DEMOTTE, IN – Nestled in the heart of the Midwest and just lucky enough to be in proximity of notorious “lake effect”, The Region experiences some pretty blistery winters. This creates a new set of challenges for photographers that those in warm climates don’t have to deal with. That is why today I will be counting down my ten top picks of items that photographers need when doing cold weather winter photography.
DISCLAIMER: This post is not sponsored, but it does contain Amazon Affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not cost you any more money to purchase, but I do earn commission on sales.
Winter photography must have items that you need
1. Camera-friendly gloves
Having cold hands while shooting photos is the worst. It is very difficult to operate a camera with numb fingers, and it becomes unbearable after a while.
Keeping your hands warm while keeping free a finger or two is a game-changer when it comes to winter photography.
2. Spare batteries
It is a fact that cold weather drains batteries. Just as your car battery is more likely to die in the winter, your camera batteries will not last nearly as long in the cold as they do in summer heat.
Having spare batteries is a must when doing winter photography.
Keep your spare batteries in an insulated bag or in your pocket to keep them warm when not in use.
No matter the brand camera you use, there is almost definitely an off-brand replacement battery available on Amazon for much cheaper than the name brand. Slowly building up a stock of batteries paired with a multi-battery charger will greatly increase your efficiency as a photographer.
3. A quality camera bag
A quality camera bag that can fit all your gear, plus extras is a necessity. My favorite bag is The Jumper by Brevite. The two features that make this bag great for winter photography is its weather resistance and its packability.
This bag can fit a lot. In my bag on a shoot I keep my Canon 80D & Sigma 18 – 35, a video light, Canon 50mm f/1.8, spare batteries, Polaroid SX-70, spare film packs, batteries, charging cables, lens filters, GoPro & accessories, laptop, and a tripod.
Keeping all of my bag’s contents dry is a requirement, and this bag did not fail me when shooting in an actual blizzard.
Of course you do not have to have a Brevite bag, but make sure that whatever bag you do buy has weather resistance and can fit all of your gear.
4. Lens hood
A lens hood is a great item to have for winter photography for two reasons. One, it will reduce any unwanted glare from snow & ice. Two, a lens hood provides your camera an extra layer of protection from the elements.
It is important to note that most lens hoods are not universal “one-size-fits-all”. You will have to know the diameter of your lens and whether it is compatible with a hood.
5. Insulated hat
Aviator, trapper hat, ushanka; whatever you call it, these hats work. Keeping warm is imperative to a successful shoot in cold winter weather. These hats are the best at keeping your head, cheeks, and ears warm and comfortable.
These hats have seen a recent rise in popularity, so you won’t have to worry about sacrificing cool for comfort. Just rock it.
6. Camera weather sleeve
Honestly, these are a great piece of kit to keep in your bag regardless of the time of year. They’re cheap, reusable, decent quality, and do their job.
These sleeves fit over your camera and tighten with a draw string on the body of your lens, keeping the camera’s view clear while providing weatherproofing protection to your camera.
At under $10 for a two pack, you really can’t go wrong here.
Find these camera sleeves on Amazon
7. Hand warmers
Do not overlook hand warmers. These cheap and effective hand warmers active by opening the package, and will stay warm for up to 10 hours.
Keep one in your pocket to warm up your hands, or put one in your bag near your batteries to keep them warm.
Get these handwarmers on Amazon
8. Polarizing filter
Polarizer filters have a much more direct reduction of glare & reflections that lens hoods do, and also provide an extra layer of protection to your lens.
Polarizing filters also reduce haze in photos resulting in a much more saturated and clear image.
Just like lens hoods, one size does not fit all. Find the correct size for your lens online before purchasing a filter.
9. A spare insulated coat
A spare coat is always a good idea to have on hand when shooting winter photography.
You never know what may happen to your own coat that may require a quick replacement, or maybe you are shooting with someone who forgot a coat of their own.
10. Weatherproof boots & thermal socks
Keeping your feet warm is an integral factor in maintaining comfort while outdoors in winter weather. Investing in a good pair of weatherproof boots is a great idea even if you aren’t a photographer.
Match your boots with a thick pair of thermal socks and you’ll be good for hours.
A pro-tip is to keep a spare pair of clean, dry socks in your bag in case the ones you’re wearing get wet. Wet socks in freezing temps is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous.
Did I miss anything? Let me know what items you have in your kit for cold weather winter photography!