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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> night shots in the snow
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01/16/2007 08:35:05 PM · #1
Hi everyone! I'm getting married next month in Breckenridge, CO, and I'm expecting there will be snow (at least on the ground, if not falling). The ceremony will be held after sunset, so the lighting will be tricky, at best. Any suggestions on getting the lighting correct with being outside in the snow, in the dark (or at least dusk) using a flash? (I'll be setting up the camera and doing self portraits, as we are eloping and not planning on having a photographer there). Any help would be great!
01/16/2007 08:39:39 PM · #2
Soooo let me get this straight.... you're doing self portraits.... in the dark..... in the snow!?!?!?!?

Good luck with THAT!!!!

I'm anxious to see the advice you get on this one... Me thinks "tricky at best" may be an understatement.
01/16/2007 08:45:43 PM · #3
Originally posted by Palmetto_Pixels:

Soooo let me get this straight.... you're doing self portraits.... in the dark..... in the snow!?!?!?!?

Good luck with THAT!!!!

I'm anxious to see the advice you get on this one... Me thinks "tricky at best" may be an understatement.


yea, in a wedding dress! (all white I'm assuming)

sounds like a memorable evening :)

Seriously though, snow can be tricky to shoot during the day. You're talking about it snowing but I'm assuming the ceremony will be indoors... so what kinds of shots are you imagining you'd like to get?

oh, and congratulations :)
01/16/2007 08:48:47 PM · #4
If you are outdoors and it is snowing and you use a flash, every snow flake between you and hubby will be a giant white blown out streak. Very tricky.
01/16/2007 08:49:13 PM · #5
ohhhh....congrats too!
01/16/2007 08:55:54 PM · #6
Originally posted by TommyMoe21:

If you are outdoors and it is snowing and you use a flash, every snow flake between you and hubby will be a giant white blown out streak. Very tricky.


Well, you could go with off camera radio controlled lights to help reduce that.
01/16/2007 08:58:45 PM · #7
I'm a bit confused as to why you would want outdoor shots at night in the Colorado snow anyway. It'll be freezing and after the sun goes down it'll likely look most like a snapshot of you, hubby and some glowing snowflakes anyway.

Take the shots indoors and then take the outdoor scenic shots before and after the wedding during the day.
01/16/2007 09:00:47 PM · #8
I long exposure with NO flash might be kinda pretty!

ETA: Just try not to shiver! ;-)

Message edited by author 2007-01-16 21:01:11.
01/16/2007 09:05:09 PM · #9
I've shot a few night weddings outdoors in the snow..they all turned out beautiful but then again I wasn't taking them of myself!!! It's true that the snow flakes will be more prominent in each picture (if it's snowing that is..of course) but i've never had them come out as blown-out streaks, more like beautiful dancing stars! hahah okay, maybe not THAT cool but still cool looking. If you can manage a few shots while it's dusk instead of totally night it'd be much easier. When it's dusk and you use a flash you can still get a lot of detail in the background without much fuss. BUT if you wait till it's totally night time and you use a flash you will most likely just light up the subject (you guys in this case) and get zero detail in the background - just total blackness.

01/16/2007 09:07:09 PM · #10
Thanks for all the congrats!!!

Actually, we are planning on getting married outside - maybe even while in the sleigh, that's still left to be determined. I guess I didn't explain it all completely, I'll actually be "setting up" the shots/camera settings and my mom will be taking the pictures. My parents are going with us b/c my father is a pastor and will be marrying us. So...does that help any at all? I think we are planning on leaving out in the sleigh around 5pm or so, so I'm assuming the lighting will be a challenge. It may or may not be snowing at the time. Oh...and to add a little more intrigue, we may have some candlelight.

Does any of that help? Is this even doable at all????
01/16/2007 09:09:57 PM · #11
Originally posted by GoldBerry:

I've shot a few night weddings outdoors in the snow..they all turned out beautiful but then again I wasn't taking them of myself!!! It's true that the snow flakes will be more prominent in each picture (if it's snowing that is..of course) but i've never had them come out as blown-out streaks, more like beautiful dancing stars! hahah okay, maybe not THAT cool but still cool looking. If you can manage a few shots while it's dusk instead of totally night it'd be much easier. When it's dusk and you use a flash you can still get a lot of detail in the background without much fuss. BUT if you wait till it's totally night time and you use a flash you will most likely just light up the subject (you guys in this case) and get zero detail in the background - just total blackness.


I'd really, really like to talk to you and get some more details if you don't mind. Could you either email me at sweetmissbehaving@gmail.com or email me and give me your phone number and we could set up a time to chat on the phone?

We still have about 3 weeks or so for me to "prepare", but the problem with that is I live in South Carolina and we very rarely get snow, so practice is out of the picture - no pun intended!
01/16/2007 09:20:22 PM · #12
Another thing I just thought about...

Is there a filter that you can use while taking snow pictures (daytime, of course)?
01/16/2007 09:29:15 PM · #13
Just noticed this thread, and though I may not have anything really useful to add, I do have two things:
-I find it really funny to see a South Carolina Gal on here asking about how to take pictures in the snow. :) I'm still driving around with the top down on my convertible!

More importantly:
-Congrats on the wedding! Here's hoping for many years of true happiness for you both! :)
01/16/2007 09:35:39 PM · #14
Thanks a bunch!!! And...btw...I'm still riding around CHS topless, too (convertible)! :)
01/16/2007 09:44:13 PM · #15
Originally posted by Sunshyne:

Actually, we are planning on getting married outside - maybe even while in the sleigh, that's still left to be determined. I guess I didn't explain it all completely, I'll actually be "setting up" the shots/camera settings and my mom will be taking the pictures.


I would think that you'll have more pressing matters on your mind than setting up the shots. (maybe the whole getting married thing?)

I remember a thread on here not too long ago about a guy who had his photographer cancel at the last min. Things worked out for him, though. . .

If I remember, it was ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Bear_Music that stepped up and helped out. Any DPCer's out there in CO that would be willing to help out a sweet (I'm assuming, of course :) ) Southern Girl with some very challenging wedding photography?
01/16/2007 09:45:29 PM · #16
I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet:
make sure you shoot in RAW, so that whatever funky light conditions you come across, you have a lot more chance of fixing it in post processing.
01/16/2007 09:47:04 PM · #17
I'd do it but I'm stuck on a snowie island myself :-)
01/16/2007 09:50:39 PM · #18
Originally posted by Megatherian:

It'll be freezing and after the sun goes down

It's been single digits without the wind in Denver. I can only imagine it's colder (if not as cold) in the mountains. Echoing the rest above me...taking shots WHILE it's snowing is very tricky. The shots below were taken duting the day. I would like to hear myself what some lighting suggestions would be. Would 1 mounted/held a bit above eye height from the right side and a softer one a bit lower from the left with diffusers work?
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45250/thumb/441284.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45250/thumb/441284.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45250/thumb/441280.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/45250/thumb/441280.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
How about indoors by a fire? Not sure where you're staying, but there might be lounge with a fireplace. Those would make memorable shots IMO.

01/16/2007 10:08:59 PM · #19
Originally posted by Beetle:

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet:
make sure you shoot in RAW, so that whatever funky light conditions you come across, you have a lot more chance of fixing it in post processing.


Would you believe that I've NEVER shot in RAW before and know little to nothing about it?
01/16/2007 10:24:51 PM · #20
Originally posted by Sunshyne:

Originally posted by Beetle:

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet:
make sure you shoot in RAW, so that whatever funky light conditions you come across, you have a lot more chance of fixing it in post processing.


Would you believe that I've NEVER shot in RAW before and know little to nothing about it?

Understanding RAW. Set shutter speed/ISO/f-stop, auto white balance and shoot. If the white balance is off after you download the shots on your computer....you can adjust with RSE.

Added: Snow exposing tut.

Message edited by author 2007-01-16 22:30:45.
01/16/2007 10:32:26 PM · #21
Originally posted by MrEd:

Originally posted by Sunshyne:

Originally posted by Beetle:

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet:
make sure you shoot in RAW, so that whatever funky light conditions you come across, you have a lot more chance of fixing it in post processing.


Would you believe that I've NEVER shot in RAW before and know little to nothing about it?

Understanding RAW. Set shutter speed/ISO/f-stop, auto white balance and shoot. If the white balance is off after you download the shots on your computer....you can adjust with RSE.

Thanks a bunch!!!! I'll have about 3 weeks to study up and practice a little...
Added: Snow exposing tut.

01/16/2007 10:47:07 PM · #22
Filters for snow shots (daytime)????
01/16/2007 10:55:14 PM · #23
Originally posted by Sunshyne:

Filters for snow shots (daytime)????

There are two filters that could come in handy:
1) circular polarizer to cut down on glare (depending on the light angle)
and if you REALLY want to play with filters:
2) a neutral density filter just in case you find it super bright (it just cuts down the amount of light entering your lens)
01/16/2007 11:15:48 PM · #24
Originally posted by Beetle:

Originally posted by Sunshyne:

Filters for snow shots (daytime)????

There are two filters that could come in handy:
1) circular polarizer to cut down on glare (depending on the light angle)
and if you REALLY want to play with filters:
2) a neutral density filter just in case you find it super bright (it just cuts down the amount of light entering your lens)


Thanks! I have the circular polarizer, but I'll check out the neutral density filter to see how that works, too.
01/16/2007 11:25:56 PM · #25
Originally posted by Sunshyne:


Would you believe that I've NEVER shot in RAW before and know little to nothing about it?

Marjorie, don't let that stop you. It took me quite a while to get into RAW, it seemed so weird and mysterious, I was sure it was quite beyond me.

One day I took some RAW shots just for the sake of trying RAW (i.e. without the fear of missing a good photo opportunity or ruining something I really wanted), and found that it was no big deal at all.
A bit of a play with photoshop, and presto - I pretty much understood what it was about, at least in essence.

No big deal at all, but SOOOOOOOOO worth it when you have a less than ideal photographic situation, it can make ALL the difference.

Just grab your camera and give it a go. It won't bite.

Edit to add:

Your profile says you don't have PS, but there are other programs including free ones like Rawshooter (I believe is the name), and perhaps even Picasa can do it, I don't know about that, sorry.

Message edited by author 2007-01-16 23:28:29.
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