UK snow 2019 tips: Perfect photos, driving and pet safety

image copyrightGetty Images

Brace yourself, we're in for another few days of snow - if the forecasts are right there'll probably be the usual mix of travel disruption and missing work or school.

Social media will become clogged up with endless, monotonous, snow photos.

Plus, if you do get a few days off school or college - you'll need to know the best way to look after your cat or dog.

Here's an essential guide to prepare for the weather.

How to make your Instagram snaps stand out from the crowd

image copyrightGideon Knight

Colour, light and composition - those are the main things you have to remember when taking this year's snow snaps.

That's according to Gideon Knight, who was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2016.

"You need something in the foreground that stands out against the snow, something with good colours," he says.

"If I saw a gull sitting a field it would be difficult, but if there's something with more colour - a robin for example - the red in its breast will stand out really well."

image copyrightAndy Stokes / Weather Watchers
image captionThis one was taken by Andy in Buckinghamshire

Or, he says, you can also achieve this by changing your background.

"If it's still snowing and you want to get a shot of some snowdrops, a good trick is to use something dark in the background like a holly bush.

"This way the white snow shows up really well against it."

image copyrightGideon Knight
image captionGideon's The Moon and the Crow photo saw him named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2016

Snow pics can often appear duller because your phone camera tries to over-compensate for so much whiteness.

Gideon suggests using your phone to turn up the brightness or over-expose the photo, "which will give a crisp, white colour - like the one you see with your eyes".

When it comes to composition, Gideon says: "One of the best rules for photography is the rule of thirds, which means you section your image up into a three-by-three grid and compose your image along the lines.

"If you have something in the foreground on the right, it's often good to have something balancing it on the left of the image in the background."

How to drive without skidding

media captionWe got some tips on driving on ice last year

If you have to drive in icy conditions, there's always a risk of skidding.

And while we're all taught what to do if we skid in our driving lessons, it's easy to panic and forget the essentials.

Luckily, there are only three main things to remember, says Lorne Mitchener from Thruxton Motorsport Centre.

Firstly, take your foot off the gas as soon as soon as you feel your car start to slide.

The second thing is not to hit the brakes.

"You don't want to get the car locked up and put it into a bigger slide," says Lorne.

"Thirdly, work the steering," he says.

"Follow the car. If the car wants to go left, turn the wheel to the left.

"Pause, and the turn it back. If it doesn't work the first time, do it again.

"As soon as the car's going back in the direction, you want, that's your cue - you can get back on the throttle, but gently."

image copyrightMaggie T/Weather Watchers
image captionMaggie sent this photo in to us from Nottinghamshire

How to make sure your pets are safe

media captionAdvice from the RSPCA on how to look after pets while it's snowing

Obviously, you need to make sure your pet has somewhere warm and dry to go after they've been playing outside in the snow.

But you should also check their paws for snow - as it can harden into balls of ice between the pads.

You should also remember that grit and salt on the roads can be irritable or poisonous to your pet's skin, and the RSPCA suggests washing your dog after being in the snow.

image copyrightGetty Images

But when it comes to putting a coat on your dog, the RSPCA's recommendation is that only older or ill dogs need coats.

They add that you shouldn't force it on if your dog doesn't want to wear one.

And your pet will use more energy to keep warm - so it's a good idea to give them a bit of extra food.

A version of this article entitled: "How to take the perfect snow snap" appeared on 11 December 2017.

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