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Snowy photos - getting the exposure right
January 31, 2012

Dear Stay Focussed reader!

poorly exposed snowy scene Welcome to February's newsletter,

I hope the new year has started well for you. It's turned a bit cold here - no snow yet, but I think it's only a matter of time!

With the winter season here in the Northern Hemisphere, and snow on it's way, my tip this month is how to get a correctly exposed photo in the snow.

Correctly exposing snowy scenes

The problem of photographing anything in the snow is that your camera will assume everything it photographs will have an 'average' range of tones.

It bases this on a neutral grey shade. The problem is snowy scenes are very white - certainly not an 'average' range of tones.

Because of this your camera will compensate by underexposing your photo. It thinks no scene can be that white.

The photo above shows a typical result. Grey and dull rather than bright and white.

So what's the solution? You have two options here - first, force your camera to overexpose the scene when you take the photo. The instructions vary from camera to camera, and the results can vary too!

The second option - provided the photo isn't too dull just keep it and edit it using software when you get home.

correctly exposed snowy scene This is really easy to do and even the most basic (and free!) image editing software will work.

The second photo here shows a corrected image.

All you need to do is boost the brightness control and your photo will come back to life!

Personally I'd go for the second option because if you try to overexpose the photo when you're out snapping away you might go too far and end up with blown highlights. And because you'll be checking the image on your camera's screen outside, in bright light, it will be difficult to spot.

At home using your computer you can easily change the brightness until it's just right.

That's about all for now. Good luck with your snowy photos (if you have the chance) and see you next month,


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