Playing in the snow with my family and friends is one of my favorite memories of childhood. We didn’t get snow often at my house, but those snow days where we got to stay home from school and spend the day building snowmen and sledding down our driveway were so special. Watching my own children enjoy the magic of a snow day is even better, and one of my favorite things to photograph.
Snow creates such a beautiful scene it can seem impossible to take a “bad” photo, however, it can be challenging too. With these simple tips you can elevate your picture taking game and take better photos of your kids playing in the snow this winter!
Photograph their excitement before even stepping outside.
There is nothing quite like waking up and finding that it has snowed outside. I love to start documenting my snow day adventures with the moment I tell the kids to look outside.
As they take in the magical scene out their window snap a few photographs before they head outside.
Consider the background (avoid all white).
The blanket of white snow is so pretty and serene. However, if we photograph our children with just the snow all around them it can be hard to tell it is actually snow.
Instead add depth by including some of the trees (or fence, etc) in the background. This will help your subject stand out while still showing them playing in the snow. This might mean adjusting your angle to get down low in the snow! Play around with it and see what changing your angle does for the background.
Give them space to play and capture the story.
Let your kids play, sit back and watch the story unfold. This is not a time to direct your kids or make them perform. Instead, take a moment and observe how they play. Are they pushing trucks, building a snowman, or maybe teaching their little brother which snow is good to eat?
By observing and being intentional with what you’re capturing you will end up with photos that better tell the story of your day in the snow over a simple, stand here and smile at me shot.
Photograph the environment.
While you’re observing the kids play and waiting for your story, step back and capture more of the setting or environment. Show off that gorgeous, snow covered landscape around with your kids playing in a small corner of the frame.
Bonus Tip: Let them hit you with a snowball.
Okay, so this sounds crazy as you’re holding camera gear, right?! But put on your longest lens (I’m using a 135mm lens for the photo below), and told Milo he could hit me with a snowball. I asked him to wait, let me get set and I snapped this photo as he prepared. His smile was huge and genuine as he was so excited to hit mom with a big snowball!! I snapped the photo quickly, and covered my camera before he threw the snowball.
Of course if your kids are older and/or have amazing aim, you may not want to try this one out or ensure you’re standing far enough back.
Once you grab the photo, put your camera somewhere safe and enjoy an all out family snow fight.
These tips are ones you can use with your DSLR or smart phone, so don’t let the type of camera you have stop you from taking photos.
If your “fancy” DSLR camera is too intimidating, join me for my next DSLR Basics Workshop. Together we break down the myth that it’s too complicated to shoot in manual mode. In the one day, in-person workshop you learn how to set up your camera for success, better understand how focus works, and how to use aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create beautiful photos. Click the link below to learn more and register for your spot.