Why Do My Snow Photos Look Blue?

Winter photography can be so rewarding and lately over these few days  of a wonderland of snow  I have seen  literally hundreds  of snow pictures  on social media  but the majority of them  look dull and grey or very blue.

We have already discussed the reason for our snow pictures coming out looking dull and grey but why are they looking so blue?

This is all to do with how the camera sees colour. This applies to phones as well as our regular cameras.

If you are using your camera on Auto (point and shoot), then basically your camera is choosing the settings to use based on average conditions. However snow on a cloudy day, to a camera, is not an average condition which is why the camera struggles to get it right.

The camera or phone user needs more control in order to programme the camera to capture the snow scene more accurately, therefore we need to be able to access the setting on our phones or cameras called ‘White Balance’.

Look on the top of your camera for the mode dial and turn it to P (Programme Mode). This setting works very much like auto but it does let you fine tune some specific settings like your White Balance.


If your camera doesn’t have a mode dial on it then you should find your P settings in the menu. You are looking for ‘Shooting Settings’ and/or ‘Shooting Modes’ and you will find your P settings within these modes. If it is not there then you might find more than one type of Auto Mode, one of which lets you access your White Balance. If you still can’t find it, it may be that your particular camera is not designed to let you control your White Balance yourself.

If you are using a phone try looking at the camera settings to see if you have access to change White Balance settings.

Now go to the menu on your camera and look for ‘White Balance’. On some cameras particuarly SLR’s you should find a button on the back of the camera with WB on it and this is a shortcut to your White Balance settings.


Once you have found your White Balance settings you need to set your camera to ‘Cloudy’. You use this setting because the skies are cloudy and then you will find the camera programmes the colours so that there is no blue in the picture and your snow looks a lot more white.

Shot with camera set to Auto.
Shot with camera set to ‘P’ and Cloudy White Balance.
Captured on phone on Auto.
Captured on phone set to Cloudy White Balance

However if the sun comes out you must put the White Balance to ‘Sunny’, although when it is sunny the camera is more able to get the White Balance right itself so you can always return to your auto settings.

Another way to ensure your snow photos  always come out bright and white is to set your camera to Snow Scene Mode. You can find out how to do that on this post ‘Taking Photos in Snow’.

And for those of you who are shooting in priority modes don’t forget to check out this post on Exposure Compensation to make sure your snow pictures are not coming out too dull.


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