How to take photos of winter sports

Some people find winter sport activities to be more fun than their summer counterparts. It surely depends on one’s opinion, but one thing is for sure – also many photographers prefer to shoot winter sports.

Let’s start with proper specification of a problem – all winter sports are very dynamic activities: Bobsleigh, ice hockey, ski jump and other are surely sports, which do not let photographer to be too hesitating or there will be no nice photos. On the other side, common winter photographing is usually not very hard thanks to excellent reflected light.

As usually, when taking shoots of winter sport, one must decide whether he or she wants to capture it statically or in motion. It is absolutely on preferences of author – someone may need excellent detailed photo for sport magazine and other needs action (moving postures) for sporting blog.

Because people are very slow beings, it is recommended to shoot sport actions with sequence regime. It is absolutely needed with one-action sports like ski jump, ski acrobatics or bobsleigh. On the other side, with ice dancing, ice hockey or ice sculpting you may take your time.

How to set your camera for winter sports photo

Because we want usually perfect photos of persons, not snow, do not forget to switch from “Program AE” or “Auto” to “Shutter Priority”, “Aperture Priority” or full “Manual”.

Note, check our article Differences between Automatic and Semi-Automatic Camera Modes.

There is also important to set exposition to “Center Weighted” or “Center”, because if you would use “Average” you’ll get whole scene (i.e. snow, persons, billboards, …) averaged on middle gray which result in too dark scene.

Well, you may use “Exposure Corrections”, however this will not guarantee time as “Shutter Priority” will.

For emphasis on move use slower times (1/50 s – 1/100 s), for accentuation of posture use faster times (1/250 s – 1/500 s or less). If you want to use extremely good times on telephoto end of your objective (i.e. you shoot from afar, across river etc.), you’ll need also objective with great aperture (they usually cost so much more, that we recommend simply just going nearer).

Winter sports photography

Winter sports photography

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And one last thing – do not also forget, that batteries in frozen air behave differently, which usually means less energy gathered from them. It is not bad idea to store replacement pack in your poke, so it has temperature above zero and then behave smoothly when needed.