Photo tips: Keep snow white

Here are five tricks to help capture a pristine snow scene. From Popular Photography Magazine's book, "The Complete Photo Manual."
home photography, cameras, winter, tech, photography
Keep Snow White MorgueFile

It's a sad, familiar story: You spot a pristine snow scene and shoot it, only to discover later that your sparkling snow has turned into gray sand. The culprit: your light meter. It seeks medium gray and always underexposes snow. (The same problem occurs when you shoot pale beach sand.) Here are five tricks to solve the problem.

METER THE SNOW.

Then manually set exposure 1.5 to 2 stops brighter than its reading.

CHOOSE YOUR STOPS.

Set your exposure-compensation feature at 1.5 to 2 stops, and then lock it.

FIND SOMETHING NEUTRAL.

Aim at a midtoned rock or gray card and lock the exposure.

CONSULT YOUR DSLR'S HISTOGRAM.

If there's no gap between the image tones and pure white, your snowscape will blow out into blank white.

REMEMBER THE CLASSIC "SUNNY 16" RULE.

On bright days, at f/16, set your shutter speed to 1/ISO. Moderately overcast? Increase this exposure by 1 stop. Heavy clouds? Increase by 2 stops. In shade, go up by 3 full stops.


get more fromexperts