Are you a professional photographer looking to build your portfolio? Or maybe you’re just a parent hoping that your vacation photos will turn out okay. Whatever your reasons for seeking photography tips, here are just nine ways to ensure that your skiing pictures are of the highest quality.
1. Keep Your Camera Warm
Batteries tend to fail in the cold, so keep your equipment as warm as possible when you’re on the slopes. If you’re using a handheld camera, store it inside your parka where it can absorb your body heat; if you’re lugging around a large DSLR, consider keeping it in an insulated backpack or bag.
2. Buy the Right Gloves
You can’t work the buttons of a camera when your fingers are stiff with cold. Invest in a pair of warm yet touch-sensitive gloves that will allow you to manipulate controls or use a touchscreen without taking them off.
3. Plan It Out
It’s very, very difficult to snap good skiing candids. A better strategy is to set things up in advance for the perfect picture: For example, you might coordinate with your subject so they’ll come flying over the cliff at the exact moment that you have your camera pointed and ready.
4. Have A Signal
In the same vein as the above, it’s a good idea to have a set of wordless signals worked out between you and your subject. You can wave your arms or whistle when your equipment is ready, and then they’ll know it’s okay to start skiing towards you.
5. Turn On Autofocus
When a skier is racing down a mountain in a cloud of white snow, you don’t have time to wait around for your camera to focus. You’ll need a model that comes with instant and high-quality autofocus, and these controls will need to be on when you’re pointing and shooting.
6. Know Your Shutter Speeds
Fast shutter speeds can be used to freeze the action at a critical moment. Slow shutter speeds can be used to give the illusion of movement with blurred backgrounds but sharp skiing figures. There’s no right way to do it, so experiment with shutter speeds of both 1/1000th and 1/30th of a second to see which you like best.
7. Understand Your Limitations
Flash settings generally fail after a certain distance. Other cameras might have limited shutter speeds. Know the limitations of your equipment before you get on the slopes and have an unpleasant surprise.
8. Set Your Exposure
Many skiing photos are underexposed because their photographers just assumed that the bright white snow didn’t need fine-tuned exposure settings. This is a mistake! You should always fiddle with your exposure until it’s suitable for the day, weather, setting and subject.
9. Find a Role Model
Look for a photographer in the industry whose techniques you love and can emulate. For example, something like a Jim Decker profile can give you great inspiration if you’re a fan of his work. By copying his techniques, you’ll eventually gain enough confidence and skill to create your own.
These are just nine tips for better skiing photography. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time behind the camera, these techniques should help you capture clearer, more striking moments every time.