How to shoot snowflakes with a smartphone

As a kid I was once told that every single snow flake is unique and no two snowflakes carry the same pattern. I was also told that snowflakes actually look more like stars than those feather-like soft things floating from the sky. 

Most of that seemed more like fairytale stuff than reality. 

So imagine our disbelief when we saw this image come in from Christian Bobadilla in NYC: 

Even we were amazed of what some creative photographers could do with a simple lens like a Pocket Lens Macro. 

And there have been many more since that one. 

We figured it would be cool to bring a little how-to guide for aspiring photographers and snowflake discoverers and with no further ado, here it is: 

A quick guide to capturing snowflakes, before it's too late for this year. 

1. Let it fall

Sounds obvious but you need to capture the snow when it falls, once it has fallen it changes and you won't get a great picture. 

2. Bring an extra sweater

To capture the snowflakes you need a surface that wont melt them. It's easiest on a really wooly sweater or blanket. The fine hairs/fibers of the wool catch the snowflakes and ensure they don't melt immediately. 

This picture by Scott Allen exemplifies it perfectly (BTW, follow him, his pics are amazing)

3. Shoot fast and plenty

As with all macro pictures, you're going to need to shoot a lot. It's not easy getting the focus right. So take as many pictures as you can before it melts. From experience you'll need to be super fast at seeing the flakes as they drop, rapidly moving there, getting in focus and shooting. 

A post shared by Pocket Lens (@pocket_lens) on

4. In the light

You need to get real close, and you need to get the light right. Usually you'd want to have the light behind you but as you're going to get real close with your Pocket Lens and phone you'll cast a shade. So work out to have the light from the side or use a piece of paper to soften the light. 

This picture by Samantha Rose is stunning because the entire flake is not melted and laying flat and you'll see that's not an easy capture. 

5. Try try try and have some fun

And because you can shoot almost unlimited pictures with your phone and see the result immediately, just shoot as much as you can and you'll find some new and great ideas. 


More Inspiration

We've included more pictures from #pocketlens users for your inspiration. And if you can't get any snowflakes, there's always some great ice pics you can get. 

Ice patterns by Allie S. on Instagram

Incredible frost on a window by Gracedidit on Instagram

Morning dew turns to frost. 

More amazing snowflakes by Samathan Rose

Frost crystals also by Samantha Rose

And more...

A perfectly shapes snowflake by Kate on Instagram

Ice building on window by 1981genn on Instagram

Ice crystals by ElinGann on Instagram

Got something to share?

If you have any snowflake or other awesome Pocket Lens pictures, share them with us! We'd love to feature you. Use the hashtag #pocketlens on Instagram and we'll be sure to see them.