But taking good pictures that you’ll want to look back on for years to come can be hard on a ski getaway. You’re probably using a phone, it’s cold, and all the snow often makes you end up with overexposed pictures.
Not anymore! Simon John Owen is Momentum Ski’s official photographer and co-founder at Wonderhatch. Creating inspiring content that works is the heart of Simon’s business, so he knows a thing or two about taking great photos. He has some tips to help elevate your ski photos from good to great.
Taking a picture on your phone is by far the easiest way when you’re on the go. It’s easy to bring thanks to its size and phone camera specifications are getting better and better. However, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you get the most out of your phone photography.
First things first: Good pics still require good light with phone cameras and light is still the most important aspect of taking a good picture with a phone.
1. Don’t Have a Light-mare
Nothing is worse than standing in the freezing cold with a beautiful snowy mountain background behind you only to find out that your happy smile is too dark to see.
The best time of day to shoot photographs is early morning or late afternoon. During these times, the sun’s at a lower angle so it’s less harsh and gives off a warmer feel. Avoid taking any photos during the middle of the day when the sun is high, as it can flatten images.
If in doubt, override the auto settings and put the flash on – they are pretty puny so you are never really in danger of irreparable overexposure. With portraits, it’ll provide a nice catch of light in the eyes or accentuate the texture of the fabric, which is always a bonus. It also has the added benefit of masking unwanted grain and muddy images associated with low light.
2. Are You Shooting Into the Sun?
Shooting into the sun can be great for that lens flare effect that’s so popular in lifestyle imagery.
But it’ll also have the camera’s metering system considering the image to be too bright, causing it to overcompensate and making images too dark. Counter this by;
- Putting flash on override.
- Turning on the HDR (High Dynamic Range) option.
- If possible, turn your subject around so they are not backlit and have the light source on their face (if a portrait).
3. Three’s the Magic Number
Three’s a crowd, right? Not in photography!
The Rule of Thirds is the best known “rule” of photographic composition and it’ll instantly improve your ski photography. Best of all? It’s straightforward and easy to do.
The basic idea behind the theory is easy. Just imagine breaking your image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically, so you have nine blocks. If you can’t picture this on your screen, most smartphones and cameras have a grid option that you can turn on.
Now, position your subject along the grid intersections or along the lines. This technique creates more balance and an impressive photo.
4. More on Formatting
Whilst it’s eminently possible to crop an image after the shot, to get the best results and maximise the resolution of the sensor, consider the format and composition of the image; will it be better in a square format, panoramic, or another mode?
Remember, panoramic mode can work well in portrait as well as landscape, especially if you find yourself before a mountain peak wondering how you are going to capture the entirety of the giant thing. If you try and do portraits in panorama mode, you’ll need a steady hand and a still subject! Finally, experiment with imaginative cropping – it can make an ordinary image special.
In the example above, with the expansive landscape, trees and mountains, a normal format wouldn’t have done it justice… Panorama mode on.
5. Be Spontaneous
The most compelling thing about a phone camera is that you’ll most likely have it on you and therefore you’ll have the ability to capture those special moments on the slopes that would’ve been lost only a few years ago.
Don’t be afraid to snap a spontaneous selfie. A selfie stick is a great option, but don’t worry if you don’t have one (or don’t want to bring it with you). To take the perfect ski selfie without a selfie stick, hold your smartphone a full arm’s length away and use the earphone volume control as a shutter release or self-timer. No need to tap the screen with those ski gloves on!
6. Be Creative
There are many different techniques you can employ with a phone camera…
To get the effect in the above photo, you’d need to think about positioning yourself so you’re fairly low get the right angle and capture the mountain reflection in the frozen lake.
To focus in on the details in the frozen lake, simply tap the screen on the foreground. Don’t be afraid to experiment with techniques and ideas, that is the part of the joy!
7. Catch That Skier in Motion
Skiing is a notoriously fast-paced activity. You might not think it’s possible to get an awesome action shot, as most of them just turn out blurry.
Enter burst mode. You can find this setting in most smartphones. Simply hold down the shutter button and multiple photos will be taken in quick succession, 10 per second to be exact!
This means you’re way more likely to catch stunning action shots of you and your fellow ski pals shredding powder.
What To Do With Your Ski Holiday Shots
Now that you’ve taken all these great pictures, it’s time to show them off! Here are a couple of ideas:
- Share them on social media, like Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag the place where you took the picture, the friends you were with, or the organisation you were travelling with. Trust me, they love to see your work (and maybe even share it).
- If you want to share your pictures online, you can also create a blog post detailing your ski trip, or a slideshow.
- Go old school and get them printed to put in a photo album, scrap book, or picture frame.
- Or just get a photo book printed. You can put it together online and it’ll be delivered to you.
- Turn them into Christmas cards to send to family next winter.
- You can get your photo printed on a canvas to hang on your wall, or you can also get pictures printed on mugs, pillows, clothes, phone cases, and even playing cards!
You Tell Us
So it goes to show that the old photographic principles still apply whatever you are shooting with; light, composition and creativity. Adjust your perceptions and have some fun with your phone, it’s an amazing tool…
Now that we’ve provided you with seven tips to taking great ski photos, it’s time for you to give us suggestions. Show us your epic ski photos in the comments and tell us how you took that awesome shot!
If you’re feeling inspired to head to the Alps and get some incredible ski holiday photos of your own, get in touch today and we can put your plans into action.
If you’re not quite ready to book a holiday, sign up to our free email course to learn everything you need to know about booking a ski weekend.