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Kids in Snow

Kids In Snow

by Russ Burden
Wonderful Additions to the Family Album

Birthday parties, family get-togethers, parades, kids on Halloween, weddings, graduations, cutting down a Christmas tree – these are but a few of the many events that make photography fun and rewarding. These preserved moments make for wonderful additions to the family album. Everyone has events that are special to them that make them run to a camera to capture the unfolding action. One of these for me is photographing my son when he’s playing in the snow. The following are some tips for capturing great shots of kids in snow.


Try not to direct the action in that the spontaneous moment provides a better image. With this in mind, keep the camera up to your eye at all times to be ready to capture the fleeting moment. I acknowledge the fact that this may become tedious, but when you “nail it,” you’ll forget about the difficulties you endured.


Camera meters are calibrated to make all tones in an image have the same reflectivity as light gray. This means turning a beautiful field of white snow into a dull lackluster area of flat gray tones. In order to reproduce the snow as white, you’ll need to trick the camera’s meter to overexpose the film. Depending upon how much snow fills the frame and how bright it is, you’ll need to bias your exposure toward the plus side anywhere from one half to two stops. If the snow dominates the scene and it’s strongly lit by the sun, lean towards plus two stops. If there’s snow but also a lot of other elements that are not white, the plus one half stop should be fine.


Kids + Snow = Action! With this in mind, use techniques that portray motion. My favorite is panning the camera with the movement of the kids. If the action is very fast, start your experimenting with one sixtieth of a second. If it slows down, one fifteenth or even one eighth may produce more of a streaked background. Follow the action through after clicking the shutter as it will create a smoother effect.

To learn more about this topic, join me on one of my Photographic Nature Tours. Visit and click on the NATURE TOURS button for more information. Also, pick up a copy of my new book, Amphoto’s Complete Book of Photography. You can purchase a signed copy directly from me or visit your local book store or Amazon. Contact me at to order your signed copy.

Photos & text © Russ Burden, Denver DPA Instructor


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