How many times have we taken a quick photograph on a bright day in the snow with our digital camera, and ended up recording the scene with a heavy bluish-grey cast? The problem is in the way camera light meters are designed and calibrated. They measure the scene as being 18%-neutral-grey in color, and all the colors and exposure are adjusted accordingly. Sometimes you can correct this in post-edit, but the goal is to get it right the moment the shutter is pressed.

There are two ways to fix this. With a digital camera, you can dive into the menus and adjust the white-balance of the meter by filling your frame with a bright snow view and pressing the appropriate camera buttons on the camera back. Read about how to do that in your camera's owners manual. But there is an easier way.

Whether you are using an expensive digital camera or using a basic vintage analog camera, you can use the classic Sunny 16 Rule. That video link and the following charts show you how to easily meter your camera manually and get snow-white colors every time:




Once you understand the basic Sunny-16 concept, you can easily adjust your camera settings for a full range of artistic considerations, such as depth-of-field and bokeh. Perhaps its time to move out of digital full-auto mode, and into the next level of photography.

Thanks, David... I have heard of the sunny 16 rule...but don't have too much experience shooting in the snow due to the lack of it around here. I need to practice while have some snow on the ground!!! I'll see if I can get out there today. :D