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Winter Photographs: Quiet Beauty (Photograph Collection)

Updated on March 6, 2015

Peaceful Photographs of Winter Scenes

As the days grow shorter, light grows more scarce this time of year, as do the colors. Winter photography has a stark character unlike that of the other seasons. But its unique beauty can be captured in photographs that illustrate the cold, barren months.

The earth is sleeping. Often covered in a white blanket and decorated with ice crystals. It is a quiet beauty. Even bustling city streets get a hush when the snow falls.

Take out your camera and explore the quiet scenes along back roads, in the mountains, or perhaps even in your backyard. When the first snowflakes start to fall, you are certain to feel a child-like excitement!

All photographs in this hub are the property of Stephanie Hicks. Please contact me for permission to use.

Cold winter waters
Cold winter waters | Source

Taking Winter Photographs

Taking winter photographs is an exercise in finding the right light. In many respects, winter is a more forgiving season than the spring, summer and even fall. Low light and the lack of overhead sunlight means that washed out colors are rarely a problem. On the other hand, glare can be exacerbated with the low angle of the sun at this time of year.

Overcast days are always your best bet. The natural filter yields the best lighting for your shots. Clear days offer a nice contrast of brilliant blue skies, white clouds and stark white snow. But I love those days that hang heavy and gray. They offer the best contrast for winter photographs.

If you are a novice, then just about any point and shoot camera will work. Hold your arms close into your body to minimize shake, which will increase sharpness. If you can afford a tripod, you will be able to get even more sharp, professional looking shots.  Otherwise, hold your elbows into your torso and/or brace your body against a building or tree to get the clearest photographs.

Snow dusted Ponderosa pines
Snow dusted Ponderosa pines | Source
Frozen fog on tree branches (captured with my cell phone)
Frozen fog on tree branches (captured with my cell phone) | Source

Winter Photograph Composition

Light has an important role in any photograph composition. During winter, there is less light, but more room for artistry.

Brilliant, overhead sunlight can wash out colors and leave distracting shadows. So, you can take advantage of favorable light during winter months.

Snow can either be the subject of, or a beautiful backdrop for, photographs.  Its soft, forgiving texture, light and color is muted and comforting.

Looking for more snowflakes
Looking for more snowflakes | Source
Winter on the Deschutes River, Oregon
Winter on the Deschutes River, Oregon | Source

Things to Avoid When Taking Winter Photographs

Turn off the flash and use a slow shutter speed. You'll want to have a tripod on hand to prevent blurriness. If you use a flash, you'll get too much brightness and it will wash out the subject of your photograph.

Much like flash, bright sunshine can be a bit much on a snowy, winter day. The reflection of sun on snow may be harsh, or cause deep shadows. Overcast days usually work best for lighting when shooting photographs on a winter day. This is not to say you cannot take photos when the sun is out - its just a bit more difficult to get exposure correct.


Even street scenes look beautiful when covered in snow
Even street scenes look beautiful when covered in snow | Source
Snow on Central Oregon mountain ridges
Snow on Central Oregon mountain ridges | Source
Evergreens turn white in winter
Evergreens turn white in winter | Source

Subjects of Winter Photographs

Soft, white snow is beautiful, but when taking photographs, there should be a clear subject of your composition. Are you photographing your home? A big snowdrift? Maybe it's a snowy road.

Frame the subject accordingly, and be sure to avoid distracting elements like power lines, directional signs or fences - unless they are part of the scene you wish to depict.

Children playing in the snow is a popular subject of winter photographs. Animals are another great subject.

I enjoy taking close-up shots of tree branches and scenic landscapes including snow and rivers or lakes. Snow-covered mountains are also particularly beautiful.

Another popular subject of winter photographs is a shot that tells a story.  I took a few pictures during a recent cold blast here in Oregon.  Our patio furniture was left out and looked quite funny with 4 inches of snow on them.  I also shot the very cold looking dog bowls on our back porch.

Winter photographs can tell a story
Winter photographs can tell a story | Source
Patio furniture left out into winter!
Patio furniture left out into winter! | Source
A mountain lake in winter
A mountain lake in winter | Source
Sierra Nevadas in California
Sierra Nevadas in California | Source
Mule deer in January
Mule deer in January | Source
Mt. Si in Washington State
Mt. Si in Washington State | Source
Frosted branches after freezing fog
Frosted branches after freezing fog | Source

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    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      Beautiful hub steph and stunning photography. rated up

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you so much Carrie!

    • justom profile image

      justom 6 years ago from 41042

      Honestly, the advice you're giving is pretty good but I find the photos not very good. The composition, light use and contrast all seem to me to be off, Sorry if I sound harsh....but? Peace!! Tom

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 6 years ago from East Coast

      Well, I'm no photographer, so I have no idea what justom is talking about - I think the pictures are beautiful!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Lily! I think winter is a beautiful time of year. You don't have to be a professional photographer to capture some lovely winter photographs. :)

    • justom profile image

      justom 6 years ago from 41042

      Sorry if my truth offended you and you're right, you don't have to be a pro to take good photos. I just think if you're going to give folks advice in how to take good pictures (and there are actual standards that make up a good photo)that yours should represent what you're talking about. I'm not trying to be mean spirited, just factual. Peace!! Tom

    • ellacor profile image

      ellacor 6 years ago

      These are just spectacular photographs. What a wonderful hub. Thank you.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & beautiful! "beauty is in the eye of the beholder..." I think you did a wonderful job with the pix and the explanation...

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Awesomely useful and beautiful!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      up and beautiful. I am trying to renew an interest in photography that I lost when I had vision problems that interfered.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you all - I do agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This hub is primarily a collection of winter photographs, with some tips on improving your (amateur) shots interspersed. Glad that you enjoyed it. Dahoglund, I hope that you can get back into photography notwithstanding vision problems. Cheers everyone, Steph

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My favorite photo was the one of a child (yours?) looking up and trying to catch snowflakes. All of them captured the beauty of the season. There is nothing prettier than fresh fallen snow blanketing the earth. Voting this up and beautiful.

    • erthfrend profile image

      erthfrend 6 years ago from Florida

      Absolutely beautiful and wonderful advice! Thank you so much for sharing with us the magic of winter!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Peggy - yes, that is my youngest son! It was taken a year ago after a big snowfall. I love winter!!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you erthfrend - I agree! Winter is magical. Cheers to you this season.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Hi Steph, Your hub reminded me of the beauty of winter that we miss when we "escape" to warmer climates. The light at dawn on an icy winter morning is magical. Oh, now I miss those -10° pink mornings of central New York! Thanks for a nice hub.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, steph, thank you for your info, and I loved the photos, you can certainly take a better picture than me! cheers nell

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      @justom - I don't necessarily respond to every comment I receive on my hubs. Nonetheless, I did publish your first two comments, but denied your last one. I didn't find your comments particularly helpful, even if critical, because you have not explained the basis for your position. Wish you well, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile image
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      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Stephanie and Nell, thank you for stopping by the woods on a snowy evening... :) Cheers to you both, Steph

    • richtwf profile image

      richtwf 6 years ago

      An interesting hub with lots of beautiful photos. A good reason to go out in the snow rather than hole up inside where it's warm and cosy! Lovely hub and thanks for sharing. God bless and peace to you.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      Lovely, Steph - I love winter especially here. I just wish at the moment I didn't have bronchitis. It is making me wish to get better so I can get up and get out snowshoeing and sledding!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Rich and Audrey - I love winter too! Audrey, I hope you get better soon. Perfect weather for snowshoeing and sledding - get some more pictures of your adorable dogs! :)

    • SweetMarie83 profile image

      Marie Landry 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, gorgeous photos! I love taking pictures and hope that someday soon I can afford a really good camera. I loved your tips for winter photography, I'm going to keep them in mind and head out on the next snowy day and see what kinds of pictures I can get. Thanks!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks SweetMarie - I love just getting outside and shooting photos with a digital camera. Today's models make it quite easy to get some great shots. Plus, no film means you can snap away and delete the photographs you don't like later. Best to you, Steph

    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Steph,

      Love the dog bowls!

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 6 years ago

      These are some really beautiful photos, but SOME of these could have been even more beautiful by changing some angles, distance. Just practice a bit and I am sure that you will become a pro soon.

    • profile image

      Grandma's House 6 years ago

      That photo of your son looking upwards is so beautiful and I'm in totally in love with the one below, too. A new snowfall is always lovely but in the mountains or forest it's something different, bigger somehow. I really enjoyed your hub and I'm sure it has inspired many of us to get out there and capture the moment! Thank you!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you all - I do appreciate the comments on the winter photographs. We've had a ton of snow in my region recently and I'd love to get out and take more photographs. Busy holiday season... Cheers, Steph

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Beautiful hub and the photographs you have used in this hub are stunning.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you katrina! I love taking winter photographs. Its cold and snowy outside here where I live today. :)

    • ketchup101 profile image

      ketchup101 6 years ago from Philippines

      Oh..How I wish I can experience winter. I'm in a tropical country and i really really want to take winter photographs. But i love this hub! I just wonder when can I be able to do this (walk in a snow and take winter photographs) :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi ketchup - there is something to be said for the changing seasons. I must say I am always ready for spring, but right now is an excellent time for taking winter photographs!

    • ketchup101 profile image

      ketchup101 6 years ago from Philippines

      But we don't have winter as well as spring here in our country steph. I really wish I can visit some places with snow so I can take winter photographs like what you've published. That really inspired me. Thanks!

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      beautiful photos - my favourite is the evergreens

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Ann - I took a few more winter photographs yesterday. I'll have to add them to the hub too. Cheers, Steph

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      stunning pics- great ideas for winter photography- like you I have used several of my own photos on my hubs and its a great motivator for going out and taking pics. Really enjoyed this hub. I want to come to Oregon now...looks stunning!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Docmo - thank you! I will check out your photographs in your hubs, as well. Oregon is so pretty during winter. Its snowing again here right now! Cheers, Steph

    • profile image

      SJerZGirl 6 years ago

      Love winter photos!! And, I haven't seen mule deer since I lived in Utah! These are great.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi SJerZGirl - thank you! There are many mule deer here in the Pacific Northwest, but its always great to see a herd of them standing right there on the edge of the forest!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Steph, Love all these pictures! I think I love the first two the most, but its very hard to pick. Great tips for taking pictures in the winter, thank you!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you oceans - we are blessed with amazing winter beauty here in Oregon! Cheers to you - Steph

    • ponx profile image

      Priyanka Biswas 6 years ago from USA

      Very beautiful photos. I happened to take a few photos myself in my backyard and in and around my house. Does look truly magical with the snow.

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you ponx - hope you are enjoying the winter season. Best, Steph

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Beautiful surprise at the end here. Very pretty photos

    • mannyrolando profile image

      mannyrolando 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures! The third one is my favorite, Frozen fog on tree branches. Thanks for sharing!

    • stephhicks68 profile image
      Author

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks manny and fossillady - I love the frozen fog photo too! Best, Steph

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      wow, u are quite the talented photographer!

    • fidencio1 profile image

      fidencio1 5 years ago from Louisiana

      Great Pictures. Thanks for the tips.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 23 months ago

      I did not know that frozen fog was a thing. What a fascinating photo.

    • profile image

      BrownTheClown 19 months ago

      Hi there! Thank you for these wonderful pictures. They are the reason why I love winter just as much as I love it being sunny and warm. There´s something magical about winter.. I´m already looking forward to it this year!

      I found a nice Youtube channel, which also shows beautiful winter images and photographs, in case you´re interested. Here´s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-4R99qwemg&li...

      it makes you feel nice and warm at home, still you almost feel the cold of the snow.. Love it.

      Thanks again for the hub, I really enjoyed reading it!

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