3 Snowy Photo Editing Tips

by | Dec 23, 2022 | Tips & Tricks | 4 comments

Merry Christmas from Lenspiration!

As we dwellers of the northern reaches of the northern hemisphere begin taking snowy photos, here are 3 little tips that I hope you find helpful in editing them to perfection!

1. Change canvas color to white

Here’s a snowy photo that appears to be properly exposed.

Not white

However, as soon as I change the canvas color to white, it’s easier to tell it is slightly underexposed for sun-lit snow.


So, by turning the background canvas white, it allows me to edit the photo to be a proper exposure.


In Lightroom, I change the background canvas color by right clicking on the canvas itself.

Right click

2. Only set the White Point

When editing normal photos, I almost always set the white point and the black point. But for snowy scenes, it may not necessarily be advantageous to set both. Here’s an unedited snowy photo.


I set the white point, did some basic edits, and then set the black point and this is what it looks like.

Black point

Nice, but too contrasty for my liking.

Edited to taste

So in snowy photos, I’ll often not set the black point. Instead, it’s more just editing to taste. And it looks more snowy that way.

3. Reduce contrast

To make things look more snowy, I’ll often decrease contrast intentionally. Without going too far, of course. Usually, I’ll lighten Shadows, reduce Contrast, decrease Clarity, and then compensate a bit by increasing Dehaze.

Lighten (original)


It’s amazing how a little editing can make a snowy photo look more enchanting!

180217_James Staddon_543524 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 55 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 400180217_James Staddon_543524 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 55 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 400-2

140415_James Staddon_9828 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 1-80 sec at f - 11, ISO 100140415_James Staddon_9828 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 1-80 sec at f - 11, ISO 100-2

160124_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 35 mm, 0.6 sec at f - 14, ISO 100160124_James Staddon_ Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 35 mm, 0.6 sec at f - 14, ISO 100-2

And there’s a little analogy in this. Smile God is like the “Master Editor”. He is constantly tweaking us. Working on turning us from a raw photo to a masterpiece that is perfect! If God is working in our lives, we will look different after His working. Think about the shepherds in the Christmas story. They were just normal shepherds doing their normal thing. But after God revealed his plan of a Savior to them, they were completely different people, glorifying and praising God and making known abroad the saying which was told them concerning the child Jesus. May our daily encounters with God in our devotions every morning slowly shape us into the perfect work of art that God wants our lives to be!

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18.

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  1. Warrior Princess

    Beautiful snowy photos! Not being blessed with snow in my area of Arizona (except for the occasional miracle like in 2019), I appreciate them even more. I am so glad God created snow in many parts of America!

    Now I know how to edit snow photos tastefully! Thank you, James. I hope I get to see snow again in person soon, 🙂

    • James Staddon

      That’s right, I guess you wouldn’t get much snow down near Tucson! I guess it mainly only snows in Arizona at higher elevations, like north of Phoenix?

  2. Ezra

    Wow James, after all these years I can’t believe I never thought of changing my editor’s background to white when editing snow photos!! That’s such a simple tip, but so useful! I’m gonna have to try that next time I have a snowy scene to edit. 🙂


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