What is the Color of Snow?

Although you might think this is a trick question, if you’ve spent any time in photography, particularly with editing software, you know the dilemma.

When you need to custom balance the white, what do you go with? Photographs shot in RAW format are often either too blue or too yellow. When you’re editing shots with snow and ice involved, it’s up to you to make the choice.

My rule of thumb is that if there’s bright daylight shining on the snow, there’s got to be a bit of warmth to it because the sun’s rays are golden. Therefore the white balance shifts slightly to the yellow side. If it’s a cloudy day or the snow is in shadow or was shot close to dusk, the white balance shifts slightly to blue. Artistically, if you want to make the scene look very frigid, go to blue.

The top photo, Snow and Tall Grass in Winter, was shot on a sunny afternoon. The photo below, Rippled Water and Frozen Shorelines of a River, was shot partially in shadow, so you’ll notice the blue tone to that side of the riverbank.

Rippled Water and Frozen Shorelines of a River Stock Photo

Rippled Water and Frozen Shorelines of a River

Have you ever noticed that there’s really no such thing as pure white? Or should I say that there are hundreds of shades of white? Share your opinion by leaving a comment.

Image credit: LookLagoon.com