Pin Me

Ski Photography - Tips and Tricks

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 11/16/2009

Heading to the slopes this winter? Grab your camera! You can take some amazing shots just by following some simple techniques and getting some practice in. Master the art of ski photography this winter!

  • slide 1 of 4


    The ski season is upon us, and it’s also time for getting those perfect winter shots. But, how do you go about capturing that perfect ski photograph? Well, here are some tips and tricks for getting that perfect ski shot.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Photography Equipment

    First of all, you need to have some good equipment. You need a camera where you can adjust the shutter speed. For some shots, you want a fast shutter speed (action shots), but for others you’re going to want to have a slower shutter speed for taking amazing Photo by William A. Franklin winter landscape pictures. Also, bring a light meter. The winter sun is bright on the snow. If you don’t offset the intensity of that light with the right exposure, your subjects will be under-exposed.

    Also, invest in a great camera bag. You are going to be out in the open in cold, wet conditions. You don’t want to get water in your camera and ruin it. Besides, a well-padded bag will ensure that your equipment doesn’t get bumped and bruised if there is an accident. Falls are common on ice and snow. Plus, your bag will keep your camera warm, which means you won’t have a problem with static electricity. Static electricity can destroy all your film and all your hard work.

    Always bring extra batteries. Cold weather will sap power from your batteries quicker than when you’re working in warmer weather. So, have extras on hand in case this does happen.

  • slide 3 of 4

    Photography Techniques

    Next, know your equipment. There’s nothing worse than trying to take a shot of a skier, and you’re shot is delayed due to your flash. Speaking of flash, always use your flash when taking outdoor and mountain shots. While this may seem counter-intuitive, it will light up your foreground, which will help lighten up your subject. You can also use a filter to counteract the light as well and give the shot a little different hue.

    Also, look for something that you can use for contrast. For example, if you can find a boulder that you know skiers will go around, it will make your shot easier to take and give it some color. Colorful skiers can also be used as a contrast to the white of the snow. Photo by NachoMC  Skiers usually wear brightly decorated gear. Look for one of these skiers to make a really eye-catching shot.

    If you’re going for action shots, you need to lead the subject a bit. You should look for a skier coming down a hill towards you or just having passed you. This will help you avoid blurring the shot. But, you also need to keep the skier in the center of the shot. So, this may take some practice. You should take your skis off as well to give yourself a bit better balance when trying to take shots, especially these types of shots since you need a steady hand.

    But, if you want to give the illusion that your subject is moving fast down the hill, you’re going to want some blurring in the shot. You can do this by changing the shutter speed to a slower speed. Then follow the skier with your camera, ensuring that you’re keeping the skier in the center of the shot. Pan the camera after the skier, and this will create the blur.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Finally, Have Patience...and a lot of film

    The key to capturing the best shot is to take a lot of them. You can take 100 shots and only get two that are worth keeping. But, if you hadn’t taken that many shots, you would never have even those two. And, finally, take pictures in the safest location possible. Don’t stand where you know skiers are going to be coming down the hill right on top of you. You could hurt yourself and someone else. Or, if you do need to take a front-on shot, let skiers know that you are there with a signal or sign of some sort.