Inside a blue-green ice cave.

OUTDOORS

5 tips for shooting in cold conditions

Snow, frost and ice all make for spectacular winter scenes. But most cameras are only designed to operate from 0°C or 32°F, so you'll need to be careful when you're taking photographs outside in sub-zero conditions.

Shooting in snowy and icy climates is often difficult and it may also damage your gear, so here are our practical tips to get you through the colder months

1. Use a tripod

Getting a steady shot won't be easy if your hands are shaking from the cold. A lightweight and portable tripod will help stabilise your camera so you can shoot with confidence. Just remember not to touch the tripod with your bare hands if you're in sub-zero conditions, as you may 'burn' your skin.

If you're an avid winter photographer, Canon Ambassador and winter sports photographer Richard Walch recommends investing in special climbing gloves. This handy piece of gear will allow you to expose your fingertips to shoot and then protect your hands between shots.

2. Take extra batteries

The cold weather will drain your batteries faster than normal. So keep your camera and batteries in your bag, where they'll be warmer for longer. Also, remember to pack twice as many batteries as usual, so you keep on capturing those great shots.

Related articles
A snowboarder in red trousers walks through the snow, carrying his board, with his back to the photographer.

OUTDOORS

Winter holiday photography tips and tricks

Professional sports photographer Richard Walch shares his expert tips for better winter photography, from choosing a camera to the best settings.

Alan Rowan holds a Canon SX740 HS camera, with a lake and hills in the background.

OUTDOORS

How the Munro Moonwalker shoots mountain views

From colourful macros to misty mountain tops, here's how Alan Rowan uses the Canon SX740 HS to get the perfect nature shot.

Two cross-country skiers travel along the narrow spine of a mountain, using their poles.

ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY

"Always go the extra mile for your picture"

Extreme sports photographer Richard Walch on what drives him to capture his jaw-dropping skiing and snowboarding shots.

Scattered lumps of ice in a still, reflective lake.

3. Turn rings manually

If you're using your camera outside and you haven't turned the focus ring manually or used the autofocus for a while, then your lens focus and zoom rings may 'freeze'. To stop this, make sure you keep your camera wrapped up and in a good quality bag when you are not using it, or cover it up if shooting in snowfall. Alternatively, you can just turn the focus and zoom ring frequently using the AF motor, or do it manually.

4. Watch out for condensation

Bringing your camera in from the cold to a warm environment will cause condensation which can damage your equipment. Richard Walch offers this advice: "When you go for lunch, either you or the backpack will stay outside. If you go from cold to warm and try to check your images, it's game over. Your camera will fog up, your lens will fog up and you will hurt your camera. You need to keep your camera in one temperature zone."

Seal cub sitting against a snowy background.

5. Use your lens hood

In falling or blowing snow, a lens hood can help prevent snow settling on the lens, Richard Walch explains. "The lens hood becomes tremendously important to make sure the flying snow doesn't hit the lens. You get away with a lot if you use a good lens hood." So keep your lens hood on, and carry at least a couple of lens cloths with you to dry the glass before you put your camera back in its bag.

Related Articles



Get Inspired is your key source of useful photography tips, buyer’s guides and insightful interviews – everything you need to find the best camera or the best printer, and make your next creative idea come to life.

See all articles

Related Products