Shooting a good photo of skiers isn’t easy, but with some practice you can even take great ski shots with your iPhone. Being able to look back on the memories you had skiing with your best friends and family can be so wonderful. It’s even better if you feel like the photos you snapped could go on your wall for a lifetime. With a few tips and some practice on the slopes, you can easily learn how to take a good ski photo and how to get into ski photography.
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a compositional principle that has been used by artists for centuries. It can help you create a well-balanced and more pleasing image. It has to do with separating the image into 9 parts. Three parts top to bottom and three parts left to right.
When using the rule of thirds, place the subject — and any elements that you want to emphasis — along one of the intersection points. This will give your composition a more natural feel.
It also provides more space for the rest of the frame to breathe and show the environment. This can be particularly useful for landscapes or portraits where people are in focus.
Often, you can simply preview the grid in the viewfinder or enable it in your camera settings. This will automatically help you compose your image, so it’s a good practice to add it into your creative process as soon as possible.
Putting your skier in one of the four intersections near the corners of the image and having their face visible and looking into the rest of the image is one of the easiest ways to show where the scene is and show the person enjoying themselves in the scene. The rule pf thirds is essential when learning how to take a good ski photo.
Light is a tricky one, but important when learning how to take a good ski photo. In the northern hemisphere, ski areas are often built on north facing slopes because they have the most shade and preserve snow the longest. East faces get light first thing in the morning and west faces are lit up in the afternoon. Shooting in the shade on north facing slopes can be hard because it is shady, but that is where the best snow is.
In order to get the best shots of people enjoying their time, make sure they are in the light. If action or silhouettes are your priority, then a person in the shade with a lit up backdrop can work well.
Be able to see their face, or at least where they’re looking
Be it an action shot, an apres shot, or a bunch of friends standing at the top of a mountain, show people’s faces. It’s who we are and it’s who you’re enjoying your ski trip with. Get them to smile by telling a joke just before you take the picture or think of some ski photo ideas before you go out to create some ski photography art from skiing with your friends.
If somebody is skiing, have them ski at you rather then away from you. See if you can take a picture of them across the mountain with them looking down the hill where they are going. Show the scenery that they are skiing into. Facial expressions bring life to photographs, and skiing is fun, so why not take pictures of your friends while they’re smiling. Being able to see their face or where they are going will help create a great ski photo and improve your ski photography skills.
Now that you know how to take a good ski photo, it’s time to start practicing! Ski photography is one of the most challenging types of photography, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. Cold fingers, skiing with a camera, dead batteries, and changing weather are very tricky to work around. Despite all the challenges, sometimes we get one that’s worth looking at for a long time.
The best way to get better at taking ski photos or becoming a ski photographer is to do it as much as possible. Even if it’s whipping out your phone to shoot a photo here and there, the more you do it, the better you’ll get. It’s likely that you’ll learn where somebody should ski in order to appear the right size in your picture. Figuring out which zoom setting to be on to get the shot you want is part of practice too.
When in doubt, pull the camera out. You never know what precious ski moments you might capture. If you practice a lot with the same friend, you might even get pretty good at posing certain moments.
With these ski photography tips from White Cloud Concierge, eventually you will get the perfect ski shot. If you want some practice taking great backcountry ski photos in a low risk area in the Wasatch mountains check out Four Simple Ski Tours in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Now get out on the slopes and take some pictures!