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5 photography tips and tricks for your best ski holiday snaps yet

You know the shot. The one where everyone is lined up at the top of the ridge, poles planted, skis together, each person barely recognisable from the next under their goggles and various ski clutter. Yes there’s a lovely mountain vista but wasn’t it the same last year and I thought a ski or snowboarding holiday was about action? As the blue sky days unfold this spring, we thought you might appreciate a little inspiration from a professional photographer, so we asked Polly Baldwin of Dynamic Pictures (have a look at her fabulous portfolio) to share her best tips.

“When Le Chardon Mountain Lodges asked me to write my top five tips for taking holiday pictures in an alpine environment, I said ‘of course, no problem’, but I have to say it’s been tricky to only give you five.”

Eight years of shooting holiday makers, professional ski and snowboarders, hotels and landscapes in this environment has given me a wealth of knowledge of how to get the best results in all sorts of different weather conditions. The first thing any pro-ski photographer will tell you is wear good gloves but this is an obvious tip, so how about some less obvious secrets to help you.The best camera is the one you have with you, so these tips will work for your mobile phone camera, your compact and all DSLRs. Remember you’re in charge, the camera does not have a mind of its own, so if the pictures are good it’s because you made them that way.

Tip 1: Change your point of view…

View point in photography is key, a little bit of consideration of the angle you take a shot can really make the difference. So lay on the floor to photograph your snowman. Get down to your children’s eye level when photographing them having a snowball fight, stand on a chair to photograph your friends partying in the Folie Douce. Do anything you can to surprise your viewer. For action shots fast shutter speeds are important, but also remember to choose your angle, safety comes first but try not to be too far away from your subject.

Tip 2: Composition is key…

Think about your backgrounds and your foregrounds. It’s hard to capture mountain vistas as large white open spaces in the foreground dominate the picture and don’t give the viewers eye anything to draw them in. Try using a telephoto lens and zoom in on the mountains beyond the slopes or put something in the foreground such as a tree, a sign or a group of people. This will help create levels within your shot making it far more interesting for the viewer.

Tip 3: Shooting into the sun…

We have all seen the quintessential action shot of the skier with the sun’s rays gleaming behind them, it’s in every ski brochure. If you have a DSLR then shooting into the sun with an aperture of 16 – 22 will get these fabulous results, but if that makes no sense to you and you have a mobile phone camera, or a compact then try to avoid shooting into the sun. If you are photographing people, try and face them slightly into the sun. If you really want the best ski shots then shoot in the morning or late afternoon, as when the sun is high in the sky around midday it can make the contrast difficult for your camera to deal with.

Tip 4: Be bold and bright…

Your camera will find it very difficult to distinguish between bright white and black so be bold and wear bright colours. Keep the grey and black for the office.

Tip 5: Compensate your exposure…

The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone when photographing snow is use exposure compensation to overexpose your pictures slightly. All cameras will want to make everything mid toned, and this can lead to problems when photographing snow. Brilliant white snow confuses your camera and it can lead to under exposed shots and snow that looks grey in the final image. There are several complicated ways to help with this but my top tip is over compensate either using exposure compensation or in post processing. If you’re using your mobile phone use Instagram, or other filters to increase the brightness after you have taken the shot.

I hope that helps you get more out of your holiday snaps, check out my website to see more of my work www.dynamicpictures.co.uk have fun on the slopes!”

Thanks Polly!

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