Yes it’s cold out, but that’s no excuse to stay indoors. Get out there and shoot; winter in Canada is gorgeous.
If you are shooting with an SLR, there are some precautions you should take.
1) Keep your batteries warm. You should have at least a couple of batteries for your SLR. Keep one battery close to your body (inside your jacket, in your underwear, etc). Switch batteries every once in a while to keep them both warm. Even if you have a battery grip on your camera that holds two batteries like I do, only keep one battery in the camera. Of course this is true for batteries in your flash, if you are shooting with off-camera flash.
2) Dress warm. Duh!
3) Protect your camera. If it’s snowing, or there’s a risk of dropping your camera, get one of those camera raincoats. eBay is a good place to get these – retail stores charge way too much for them.
5) Wear rubber gloves. I buy disposable latex gloves in bulk. I wear the gloves under my winter gloves mitts. Sometimes you need a level of dexterity that requires you to remove your winter gloves. Having rubber gloves on protects you a little bit from the cold, but more importantly, from the wind. As an oddball bonus, you won’t accidentally leave any finger prints on your lens.
6) When you bring your camera indoors, the quick temperature change might create condensation in the lens, and that’s a bad thing. Put the lens(es) in large ziplock bags – the bag will attract the condensation, thus reducing the risk of condensation within the lens assembly.
Here are some tips for good winter photography:
1) Use a tripod. This is true in any season, but it’s a good tip.
2) Overexpose. Unless you are shooting (M)anual, your camera will want to make the snow 18% gray. That’s how cameras meter. You must convince your camera that snow is supposed to be white. Set your exposure compensation (the button with the +/-) to +1. Take a test shot, and adjust if necessary. It’s okay if your snow is blown out (too bright), if your subject is something other than the snow.