How to Create Natural Looking Snow in Photoshop

Want to capture the perfect snowfall in your photos? For clear, crisp snow that falls around your subject, rather than intruding and creating blotches over the model’s face or over the beautiful scenery, you might want to consider adding it in in post-production:

Aaron Nace offers us another great tutorial that is incredibly helpful. It’s actually possible to create natural-looking snow from scratch in Photoshop. And, it’s easy; you just need to make a custom brush and use some blurring methods.

Create a Custom Brush in Photoshop

  1. Create a new document and then create two different sized round shapes with the Elliptical Marquee tool.
  2. Fill them with black by clicking Shift + Delete on a new layer.
  3. Turn the dots (your future snowflakes) into a brush by going to Edit > Define Brush Preset.
  4. Now you can return to the image document and select the brush you just made under the Brush tool.
  5. Go to Window > Brush to change settings and elements, like size, roundness and opacity jitters, angle and scattering, to make the dots actually look like snow.

create custom brush

Layer the Snowflakes

To make the snow look like it’s real, you need to layer the falling snow. Create a new layer and use a smaller sized brush to add small snowflakes so they look like they are off in the distance. Keep adding layers, increasing the size of the brush (and therefore snowflakes) as you go.

The trick is to keep the smaller snowflakes above the ground and the larger snowflakes can be painted over the ground to appear closest to the camera.

create snowflakes in photoshop

Add Blur to Give Flakes Motion

As is, the snowflakes are going to look quite round and defined. You can blur them to give them a more natural look. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and adjust the blur to your liking.

This looks better, but not quite real yet. You also have to add an element of motion to make it look like the snow is falling. Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and choose an angle that the snow will be falling at and the distance.

add blur in photoshop

Finishing Touches

When you add snow in Photoshop, you have the luxury of being able to move it and erase it. Play around with the layers to get the snow exactly where you want it to be and erase flakes as necessary.

photoshop snow tutorial

With these simple steps, you can create wonderful looking winter portraits. Sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate, so you have to create it yourself!

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

One response to “How to Create Natural Looking Snow in Photoshop”

  1. Oh love it. We are supposed to get loads of snow shortly (Wales, UK) but at the moment it’s just raining! I’d love to get out there and get some snow portraits done and being able to add the snow falling would be great. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever