Arena Redaktion, 03.01.2022

Tips for successful winter photos | Part 1

True to the motto "collect moments not things", it is of course important to capture the moments on holiday. But have you ever thought about perfect photos in the snow?
The amateur photographers from FroZen Lights give you tips on how you can successfully capture the memories of your holiday.

Sjef Handels enthuses, "Make the most of the golden hour in the morning or evening." The amateur photographer knows what he's talking about: as FroZen Lights, he and his colleague regularly post impressions from the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. On Instagram, mor than 1,400 subscribers are following the dreamlike snow views of frozenlights_zugspitzarena.

So for good photos in the snow, Handels recommends taking pictures when at sunrise or sunset. "The contrasts between light and dark, the shadows and the golden sunlight create a magical atmosphere." In addition, the blue of the sky is more intense in winter, which is why the golden hour is also called the blue hour. In general, taking photos with a small digital camera or smartphone is easier in the morning and afternoon because the light conditions are clearer.

©FroZen Lights
Blue cast and white balance: the pitfalls of taking photos in the snow

Because in broad daylight, snow tricks cameras and smartphones. The abundance of white and the light reflected by it ensure that the pictures are automatically underexposed - in other words, too dark. On the camera, this can be prevented by increasing the ISO number, "preferably 100 and higher", says Handels. This makes the image sensor more sensitive to light. Smartphones need an app for this, such as Manual Camera for Android and Pro Camera for iPhones.

Another problem is the bluish cast that snow surfaces can have on photos. This effect occurs because the snow reflects the blue of the sky. "The blue cast can always happen," says Handels. That is why he advises manual white balance, if the camera provides this function. Handels' tip: Take several pictures of the same subject with different ISO or white balance settings.

RAW instead of JPEG: more details for better retouching

Retouching on the computer can help too. Sjef Handels recommends that ambitious amateur photographers use free image editing software such as Gimp, Picasa or for this purpose.

If you want to edit afterwards, you should set your camera or smartphone to save the pictures in the raw data format RAW instead of JPEG. The reason: JPEG is a space-saving format, the files are compressed.

Details are often lost in dark or light areas of the image. With RAW, on the other hand, the photo ends up untouched on the memory chip. It captures the highest possible image quality. So it can be retouched well and the pitfalls of photos in the snow can be reworked. But beware: raw data formats produce large files, the memories fill up quickly. So it's worth having a second SD card to hand.

©FroZen Lights
Photographing with commitment: one subject, different settings

"You have to take your time," says Sjef Handels. "If you shoot spontaneously, you can of course be lucky if the lighting conditions happen to be right. But just as much bad luck." That's why he advises people to take fewer photos and put more effort into them, especially when it comes to choosing a subject. Because there are unbelievably beautiful moments for photos in the snow, the photographer knows, but they require commitment to capture.

For example, the aforementioned golden hour: getting up early in the morning, waiting for the sun, having the motif in mind, preparing the camera. And take several photos of the snowy landscape in different settings. "Then the hit rate for a beautiful souvenir picture increases considerably," he knows.

So these are the technical tips and tricks for successful photos in the snow. In the second part of our winter photo special, Sjef Handels reveals what you need to bear in mind when choosing a motif!

For more exciting stories about the Zugspitz Arena Bavaria-Tyrol, visit


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