5 Winter Sports Photography Tips

In the mountains the first snow is falling and that is an irresistible invitation for the winter sports enthusiasts among us. Within a few weeks the skiers, cross-country skiers and snowboarders will head for the Alps and their cameras will focus on anything that seems interesting. But when the photos are viewed in retrospect, the disappointment can be big. photos underexposed, snow that looks gray, hazy images …


When the weather is nice and the mountains and ski slopes bathe in the sunlight, it may well be that even your sunglasses are not enough to dim the strong light. The light reflects on the white snow and reinforces the strong altitude sun. Your camera will also suffers from sunlight. Especially when you photograph in automatic mode. Your camera looks at the scene, does its algebra and decides to underexpose the picture. It is therefore advisable to photograph in manual mode in such situations or to overexpose your “exposure compensation” in automatic mode. Look in the manual of your camera for “exposure compensation”

(what does one mean by a “stop” in photography?

A stop is a doubling or halving of the amount of light that the camera’s sensor reaches when taking a photo.) When you hear someone say that he is going to the exposure with 1 stop raising, he means that he doubles the exposure in the photo compared to the previous photo.)


When photographing in JPEG, it is important that you set your white balance correctly for each scene. When you shoot in full sun you put your white balance on the sun, it is cloudy then you put it on the cloud and so on. If you do not do this and if you photograph a skier in good weather with your white balance you will get a blue hint in the snow.

When you shoot in RAW, the white balance setting of your camera is not so important because you have to reproduce the photos anyway and then put your white balance correctly.

Shutter speed

Do you shoot action shots of skiers or snowboarders who seem to have been fired by a cannon and jumps and halfpipes it is important that your shutter speed is fast enough. From a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second, you can “freeze” most of the action. If you go too slow in shutter speed, you risk getting motion blur or blurred subjects. Here an SLR camera does have an advantage on compact cameras.


But more important than all technical know-how and institutions is your composition. Do not always try to place your subject in the middle of your image, think of the third-party rule. keep in mind your background. Nothing as disturbing as the mast of a ski lift that grows from the head of your subject or an ugly building behind that snowboarder who just made a perfect 360. Keep an eye on the horizon, which should generally be ‘horizontal’.

Keep going

As a last tip, I want to say that your batteries are draining much faster in the cold. Make sure you have at least one or two extra batteries with you and wear it on your body, in your jacket or pocket so that it stays warm. Keep on trying, if you only take one photo per day, the chances of making a fantastic shot are quite small. Take lots of photos, change compositions and learn from the result. It is impossible to make the perfect photos in a day (or holiday).