Photographing in the Snow

A lot of people LOVE winter. Either you ski or snowboard up at Big White or Silver Star, or just enjoy the white stuff. As for me, I prefer summer and all that goes along with it. With that said, I have learned to enjoy a few days in the snow. I have three dogs, so I have no choice but to get out there on the many trails here in Kelowna and trudge my way through it. As I do that, I can’t help but to appreciate the beauty of a crisp winter morning in the fresh-fallen snow. It’s so beautiful that I can’t help but want to take photos in it – quickly, mind you – so as not to have myself or my clients freeze their buns off! So, I thought I would put a post together about how I shoot in the snow with a few pointers for those of you who would also like to give it a go.

Last year I had some friends and past clients meet me for a fun winter scene shoot. I decided to do a couple of different locations – one in the forest and one in the city.

The first location with in the forest near Knox Mountain. I love natural settings for snowy scenes because it really shows the snow the best in my opinion. It also allows me to get a great scenic shot for the family. This first shot is of them just walking through the snow. I don’t necessarily need their faces showing as it is more about them hanging out as a family.

Family walking in snow

Another thing I like to do is to ask my families to wear layers so that they can quickly take their winter coats off for a quick shot where they are less “bulky”. I also ask my clients to wear bright colours so that they stand out nicely from the monochromatic background…

Child in snowy woods smiling

One important thing to remember when it is snowing out is to take your camera OFF of Auto Focus. The reason for this is that your camera will most likely focus on the snow falling between you and your subject, resulting in a focal length that is too short. You will have a subject that is out of focus, like in this shot. See how the snowflakes are in focus? Not so great… ?

Example of out-of-focus photography

Here are a couple more shots where the family is in focus with a beautiful scene around them.

example of in-focus photography - family in snow second example of in-focus photography - family in snow


The second location I went to was downtown Kelowna. I especially like the area between the art gallery and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. I love urban winter settings as they provide a lot of variety.

winter family portrait in snow winter family portrait in front of Rotary Center for the Arts couple leaning on a wall in snow

Snow also lends itself as a great prop too! Getting clients to throw it at each other or blow it at my camera always makes a fun shot…

Woman blowing snow at camera woman blowing snow at camera 2 couple kissing between children as snow falls

If it’s snowing out and you are in an urban setting, avoid having snowflakes in your shot by looking for places with an overhang that can give you cover from the snow. This way you avoid those sometimes pesky snowflakes from getting in the way.Kelowna winter family portrait under awning

I also like getting up high above my clients to use the snow to create a clean white backdrop behind them.

two children in snowsuits

But most of all I just like winter scenes as a fun, fresh place to capture my client’s spontaneous laughter and fun loving antics.

Couple laughing and hugging in snow Snow-43

Thanks to both of these awesome families for spending time with me in the snow! Aviva Studios – Kelowna portrait photographer / photography serving the Okanagan region including Kelowna, Vernon, Lake Country, Penticton, Kamloops, Peachland, Summerland, Osoyoos and more!