Professional Photographer to the Rescue: ski photography tips for dramatic action

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: ski photography tips for dramatic action shots

Final tips from our professional photographer

Final tips from our professional photographer: finding the right location

Find the right location
Finding the right photo location for these spectacular jump shots is the key. Chris is only a moderate skier, so somewhere accessible from the main pistes was key – as was a safe landing zone and a great backdrop.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: find a dark background

Find a dark background
When shooting carving shots, you need to find a background that is relatively dark so that the white spray from the turn shows up clearly in the shot.

Shoot the skier or snowboarder on a sunlit piste, but aim to frame them at a point where the mountain or slope in the distance behind them is in shadow. A high shutter speed (1/1000 sec or faster) is essential for great shots of spray.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: wait for the shot

Wait for the shot
Rob counted in his approach so that Chris could be ready to fire. The secret was to hold the framing, and wait for Rob to fall into the right spot in the photo composition. The ski-lift wires were cloned out from the sky in Photoshop.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: be aware of others

Be aware of others
You need to be aware of other skiers when setting up shots – for their safety and for your own! Take special care when setting up shots on the main piste, where people may come over the hill very quickly or out of control.

One way of signifying your presence is to place two ski poles about 25m up the slope to create an X; this has the same meaning as a red triangle to motorists.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: the old dirty mac trick

The old dirty mac trick!

Seeing your shots on your LCD is practically impossible with the glare of the sun and the snow. The only sensible solution is to bury your head and your DSLR under your coat, and inspect your shots in the impromptu shade.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: don't rely on autofocus

Don’t rely on autofocus
With these close distance wide-angle shots you can’t rely on the autofocus to be able to lock onto the subject quickly enough when they enter the frame, so you need to prefocus beforehand.

Use autofocus to focus on something at the distance the skier will pass you when you take the shot. To practise this, Ross held out a ski pole for Chris to focus on, but you can place a lump of snow at this point. When focus is set, switch to manual focus to lock the focus.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: worm's eye view

Worm’s eye view
The ramps in the park let you shoot from directly under the skiers as they practise their tricks. It helps to have someone to tell you when the next one is approaching, though!

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: get some air

Get some air!
Shooting into the sun creates dramatic shots, but the contrast requires careful post-production treatment to make sky, snow and boarder look their best.

 

Final tips from our professional photographer: keep your backpack closed

Keep your backpack closed
You need a backpack if you ski with your gear – and it is very tempting to leave it open when you take it off to set up a shot.

However, this can be a mistake. A skier can turn too close to it and fill it with snow, or it may start to slip down the slope. So keep it done up.

Even then your kit may not be as safe as you think, as Ross found out once when his whole kit bag got chewed up and spat out by a snow plough in Glencoe, Scotland!

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Ski photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day

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