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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

Winter photos, even with your smartphone!


Winter photos, even with your smartphone!

In winter, weddings are a bit lacking, but this doesn't mean that you can't take magnificent shots even in winter. And then, we are waiting for your contact. Hurry! There may be no more free dates for your wedding soon.

While waiting to hear from you soon to organize something special for your wedding, we suggest a little something to make your photos with the winter light something magical: it's so easy to make the most of the snow and the cold, even with a smartphone!

Winter is cold by definition, we know, but it shouldn't make you lax when it comes to photography. It's not just the cold that's the problem: rainy and foggy days will be a significant obstacle for your images.

Read our advice, even for photos directly from your smartphone!


How to face the white sky

Clouds in the sky are a landscape photographer's delight. But a gray and white sky without details is something unwatchable. The solution is trivial but effective: don't take the sky in the photo. Instead, choose a frame with a building, wall or tree in the background.

Additionally, you can use settings in almost any photography application to strengthen colors and saturation.


Colorful motifs

High fog and dense clouds create a soft light that makes any outline and shadow disappear. You can't do anything about it – but you can compensate for the flatness of the image by looking for colorful and happy subjects.


Clouds

If there are still some clouds in the sky on a blue background, optimize them generously in your image. With the right app, the effect can be significantly increased, for example with Google's “Snapseed” (free for Android and iOS).

In the simplest case, select the “Drama” filter to significantly increase the effect:


“Drama” filter and shot

In the Tools area, tap the Selective button. With the plus sign enabled, tap the sky to create a new mask.

Type with your fingers on the parts of the sky so that they are more or less overcast: the mask does not have to be pixel precise.

Swipe up and down with your finger to toggle brightness, contrast, and saturation.

To make a sky more dramatic, reduce the brightness slightly by increasing the contrast and saturation.


Adjust the exposure

Even the best weather turns treacherous when snow comes into play. The white areas are so bright that they mislead the meter and overwhelm the dynamic range of the photo sensor.

The light meter measures the distribution of ambient light. Based on the results, the shutter speed is adjusted, that is, the duration of the exposure (smartphones do not have shutters that control the amount of light).

The reflective snow makes the meter much brighter than it actually is. This inevitably leads to underexposure in other places, for example on faces. Fortunately, incorrect exposure on the display can be easily checked and corrected:


HDR shots solve every situation

If you adjust the exposure in the dark for dark areas, the brightest areas are often overexposed – such a high dynamic range overextends the sensor. The only way to get a well-balanced photo is to take an HDR shot.

In this case, two or more images are taken in rapid succession at different exposures.

Subsequently, all possible information is extracted from the individual photos by the highlights and shadows and assembled to form a new image.


Warning: risk of blur!

There is also a negative aspect, otherwise we would all only take HDR photos: since a fraction of a second passes between a thousand recordings, two freehand shots are never congruent.

If the deviation is particularly large, this leads to double contours called “ghosting”. Place your camera or smartphone on a fixed base such as a tripod


Backups

Never give up on your shots. Before venturing out into the cold, you should create a backup of the contents of your smartphone. Accidents happen – and, as you know, always at the most inopportune moment.

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