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Winter & Cold Weather Photography Tips

Use A Sealable Plastic Bag

Ok, so this might seem a bit weird. But this is one of the most important winter photography tips in this list, so I’ve put it first to ensure you properly protect your camera in winter from the cold.

If you’re using your camera in particularly cold weather, you’re going to want a bag (or bags) that you can fit your camera gear (i.e., camera body, lenses) in that has an airtight seal – something like a zip-loc freezer bag.

Did you know, when you move from a very cold place to somewhere warmer, there is a risk that moisture will condense on or inside your camera equipment? Moisture can wreak havoc on the internal components of many cameras, so protecting your camera from condensation is important.

To prevent this, you should seal your camera equipment inside the freezer bag along with some of that cold winter air before heading inside. Be sure to remove the battery and memory card before putting it in the bag if you want to begin importing photos and recharging batteries immediately. Once inside, leave your camera in the sealed bag, allowing it to warm up slowly with the bag preventing any moisture from reaching the camera.

Leave your camera in the bag for a couple of hours to warm up to room temperature, before taking it out – in the meantime you could be importing your photos to your computer, or just warming yourself up after your winter photography session!

Wear good gloves

One of the big challenges of cold weather photography is just trying to use the camera in those sub zero temperatures. Dials, buttons, filters – all these things that are easy to deal with when shooting in normal conditions, all become very challenging when the temperatures drop. The right pair of gloves can be key in this situation

There are a variety of gloves designed for winter photography and cold weather conditions, which vary in their approach, from fingerless solutions to gloves with removable sections. One option is fingerless gloves. These can be great– allowing you maximum dexterity of your fingertips while keeping the rest of your hands warm. Otherwise, you’re going to have to be pulling those toasty warm gloves off and on to operate your camera. I recommend avoiding fingerless gloves except for mildly cold temperatures.

I recommend getting a pair of gloves with fingertips that flip or fold back. This allows you to access buttons and dials on the camera, and your phone. Some have snaps or magnets to hold the fingertips in place until you need to put them back on.

Take spare batteries (and keep them warm!)

Most of us know cold weather kills batteries by causing them to drain faster than usual — even when not in use, they’ll still lose their charge.

To avoid being in the middle of a shoot with a spent battery, make sure you carry spare batteries. Also, keep them in an inside pocket as close to your body as possible. Your body heat will help protect them from discharging and keep you shooting for longer. You should also keep your main batteries warm in this way until you need to use your camera.

If you can, I’d also recommend having your camera inside your coat and close to your body, but this isn’t always practical for more bulky equipment. However, if you’re using a smaller camera system, a point and shoot camera, or even a smartphone, then keeping it close and protected can help.