The Dreaded Winter Rut: Tips to help you stay Inspired

Jan 29, 2019

January can be tough. The nights are long, and the days are short. It’s often frigid up here in the Northern Hemisphere, especially where I live, and we are sometimes stuck inside with cabin fever. By this time of year, we’ve already had a couple of months of winter and with a few months to go before spring starts blooming, we can begin to feel quite blue. 

I, however, actually love photography during the winter months. Here are a few tips on how I stay inspired and avoid the dreaded winter photography rut.  

1. Bundle up and head outside

There are plenty of days when spending some time outside is possible. Here, we bundle up in our winter gear, and off we go. There’s a ton of fantastic childhood winter moments to capture. I have a small collection of colourful toques, mittens and scarves that I can pop on my children before heading out into the winter elements. My children play joyfully in the snow, and I capture all those rosy red cheeks and fun snowy moments. They don’t seem to mind the cold as much as I do.  

ISO 1000, 35mm, f8, 1/320ss

2.  Indoor treats

At my house, after we’ve played outside in the cold, a warm treat is always a must. Capturing the details, like those little fingers clasped around a warm cup of hot chocolate, are images I want to take.  

ISO 400, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/800ss

3. Bring the outdoors inside

The winter chill is not for everyone, but the snow and winter atmosphere can be gorgeous. I like to capture outdoor elements, like falling snow or a snowy backdrop, from the inside of my home. Showcasing winter this way is a great way to add atmosphere without the cold.

ISO 200, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/200ss

4. Don’t be afraid to use artificial light

Natural light is at a premium during the winter months.  My children leave for school in the darkness, and by the time they’ve settled in at home after school, the daylight has disappeared. I’ve learned to enjoy photographing in artificial light. I don't use any fancy equipment. A lamp or another source of artificial light is good enough for me.

ISO 3200, 35mm, 1.6f, 1/800ss

5.  Practise your low light photography

My house does not get a lot of bright natural light during the winter months, but I can get unique light patterns. I’ve learned to embrace low light photography. I bump up my ISO and look for unique lighting, which infuses a touch of creativity into my winter photographs.  

ISO 3200 35mm, 1.8f, 1/200ss

6. Take advantage of that early hour golden light

The light during the winter months is incredible. I find as the sun lowers itself to the horizon, the light becomes soft and buttery in a stunning way. I'm often outdoors during winter capturing my children in this beautiful light. 

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.5f, 1/1600ss

7. Try something creative

When I feel uninspired, I find that if I embrace creativity, I'm bound to pop out of a rut. There are many different ways in which to embrace creativity. Don't be afraid to try something new or experiment with a rented lens. I enjoy freelensing when I'm looking for a creative lens image. 

ISO 800, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/500SS

There are many different ways you can go about staying inspired by your photography during the winter months. Embrace this time of year, and don't let those precious childhood moments pass by.