Winter is a most picturesque time and is perfect for getting some great snap shots on your camera. But it can also be a dangerous and tricky time to get pictures, for both you and your camera. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grab a few winter family shots in picturesque Des Moines, however, because it’s a little wet and cold outside. Follow these simple tips to make sure you get great winter shots worthy of your yearly family Christmas card.

Dress Warm
Probably the most obvious tip we could give you is to dress warm. Wear gloves, scarves, hats, coats, the works. Flexible gloves with rubber grips work best so you are still able to operate your camera. Remember that you will be standing out in the snow, which can become very uncomfortable very fast, so make sure you wear thick socks and durable shoes to keep your feet warm and dry. It never hurts to have hand warmers handy as well, for both your hands and your feet.

Protect Your Equipment
The cold can be very detrimental for your camera equipment if it is not protected from the elements. Make sure you have an extra battery that you are keeping warm on hand. Batteries cannot handle the cold very well, so you may need to switch them to allow your battery time to warm up. When bringing your camera inside, the sudden temperature change can shock your camera and condensation can start to build up. Wrap your camera inside a sealable bag to allow it to warm up gradually. Put a UV filter onto the end of your lens to help protect it. It won’t affect your pictures at all, but it will help extend the life of your camera.

As we all know, snow is bright, very bright. After a big snow storm, when everything is covered in snow, there is a lot of white. Find colorful things that you can use to make your photos pop. If you’re taking photos of family members, wear a red scarf, or a yellow coat, or use colorful props. Find green tree branches, red plants, etc. to make your photos pop.

Camera Tricks
You want the snow to be bright and not appear grey, like the clouds may be. Make sure you increase the exposure on your camera by a full step. Use a higher ISO while you’re taking action shots, such as someone skiing or kids playing in the snow, to make sure they are sharp and in focus. Experiment with turning the flash on to make the snow sparkle and add more depth and detail to your subjects, but be careful not to over expose the snow and make it washed out.

This is a great time to experiment with the different natural subjects that lend themselves perfectly to your cause. Play around with depth of field on icicles, try some bokah effects with Christmas tree lights, and mess around with action shots with a snowball fight. There are so many options, experiment and try new things.

Some great places to photograph in the winter in Des Moines includes the Gray’s Lake Park, Iowa State Capital, Papajohn Sculpture Park, Greenwood Park, and you could even venture to Winterset, Iowa to get some great shots of bridges. Just ask any of our friendly Ramada Tropics staff where their favorite winter wonderland photography spot is and they’d be happy to help you out.