Cold weather photography tips (and wet weather too!)

cold weather photography tips from Orange PhotographyHere in our home base of Northern California it doesn’t always get too crazy with the weather. But our winters are rainy and it gets cold especially when we are up in Tahoe and the mountains.  That’s when cold weather photography tips can come in handy like we’ve outlined below.  Here we’ve compiled some tips we’ve learned over the years to share with you as you deal with cold and wet weather wherever you are!

  1. In extremely cold weather, remember how condensation works!
    – If you’re going back into your warm cabin/room and out of the cold, condensation can wreak havoc on your photography gear.  One easy tip is to make sure to give your gear time to adjust by putting it in airtight Zip-loc type bags.  It’s smart to leave your gear in these for a couple hours to be safe as the condensation will go on the bags and not your gear.  
    – Additionally, you’ll probably wanna take your memory cards out before you go inside so you can start working on editing, processing and backing up your shots.
  2. Batteries don’t last as long in cold weather so keep them warm and bring extras!  We usually just keep them in pants pockets or other warmer areas so they are warmed up and ready to go when you have to swap out.
  3. If you’re photographing in snowy conditions or where there’s a lot already on the ground, remember that it’s reflecting a lot of light so your exposures may need to be adjusted.  Basically you’ll want to overexpose a bit to compensate for all that light being thrown back at the lens.  With digital this is pretty easy to check since you’ll be able to check your shots on the camera itself.

Since here in the San Francisco Bay Area we don’t get as much snow, we’ve added some tips on rainy weather shooting too.

  1. You know those Zip-loc type bags we mentioned before? It’s good to keep some in your camera bag.  Worst case, you can rip out a hole and poke your lens through it and let the rest of the bag cover up your lens/body to shoot in inclement weather.  Most pro level DSLRs have some sort of weather sealing so you won’t really need to worry too much about light spray and sprinkles, but more when it really gets wet out.
  2. Even better, pack a few rain hood/sleeves in your bags.  We always have at least one option in our bags and the inexpensive OP/Tech ones work great but obviously there are higher end options available.

Other tips include general things like dressing warmly in layers and having fingerless gloves (or the super nerdy index and thumb exposed type gloves (Aquatech makes them as does Freehands).

Got any other tips for cold weather photography?  Post them in our comments section below!

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About the Author:

Co-founder of Orange Photography. Pinball enthusiast, bike rider, beer lover.

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