Is it cold and snowy where you are? Go for a hike, and bring your kids and camera!! The world is so beautiful covered in a layer of magical snow.

Also follow the link at the end of this post to view some eye candy from another photographer friend, KC Crow, an Orange County Family Photographer.

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I took the picture on the left, and this is Pierson’s picture (a weed with snow on it, from our list) on the right. Not bad kid!

Today was another cold snow day, and I decided to make it a little more fun by coming up with a Winter Wonderland photo scavenger hunt. We had a blast and I wanted to share some snow photography tips and my scavenger hunt list with you all.

I love that kids come up with their own ideas when we give them an opportunity to be creative! My own children, and others that join us in our Photography Adventure classes amaze me with their “eye” because they aren’t worried about rules and their imaginations are just better than ours. You can help your kids further their photography interest by giving them a little direction (like a scavenger hunt in the snow!). You will be surprised at how quickly kids pick up basic fundamentals of photography. Oh, and print the picture they take and put them in a little album. (We love Mpix.com for prints!) I’d encourage you to shoot along side your kids! Creative activities in nature (or in town) make for a great bonding experience. Make sure you take pictures of each other too!

If you want to grab the list and go, here it is: Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt. (PDF download) … Read on for my tips on shooting in the snow.

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Shooting in the snow:

There are some things to keep in mind when you take your camera for a walk in the snow. I typically adjust my kids’ camera (a cheep rebel off of Craig’s list) before we go out so I don’t have to do much while we are on a hike… especially in the snow! Burrr!

1. Batteries drain fast in the cold! Make sure you have charged batteries so you have more time to shoot!

2. You will need to tell your camera to over expose your images. I know that seems strange since it’s bright out, but unless you are shooting in manual mode, you will probably need to trick your camera into shooting brighter. It sees all that white snow as light and will underexpose your images (make them darker) because it’s trying to make an average exposure and has no idea you are taking pictures in the snow. The fancy photography terminology is “exposure compensation” …. all you need to do us bump up the exposure, make the image lighter, by adding a stop or two to your basic exposure to add more light. (You can learn all about this in our Simplified Camera Guide if you are totally confused!)

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3. Change your white balance. Shooting in AWB (Auto White Balance) sometimes results in bluish looking snow. Try the shade setting, or sunny if it’s sunny out to “warm” your images up! No one wants a blue picture of snow! 🙂 Again, if you want to know more… Check out our Simplified Photography Guide!

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You can also give your kids an old phone to take pictures with, or a simple point and shoot! With children, I focus more on having fun and learning how to take picture by completing the list than I am about them learning how to operate a camera. They don’t care about exposure compensation or white balance. These are just simple tricks so they (and you) get better results while you are out on your hike. 🙂

I scratched out list down on a sheet of printer paper and we took off on our trail that leads through the woods. I modified it a little and made it pretty for you! So, turn off Netflix and get outta the house… it’s adventure time. Be sure to warm up with hot coco when you come back inside!

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Here’s a little gallery of Pierson’s favorite pictures. (I haven’t downloaded Charlotte’s and August had cold fingers so he didn’t participate.)

You made it to the end! I hope you decide to go play in the snow! 🙂 Now for that eye candy I promised you at the beginning of this post! Check out this amazing tree side Christmas session by the super talented KC Crow of Crows Nest Photography. It will give you all the warm feels! Follow her link to the next blog in our circle for even more inspiration.

I love being a part of a community of photographers that help each other, and support each other!

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