybe slightly underexposing your image.
Feel free to take it into an editing software and darken up the shadows a bit. It is a fun way to play with different types of light while still challenging yourself when you are stuck inside for these cold winter months.
- No.02Maria Jung
I may be in the small minority of people who really loves working in winter. When it’s cold outside and you’re forced to shoot indoors, you can really focus on mastering indoor natural light photography, but it’s also the perfect time to learn how to use your flash, OCF, and other continuous light sources.
Instead of trying to emulate the portraits I shoot during warmer weather, I focus on embracing the shadows and using my flash to help bring a little light into a scene that might be otherwise extremely dark.
A little bit of fill flash is helpful if you’d rather not slow your shutter or shoot wide open.
Read more: Off Camera Flash Photography for Beginners
- No.03Beth Deschamp
Winter is actually one of my favorite times to photograph because, despite the reduced amount of daylight, my home seems brighter when the sun is up. All the leaves from our surrounding trees fall off, bringing in more light to my home and removing color casts from green and orange trees that usually filter through my windows.
During the winter, I find it helpful to really watch the light in my home and photograph during the brightest times. And if it is a rather gloomy day, raising my ISO is a great way to bring more light into my camera.
Remember, snow acts as a wonderful natural reflector and can make your home really bright. So open up those window coverings and get your camera out!”
- No.04Allison Jacobs
Living in Southern California, I don’t experience a traditional winter with snow. But, we do experience shorter days with less sunlight. One way I take advantage of this is by making more visits to the beach in the winter.
Because most of the tourists have headed home, the beaches are less crowded, parking is easier, and the sun sets earlier in the day. These factors make it the perfect time to practice new skills like using a slow shutter speed or bringing a tripod for landscape photos (without having to navigate crowds or clone people out of a photo).
There are also some pretty amazing fall to winter time sunsets here that differ from summertime sunsets. Try visiting some places close to your home that you typically reserve for other seasons to see how you can photographically challenge yourself.
You could even do a project where you photograph a nearby location once each season, including winter when most people tend to spend more time inside!
Read more: 3 Ways to Stay Inspired in the Winter Months
- No.05Melissa Haugen
With winter weather leaving me fewer daylight hours and often less than ideal conditions to shoot outside, I’ve had to learn how to get creative indoors. During those long, dreary months, I find myself frequently playing with artificial light.
I look for ways to use it to illuminate my scene, create dramatic shadows, and even isolate my subjects. With kids, using things like glow sticks and flashlights can be a fun source of light. Looking for ways to enhance the minimal light, such as using reflections, can help brighten a scene.
I don’t leave the artificial lights confined to the evening hours though. Occasionally, I’ll even enhance the daylight coming in the room by putting lights in the windows.
Have fun and push yourself to find some new light sources this winter!
Read More: Low Light Photography Tips