How to Shoot Perfect Powder Shots

Get equipped to capture a frameworthy picture every time.
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Shoot a ski photo

Here are pro photog Adam Clark's tips on how to take perfect pow shots.

If you're committed, shell out for a digital camera with a single lens reflex (SLR). The SLR Canon Rebel with a 70-200mm lens is a perfect place to start.

Before a storm hits, find steeps that skiers can hit with speed. Look for shots with an uncluttered background, like the sky or dark cliff bands. Don't shoot against snow: You'll lose all definition.

Be ready to roll as soon as the sun comes out. Mornings generally have the best light. Bring radios to talk with your skiers as well as lens wipes to soak moisture off your glass.

A digital camera thinks it's capturing more light than it actually is because of light reflecting off the snow. This means pictures will look dark. Compensate by overexposing the shot by two stops. Open the camera's aperture and keep a fast shutter speed, at least 1/1000, to freeze motion.

Stand where you can capture as much of the exploding snow as possible (in front or to the side). You're shooting the snow flying around the skier rather than the actual skier.

Squeeze the shutter before, during, and after the skier passes through the shot. The more pictures you take, the more likely you'll have a decent shot.  (Quick Tip: Keep two or three skiers on deck at a shoot.  It'll speed things up and increase your odds of getting the perfect shot.)

Taking pictures in raw format eats up memory. Bring plenty of cards—as many as you can afford—and resist the urge to edit your shots on the camera. Viewing them on a large monitor will help reveal details that you may miss on a small screen.

Learn More: Missoula, Montana's Rocky Mountain School of Photography (; 800-394-7677) offers a three-month intensive course for aspiring photographers as well as weekend workshops for digital enthusiasts around the country.


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