The appeal of a snow scene will depend to some degree on the nature of the subject matter, which can vary from a serene snow-covered landscape to a dramatic shot of a downhill skier. The common factor is the white mass that acts like a shroud over shapes and forms. At times, this works to the advantage of the photographer, allowing for the complete isolation of a subject against a plain, colorless background.
The key to seeing these shapes and forms is the quality of the light and its direction relative to the subject. Evenly lit scenes on overcast days will often lack shadows, resulting in a loss of shapes and forms and no real sense of depth. Side lighting can help to bring out depth, shape and textures.
And don’t forget to overexpose by 1.5 or 2 stops to get the snow exposed properly.
Adapted from Mood, Ambience & Dramatic Effects by Joseph Meehan (Kodak Books,2007, $25)