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How to Get Terrific Ski Photography This Winter

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

With the cold weather coming, many photographers are planning on heading out to the snow to get some great winter shots. Capturing a skier in motion is a way to get a photo you will be proud to add to your portfolio.

But capturing ski activity isn’t easy. You’ll be dealing with movement and glare making it difficult to get the right focus, composition and exposure. But if you are successful, it will be well worth the effort.

This article will discuss how to get ski photos that look terrific.

Communicate with Your Subject

Candid photos may be terrific in sports photography, but you will be best off if you communicate what you want to your subject. This will increase your chances of success in getting the shots you need.

It may be frustrating to try and go for the same shots over and over, but once you see the finished results, you will know it was all worthwhile.

Use Snowballs for Direction

When you take a photo, it’s important for the subject to know where they should be placing their feet. This can be difficult to do in an action shot in the snow, but a small snowball will do the trick.

Before taking your shot, gather snow into a small snowball and place it at the spot where you want the subject’s feet to land. This way they will know what to aim for in terms of their landing position.

Use a Fast Shutter Speed

A fast shutter speed will be necessary in capturing your subject’s fast movements. If you are shooting from far away, 1/1000 is ideal. 1/1600 or faster is better for close shots.

Get the Right Exposure

Snow is very bright, and it will fool your camera’s built-in light meter making for shots that are gray and overexposed. You can avoid this by overexposing your camera by 1 and 2/3 stops. This will ensure that the snow will come out white in your photos.

Pre-Focus Your Camera

Unless you have a highly advanced camera, chances are, it won’t have the ability to autofocus quickly enough to capture your skier’s movements. Therefore, you will want to pre-focus on the spot where you expect your skier to be and lock it in. This will ensure you get terrific shots every time.

Overemphasize Movement

The movements you capture may seem exciting in real life, but once you view them in photos, they can appear a bit static. You can give them a more dramatic flair by asking your subject to overemphasize their movements. For example, ask them to really sink their hip into the curve when turning. If they are jumping, have them tuck into a tight cannonball position.

Protect Your Gear

If you are photographing skiers, it’s likely you are doing a bit of skiing yourself. This means your camera gear will get bounced around. You also risk getting snow in your bag and soaking your gear if you leave it open.

It’s advisable to take a long a well-padded bag that is closed at all times when you are not actively shooting.

Keep Your Gear Dry

If you’re shooting in a snowy climate, your gear will get wet. Taking along waterproof cases will be helpful, but they won’t solve the problem.

It’s advisable to shoot as quickly as possible to reduce exposure to the elements. Carry a lens hood and moisture wipes for extra protection.

Don’t take your gear out as soon as you get to the lodge. Give it some time to adjust to the change in temperature instead. Not doing so will cause fog that can ruin your shots.

Once it has adjusted, place your gear near a heater or in a bag of rice to suck out extra moisture.

Ski shots can be truly amazing if you use the right techniques. The tips in this article will help you get photos you will treasure. How will you be stepping it up for these high action shoots?


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