How to give your photos a snow effect in Photoshop.

Learn how to create whimsical winter scenes with these pro photo editing tips.

Holiday cards, winter weddings — snowy photoshoots can be magical in the right conditions. But while you may be a talented photographer, you're likely not a magician. Here’s a useful photo editing tip: Adobe Photoshop has a wide range of photo effects that can help you create a snowy scene for that inevitable case of a winter photo shoot without the winter.

Add snow in 6 simple steps.

  1. Add your layer. Open your image in Photoshop. Add a layer (Layer 1) by going to Layer > New > Layer.
  2. Design your layer. Fill Layer 1 with black so that it appears as a dark square on top of your background. (You can fill by using either the Paint Bucket tool or the Edit > Fill command.) Use the Add Noise filter to create a snowy-looking effect. (Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise.) Select the Gaussian and Monochromatic options so that the effect is in black and white. This will be your “snow.”
  3. Blur and reduce your noise. Soften the noise by blurring it. Again, you can do this in one of two ways. Filter > Blur > Blur will work, but doesn’t give you any controls. A better option is Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. You can use the Levels command to play with the noise contrast. Heighten snowy effects with the white slider, and remove noise with the black slider. You’ll use the black slider heavily — drag it to the right until you’ve removed most of the noise and are left with what looks like snow. (If you prefer a more intuitive control of the contrast, try using Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast instead of the Levels command.)
  4. Blend it in. Time to hide those black areas and bring out the remaining white "snow." Blend modes make this easy. Set Blend mode to Screen. This will replace the black with your background image and bring the remaining white to the foreground. Voila — snow.
  5. Soften the look. Use the Motion Blur filter (Filter > Blur > Motion Blur) to soften and blend the snowflakes a bit more.
  6. Add more layers and play around. Use the Layers feature to add more layers of snow to your composition, depending on how wintry you want to go. Experiment away for your perfect winter mood.

Any season, any time.

Discover additional tips and tricks. And learn more about how to use Photoshop to enhance all of your seasonal photoshoots — with sun, snow, clouds, rain, you name it.