10 top tips for winter photography and protecting your kit
Some of us have already felt the first frost of the year and temperatures are heading down on the slippery slope towards winter and the inclement weather that comes with it. For those with an interest in amateur photography, this time of year can signal the beginning of the end, with many choosing to limit their shoots to the creature comforts provided by the great indoors. But if you're willing to brave the elements, winter can bring plenty of fantastic photo opportunities, with beautiful, atmospheric landscapes and family fun in the snow that will look great printed onto canvas.
One problem though is protecting your investment when you've spent money on your camera kit - but as long as you're careful, you don't need to let the winter weather put a stop to your photography. Here are our top tips for keeping your camera safe in the wet and wild weather.
- Use a UV filter - this is a great way of adding a layer of protection to your valuable lens and it won't impact on the quality of your images.
- Warm back up slowly - the cold weather won't necessarily do much harm on its own, but transferring your camera into the warm too quickly might cause damage. If you can, leave your camera in the car, porch or a utility room before you bring it into a centrally heated house.
- Bring spares - battery performance can be compromised in the cold, so prepare a spare. It's also worth taking a spare memory card, or finding one that's been specifically designed to cope with wet or cold weather.
- Keep your cap dry - a wet lens cap could create problem condensation when used, so keep yours in a pocket, wrapping it in a soft cloth if you can.
- Straps and gloves - cold, numb fingers aren't known for their grip, so don't forget to use your camera’s strap at all times. Invest in some fingerless gloves that also have mitt covers too - you'll be able to use the camera functions easily while also having the option to warm your hands up between shots.
- Shooting snow - if the white fluffy stuff is the object of your arty eye, make sure you experiment with your white balance settings to avoid discolouration.
- Filters - these can be invaluable when the skies are dull, but you need to keep them dry and clean. Include a padded bag in your winter kit, so you can carry filters and lenses in a safe and dry environment while you're not using them.
- Bags and bands - if it's wet or threatening to rain, pack a carrier bag and a couple of strong elastic bands. Use them to cover your lens and protect it from damp or drizzly conditions.
- Plastic sheeting/groundsheet - if the ground is cold, wet or covered in snow, you don't want to risk putting your camera bag directly on it. A piece of plastic or a groundsheet is one of the most important items in your winter camera kit! It can also be used to kneel or sit on for lower shots.
- Soft paintbrush - if it's snowing or you drop your camera on a fresh covering, you need to act quickly before the wet gets into the workings. A paintbrush is perfect for dusting off flakes, because it can reach into crevices and crannies and won’t scratch or damage your camera.