If you're wondering how to best capture your upcoming ski trip to Lake Tahoe this winter, consider our 7 tips for taking great pictures on the slopes. Even if you aren't using anything more than a single-use camera, you can still take great action shots of your vacation. As long as you "know" your camera and prepare properly, you'll come home with pictures from Lake Tahoe that won't bore all your friends to death. The first step is finding the best slopes in Lake Tahoe.
- Get Familiar With Your Camera: Now that you've picked out which slopes to hit, take a minute to consider your camera. Is the shutter quick and responsive? Or does it take a second to react after you push the button? These are preparations that will help you time your shot right when you're skiing in Lake Tahoe. Also get familiar with your camera's exposure settings in the bright, snowy daylight. If you decide to go the route of a single-use camera, try to get one that has a built-in flash. This will help you get a surprisingly good exposure with the best light on the person skiing.
- Coordinate the Shot: If you are visiting Lake Tahoe with a friend or family member, briefly coordinate the shot before you go for it. Ask them where they are planning to go and position yourself considering their path. Also, it helps to have a distinct hand signal to let them know when you're ready for them to come down. If they zip past before you're ready or misinterpret the hand signal, you'll end up with pictures of empty snow or the backs of skis. There are plenty of photogenic landscapes in Lake Tahoe, but right now we're focusing on what's moving through the landscape. Know your subject!
- Shoot Where They Will Be: Bad timing also results in pictures of empty Lake Tahoe snow. After you've picked the spot to shoot from, pick a spot in front of you where you want the skier to be in the photo. Focus on that spot and when they hit it, snap away! If you have a burst mode on your camera, go ahead and use that to get several frames of them moving through your target. Shooting where your subject will be is useful for cameras with a delayed shutter. Learn the timing of your camera and then use it to your advantage.
- Keep the Camera Warm: Winters get cold out there in Lake Tahoe! And much like a person who's too cold, a camera that's too cold won't function like it's supposed to. The shutter could start lagging or your batteries could die quickly. Keep your gear warm by leaving it under your jacket or parka until you're ready to shoot. Certain camera bags can also help keep your stuff warm. Again, planning is key!
- Put the Sun At Your Back: With snow on the slopes, Lake Tahoe can be really bright and a casual photographers nightmare. Don't let the sun ruin your pictures of Lake Tahoe. Put it at your back to avoid dark, silhouetted pictures. Or, if you want the sun in the pictures, try shooting during one of Lake Tahoe's sunsets when the light from the sun isn't as harsh.
- Don't Be Afraid to Experiment: Some of the coolest snowboarding or skiing pictures you'll get in Lake Tahoe are the ones where you try something out-of-the-box. A cool trick that many photographers use is to take your pictures low to the ground. There are plenty of jumps to try out in Lake Tahoe and using this technique will make even slight jumps seem much more impressive. For some good jumps, boxes and rails in Lake Tahoe, check out Sierra-at-Tahoe. Another cool trick to use when shooting someone on jumps is to jack your shutter speed up really high. This will capture a still image of your subject in the air to give the appearance of flight. If you position yourself correctly, you could frame it so they are soaring above the beautiful Lake Tahoe landscape.
- Most of All, Have Fun: Being in Lake Tahoe and enjoying the slopes is the most important part of your trip, so most of all have fun! If taking pictures is becoming a hassle, put the camera away and just enjoy skiing. Once you're back to having fun, your pictures of Lake Tahoe will be that much better.