Photographing in winter in difficult weather conditions

Great winter photos in all weather conditions

The best tips for taking photos in winter

Whether you're hiking in the snow, sledding or skiing, it can be quite a challenge to take photos in cold, wet, snowy or foggy conditions. However, these weather conditions offer excellent opportunities for atmospheric, detailed or dramatic shots. So, grab your camera, dress for the weather and head out into nature!

We'll show you how to capture beautiful winter shots with your camera, even in difficult weather conditions.

Protect your photo equipment in winter

Whether you want to shoot with your smartphone, SLR or digital camera, you should give your equipment time to acclimatise before you start. Carry your camera close to your body or in a protected bag. This is especially important when you go back into a warm room later. This will prevent condensation from forming on and sometimes inside the camera and lens.

While most modern smartphone models can withstand a certain amount of snow and raindrops without any problems, a digital camera and an SLR camera need a little more protection in adverse weather conditions. A good way to protect the lens from rain and snowflakes is to use a lens hood and UV filters. Special rain covers protect your equipment from water. You can simply put them over your camera. If the weather catches you by surprise, you can also use a plastic bag. To do this, cut a hole in the bag and attach it to the camera with a strap. Remember to dry your equipment with a clean microfibre cloth after shooting to prevent water from getting into the housing.


Don't change camera lenses when it's raining or wet. Even under an umbrella, moisture can get inside the camera when changing lenses. A zoom lens is therefore the better choice in bad weather. This way you can adapt to different situations.

Useful tips and gadgets for great photos

Especially in adverse weather conditions, the lighting conditions are not the best. That's why it's always a good idea to have a small tripod or a selfie stick with you. This way, you can keep the camera or smartphone steady even when taking long exposures.

When planning your outdoor shoot, for example a snowy hike, it's a good idea to take a look at your weather app. The weather forecast will help you estimate what equipment you need for you and your camera. Also, don't put yourself in the pathway of an approaching storm.

Keep in mind that the battery power of your camera or smartphone will decrease in the cold. A spare battery and a power bank in your warm jacket pocket will save you from a flat battery.


If it's too cold outside to take off your gloves, you can also use the voice control on your smartphone to open the camera app and take a selfie. Special gloves that allow you to operate touchscreens are also useful.

Subject ideas for atmospheric winter shots

The biggest challenge when photographing in winter in bad weather conditions is the lack of light. High-contrast shots are very difficult to achieve. However, there are great subject ideas that guarantee you great pictures even in fog, snowfall and cloudy skies.

Photographing snow flurries in front of a group of people

Take advantage of the weather and set the scene. To capture snow flurries with your camera, it is best to choose a short exposure time (e.g. 1/800 seconds). Make sure that you photograph the snowflakes against a dark background, such as a forest or a group of people. Depending on the brightness of the surroundings, you can increase the ISO value or set the aperture lower to brighten up the picture. However, the ISO value should not be too high. The higher the ISO, the more your image will be artificially brightened and the more noise will be created.

High-contrast images even on cloudy days
Photo by PhotoAttractive /Getty Images

If the sky is cloudy, it is difficult to take high-contrast pictures of landscapes. Take advantage of this effect and put your loved ones in focus. If the sky blurs with the landscape, colourfully dressed people will look particularly good against this backdrop. For example, place your loved ones in front of a snow-covered landscape and choose an exposure time of 1/50 seconds on your camera. With this exposure time, you can take great pictures without a tripod. If you are taking photos with your smartphone, choose the portrait mode to take pictures of people in front of snow and clouds.

You can also capture great moments in fog with your camera. Especially landscape shots get a mystical and magical touch. Make use of this effect and think of a little story to go with your photo. For example, you can take a picture of an empty street at dusk. The fog will make you think that the road leads to nowhere. Trees surrounded by fog also give off a sense of mystery. When taking photos, make sure you leave the flash off.

For tips on taking great photos on the ski slopes, read our article on shooting in motion.

Atmospheric winter photography in fog


Modern smartphones also have the option of digitally adjusting the ISO value, the aperture and the exposure time. Use this option to take atmospheric photos with your smartphone.

Adverse weather conditions in winter are ideal for taking great detail shots. Take your time and explore your surroundings while sledding or hiking through the snow. Change your perspective sometimes. For example, photograph frozen leaves and flowers or icicles hanging from the roof of a hut. Choose the smallest possible aperture for such close-ups. This will brighten the image and blur the background while your subject is in focus.

Capture your winter moments and keep your memories alive

If you've followed all our tips for taking winter photos in harsh weather conditions, you'll be able to capture atmospheric moments. Let them live on forever and create a chic photo book with the coolest shots. With ifolor you can make your photo book especially individual: Discover the numerous templates and designs or create your own layout to set the scene for your photos. A chic wall decoration in XXL format also offers you enough space to perfectly showcase your coolest shots. Especially large-format landscape photos will make a grand entrance in your home.

Immortalise your winter moments and keep your memories alive

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