Capitalize on Winter with these Photography Tips

Winter Photography Feature
Source: SkyPixel Author: Eberhard Ehmke

When Old Man Winter has come to town, you probably just want to curl up in your cozy living room and watch some TV. No reason to go outside and suffer the cold right? Well think again, winter is one of the best times for capturing stunning pictures of transformed landscapes. However, taking photos in winter is a different ball game to getting those warm sunny shots, the great news is that we have you covered with our tips for winter photography.

Prepare for the Weather

Wind is an important factor in flying during winter. Pay close attention to how harsh the winds are, as each DJI drone will have different wind performance capabilities. DJI Mini 2, for example, has a max wind speed resistance of 8.5-10.5 m/s. Mavic 3, on the other hand, can resist wind at 12m/s. Make sure that you don’t fly when the wind is too strong.

Another aspect that you need to think about during winter photography is your drone’s lowest operating temperature and battery temp. The main problem is that the batteries don’t last as long if they’re cold, so flight times may be lower than expected. You can reduce the impact of this by keeping your batteries warm before you insert them into the aircraft by storing them in your car or inside your coat pocket. 

Tips for Take-Off

  1. After take-off, hover in the same spot for roughly one minute to allow the battery’s internal heat to warm itself up. 
  2. Use Sport Mode when flying in locations with low temperatures. During these conditions, there’s a chance that your drone’s sensors will gather frost, which can interfere with its ability to detect objects. By selecting Sport Mode, these sensors will be disabled so you can fly normally.
  3. Be a little more cautious with your battery level. When temperatures are low, your battery will drain faster. Don’t wait for the automatic prompt and allow additional time for returning home.

Snow and Exposure

Snow can play games with your camera’s meter, leaving you with underexposed photos and grey snow rather than pearly white snow. The way around this issue is to bump up the exposure. If it’s a bright sunny day, you might need to increase it by two stops. However, on overcast days a one stop raise should be adequate to make your snow white again. In this case, you may consider the AEB function. Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) is the process of taking multiple shots of the same image with different exposure settings. When the AEB function is selected, your drone will automatically shoot 3-5 photos at different exposures. By shooting multiple exposures, AEB provides some leeway to ensure you end up with the perfect shot.

White Balance

You’d think that getting the right white balance would not be an issue when snapping shots of snowy vistas. Strangely it is, and snowy pictures often end up feeling blue. There are ways to sidestep this problem. You can allow the auto white balance to make the adjustments, or you can shoot in RAW and edit afterward.

Winter Photography: White Balance
The contrast between blue tinted snow on the left and the way snow should look on the right.

Bright Colours for Contrast

The thing about taking photos of snow is that it’s white, and everything it covers is also white so that an all-white picture may be a little dull. Look for bright contrasting colors such as yellow, blue or orange as they will give your photo a striking contrast to the pure whiteness of the snow.

Winter Light

This is a boon to photographers, helping out by giving us a more extended golden hour, with more 3-dimensional textures and elongated deep shadows. The reason for this is that during the winter the angle of the sun is smaller on the horizon and the sun will never reach a high point. This means the sun doesn’t appear as harsh, and there is more time to shoot – especially on overcast days where you can practically avoid having to deal with the struggle of the midday sun.

Focus Adjustment

The problem with winter photography is that the scene you want to capture might have low contrast. If it’s foggy, overcast or snowing, this means that it can be difficult for the lens to autofocus as it may struggle to find enough contrast to autofocus. The good news is that it’s easy to fix as all you need to do is switch your drone to manual focus in the DJI GO apps

Winter Photography Focus
Source: SkyPixel Author: Isaac Gautschi

Snow with these tips in mind, head out into the winter wonderland with your drone and capture some glorious winter photography shots.

The Best New Way to Capture Winter Wonderlands: DJI Mavic 3

If you really want to capture winter in stunning detail, you’ll need the new DJI Mavic 3. This incredible aerial camera drone features a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera, 46-minute flight time, and all the intelligent features and functions you could ever hope for. Follow someone sledding with ActiveTrack 5.0, get every angle of your decorations with MasterShots, or capture a stunning winter sunset with hyperlapse. It’s the perfect way to experience and remember the magic of the season.


Buy Mavic 3


 For more articles about photography:

11 Tips to Step Up Your Drone Photography

Drone Camera Settings: All You Need to Know

6 Quick Easy Picture Editing Steps to Make Your Photos Look Fantastic

4 Aerial Photography Tips for Shooting in Sunrise and Sunset

For more DJI Support tips and tutorials, find us on:

DJI Support on Facebook!

DJI Support on Twitter!

Creativity is at the heart of every dream. At DJI, we give creators the tools they need to bring their imagination to life. Our products push visionaries to go beyond the limits of possibility, inspiring them to see the world from a brand new perspective.