Do’s & Don’t’s: Shoot Like a Pro

Well, sorta. Professional photographer is a big term to be calling myself. Really big. Yes, I have to take photos on a regular basis for my job and sometimes I take better photos than others but one thing is for sure—every time I pick up my camera, I get better. While I’m still weirded-out about the idea of calling myself a professional (more like one step above total noob in my opinion), I have discovered a few tricks to taking ski and snowboard shots on the hill. These aren’t rules to live shoot by (Nothing I say you should live by. Nothing.), rather as fun way to improve your shots when you’re having fun out on the hill with your friends and family. Plus, this is a great way to increase your chances of being one of our featured #happyplacefound photos on our Instagram.

DO Make sure your model (best friend, Uncle Steve, a random guy, etc.) is wearing bright colors. Avoiding crazy patterns/textures work best because they distract the viewer for what’s important: the skiing & snowboarding.

Wearing dark colors in heavy snowfall makes you hard to photography. This is also known as snow-camo.
If you want to be in the Photo of the Day, or any picture in general, wear bright colors.

DO Ask your model to smile. They’re having fun right? No one wants to see an agro making sweet turns.

Sunday River Smiling Skier
If you’re not having fun, then you’re doing it wrong.

DO Find the spot you want your model to ski/snowboard through to get the shot (the closer to your lens, the better) and have a way to communicate the directions. If you’re too far a way and your model(s) can’t hear you, throw a snowball on the spot where you want to take the shot.

Intern Kory at Sunday River making a sweet turn in fresh powder for a photo
Intern Kory nails the turn right where I wanted him to for a great close-up shot.

DON’T Have your models make direct contact with you/camera. It’s creepy. Really creepy. Exhibit A:

Dos and Don'ts of Ski Photography - Don't Make Direct Eye Contact
A good friend offered to take this photos for me. I ruined (yet another) shot by making direct eye contact, thus turning up the creep-volume to 11.

DO Have an exit plan.

Sunday River powder fail
Always have an exit plan. Always.

DON’T Shoot crappy conditions. Gasp. I know, I know. I’m admitting that sometimes conditions aren’t as good as others, but let’s face it, we’re in Maine—there are going to be fairly firm conditions at 3 p.m. on a Saturday where Grand Rapids, AmEx, and Lazy River meet. Firm, ice, variable; it’s what makes us more hardcore than our Prosecco Powder lovers on the opposite coast. But when it comes to photos, leave the hardcore aside because the last thing you want is to have a flailing model mid frame. Reason number two to avoid it: it just doesn’t look good in a photo, no matter how many Instagram filters you try. If you’re looking for that awesome pic, just find a new spot.

DO Get down low. Trust me on this one. It always makes for an awesome shot, especially with untouched corduroy or powder in front of you.

Sunday River Corduroy
Mmm. Corduroy.

DO Have fun with your photos. And don’t expect to get the perfect shot the very first time. I’ve been shooting like this for three out of the last four seasons, nearly on a daily basis and I still have a long ways to go. Regardless on how good they come out, there isn’t a soul I know that doesn’t love an action shot of them in their Happy Place.

Having fun at Sunday River Resort, Maine
Yup. Happy place officially found.
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