6 Expert Tips for Ski Photography

Ski photography is a dangerous game—there’s snow flying everywhere and skiers shooting past you, and through the chaos you need to be ready to capture every moment while your subject is zooming down a mountain. You can’t ask them to turn back and try again, because that will take at least 10 minutes of waiting on a chairlift and getting back into the same position. In this video, veteran extreme sports photographer Corey Rich shows us six key tips for shooting downhill skiing:

1. Choose a good model.

Don’t just choose someone who looks good or is a good skier, but someone who understands that this is a slow process, with a lot of stopping and waiting around for you, the photographer, to get ready.

2. Select the right clothing.

Lay out the athlete’s clothing first thing in the morning and select an outfit that will work all day. Blue tends not to work against a bright blue sky, but contrasting bright colors (lime green, hot pink, tangerine) tend to work well. If there’s a bit of matching with the skis and boots, that also turns out nice.


3. Bring a backpack.

Rich recommends the Lowepro Flipside 500 AW, but anything will work as long as it zips up tight. Even if you don’t have a lot of gear, having the space to store extra clothes is nice.

4. Have both wide and telephoto lenses.

Rich carries a Nikon D4s (“the ultimate sports photographer’s camera,” he says, for its sharpness and terrific auto-focus) with a 14-24 f/2.8 for wide-angle shots and a 70-200 f/2.8 for close-ups.


5. Protect yourself against the sun.

The sun can be a harsh mistress, and if you’re spending all day under the bright blue skies, strong sunblock and a baseball cap are good ideas. Re-apply the sunblock as often as your pale skin requires.


6. Have space on the chairlift.

Before you sit down, ask the person beside you in line if you can have the space to yourself. This will allow you to use the space for your presumably large and heavy backpack. Place the backpack in your lap if there is no chair space. With enough room and agility, you can prepare lenses or even snap a few shots while you’re up there.

“I’m never leaving the backpack on…. You’re gonna get pushed right off the chair. You feel pretty foolish when you’re laying on your face in front of everybody as they have to stop the chair.”

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