If you’re setting off on a ski holiday, the chances are you will want to get some amazing pictures from the slopes.
Perhaps you’re looking to capture your friends and family in action as they practise their new skills on the slopes, or would like some more artistic images of professional kickers up in the air.
However, on the pistes it can be tricky to get the best shots, whether it be due to many fast-moving skiers, unsightly background objects like ski lift masts, or simply because it is so bright.
However, with the right knowledge, you can still take some truly amazing pictures during your next ski trip, whether it be to Verbier, Le Chable or elsewhere. Here are our top tips for ski photography.
Getting the skier in focus
This may seem very obvious, but it’s absolutely essential to ensure before moving on to get the perfect image. If your shots are not in focus there is little point following further steps to get different effects. Make sure that your camera is in focus before you take each shot, listening out for the small bleep it may make to indicate that it is ready to capture the image. Although a photo may look in focus on the small screen of your device, when viewed in full size on a computer screen it may be blurry. You definitely don’t want all of your shots to turn out blurred, so ensure they are crisp and clear by always checking the focus.
The right sizing
One of the easiest mistakes to make in ski photography is simply being too far away from the subject. If the skier is a small figure in the frame there will be much less impact, so try to get as close as possible to them and discuss with them before they descend the slopes where they intend to ski so that you can position your shot so they fill it. Try not to zoom in too close as it is difficult to keep moving objects in frame. However, try to fill the shot as much with the figure as possible so that you can display the action and excitement the skier is experiencing to the full.
Mastering lighting is essential to producing clear, bright images with vibrant colours. With lots of white snow around, it can be easy to either over-expose and find the snowy areas are too white and ‘blown out’, or underexposed, grey and grainy. Try switching to manual exposure and ensure that for your chosen ISO, shots per second and aperture, your exposure dial is in the middle of the scale. Take some practise shots where you think the skier may descend and make changes until the whites are bright but not glaring, and the colours pop.
You may have heard photographers and enthusiasts talk about the ‘rule of thirds’. This integral aspect of photography is the fundamental of composition that will allow you to take great pictures, all framed ideally. Simply imagine what you see through the camera has two vertical and two horizontal lines crossing it. All of the points where lines cross are where you should aim to position points of interest, such as the skier. This is more pleasant for the eye and will frame foreground and background items in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
When photographing your friends and family skiing, try your best to minimise distractions in the shot. Avoid catching glimpses of ski lifts, buildings or groups of people in the background as this will draw the eye away from the subject and their skills. Many of the best skiing shots simply feature the skier with a plain white background of snow and powder spray, or the edge of the piste and a crisp blue sky. However, images with mountain peaks in the background and other simple points of interest can also look striking.
If you really want to display the talent of your fellow skier when leaping through the skies or pulling of a particularly impressive run, then you will need a point of reference. Those viewing your images will not be able to gaze in awe at the heights the subject reached unless there is some point to show them just how high this was. Sometimes shots of skiers against a blue sky look great, but often it’s best to get the kicker in the foreground and snow perhaps some nearby mountainside or even a tree, just to add some perspective.
Mix it up
In-action ski shots may be what you are striving to capture, but there are a number of other forms of photography you can try out in the mountains to document your whole luxury ski holiday experience. Perhaps try out a few candid shots of your family as they are trying out the slopes for the first time, creating special memories they will never forget. For an artistic challenge, try your hand at mountain landscape photography, studying the dramatic lines of the pistes against atmospheric skies. You could even branch into macro photography and capture some of the gorgeous Alpine flowers in Verbier and Le Chable’s emerging meadows. And, of course, be sure to get lots of family snaps inside your Verbier accommodation or Le Chable to keep those precious memories alive of the indulgent evenings of fine dining, spa treatments and laughter around the open fire.