11-07-2011, 12:38 PM
It really depends upon the surroundings I suppose. A fast enough shutter speed will obviously freeze the flakes mid air, but of course lighting is uber important as well. Direct flash will usually result in blown out flakes, not desirable at all.
You don't necessarily need an expensive lighting system though, either. Nothing wrong with shooting in the sun, while looking for a nice dark background to shoot in front of. I'd also recommend a shallow DOF in order to isolate the subject (snow) and definitely manually focusing in order to pinpoint one plane of field.
It's not all about shutter speed either, though. Focal length matters a lot in terms of isolating subjects. The longer the focal length, the greater the chance that you'll be able to localize the snow, simply by choosing a background subject, then focusing in front of it just a bit. This creates a wonderful contrast between the two things. Experimentation is key.
What else... Never shoot in the middle of the day unless it's overcast. Usually the morning time or very late afternoon is best because of the shadows being cast by the angle of the sun. You never want the sun directly overhead. You might also want to use a bit of exposure compensation, like +1 or +2 to let in a bit more light. Snow is tricky and usually tends to fool a camera's sensor. You want to meter the light correctly, as well as the white balance. Using an 18% grey card usually does the trick, ya just have to know how to use one.
Lots of little things go into shooting different scenes, it's not just spray and pray or point shoot and hope. There definitely is a skill involved, and half of it is just knowing the technical stuff. The rest is experience and a good eye.
Also, since there are so many techniques involved, there's not just one right way.
But I think we should resolve the type of camera he wants first