This time of year is a glorious one, with enormous potential for taking some beautiful outdoor winter photographs. This potential can be found in parks and gardens; steeped in their white-tipped, frosty grass, or perhaps you want to catch an unusual shadow thrown onto the ground by a low winter sun. During the winter months there are lots of extremes around for you to focus on, from frozen ponds to flooded fields, icy steps and colourful, bustling shopping crowds. Whatever your preferred subject, now is the time to go out and capture your winter photos. But before you do, here are some great tips for navigating your way through the winter gauntlet to get those perfect shots. Summer doesn’t always guarantee superb images.

1. Cloudy skies
Whilst the rest of us are probably cursing the lack of sunshine, you can make use of the typical, UK, weather by harnessing the cloud effect. You can use these to create some excellent black and white landscapes, adding shadowy drama to your photos.

2. Late sunrise and early sunset
The best hours to shoot are just after dawn and just after sunset, which are much more manageable times with our compressed winter daylight hours.

3. Snow landscapes
Classic snowy backgrounds make great winter photos, so whether you’re off skiing in the mountains, or just looking out of the window at wintry weather, take advantage of this medium by adding one stop of exposure so that the snow doesn’t look grey.

4. Long exposures
You don’t have to have a special filter to give you smooth, milky, waterfalls and water. Instead, take advantage of the lower light levels in winter with a small aperture to give you the same effect.

5. Go for a walk
It’s simple, free and gives you endless photography opportunities. Some of the best dramatic winter views are from the top of a hill where foliage and grass doesn’t matter so much, so grab your camera, head out for a walk and enjoy being in nature.

6. Cityscapes
If town is more your thing, then the best time to get out there is actually night time, where you’ll get the best light contrasts for clear images. Obviously during winter you’ll have much longer dark hours to take advantage of, so make use of these dark nights by packing a tripod.

7. Uh oh….it’s raining
The heavens may have opened, but that doesn’t need to rob you of your photography opportunities. You can head to the woods to take advantage of the natural shelter. Your surroundings will give you perfect inspiration; evergreen trees are beautiful at any time of the year, and old growth woodlands with ivy will still have this foliage in winter. Try out different types of shots – a dusky foreground with the focus further back can draw a person into the photo and give the experience of actually being there.

8. Too miserable to go outside?
If you’ve exhausted your photo opportunities, or the weather just isn’t playing ball, then you can use the time to print your photos to brighten up your home. Make a classic montage or just have a few standalone prints. Admiring your favourite photos adds an extra dimension of enjoyment to your photography.