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3 Tips to Getting Your Best Shots in the Winter Wonderland

As a lifelong resident of the upper midwest, wintertime can be fun for the kids - but not so fun for the adults that have to drive in it or shovel it :(

As a photographer, the snow can provide for some gorgeous photos. Take the one of my family below, which I’d take over a warm, sun-basked photo anyday!

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Chan

As with portrait photography, the snow can produce spectacular results with real estate photography - as long as you know how to use it to your advantage. Below are just a few tips capture the beauty of snow in your photos (beware - you’ll need a professional to take advantage of many of these tips):

Tip #1: Get the Lighting Right

Photography in the winter v. spring/summer is as stark in difference as the temperatures: there is less sun (if any at all), snow is reflecting light, and frigid temperatures all combine to make taking exterior and interior photos during the winter months more challenging.

Further, the snow has a funny way of reflecting and redirecting light. It is imperative that you use a combination of flash (even if the sun is out) and the right lens so that you don’t get a picture of snowflakes with a dim view of the object being photographed - see example of what not to do, below:

Tip #2: Get the Exposure Right

Exposure is key to taking photos when the ground is snow covered. You need to make sure your photos don’t look “overexposed” because it’s so white out, which can make the image looked washed-out. I see this in many photos unfortunately, but it is avoidable. See this example of the white snow overpowering the shot:

Tip #3: Fire up the Fire!

If the home has a fireplace that’s in working order, fire it up for some cozy and warm interior shots. Unfortunately I see photos all the time where a smartphone camera is used to take interior shots while the fireplace is burning, but the fireplace is the focal point and it typically drowns-out the rest of the shot or looks just plain blurry, like this:

I hope these tips help - please let me know if there are any others you have, and safe travels in the winter wonderland!


Leslie is the owner and president of Leslie Lemons Photography which provides high-quality residential real estate photography for realtor offices large and small throughout Chicagoland and the west suburbs of Chicago.

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