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  1. #1
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    Getting into pro ski photography.

    Any of the pros on here care to talk about how they got into the ski market? I'm really interested in getting into shooting skiing in a couple seasons, especially as my main subject (auto racing) mostly leaves the ski season open. I'll openly admit that I'm a much better photographer than I am a skier, but hopefully a season pass and lots of free time this winter can help with some of that.

    I guess I don't really have any specific questions, I'm just interested in hearing about the industry.

  2. #2
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    Follow Adam Barker on Facebook... he does a great job talking about many aspects of his job, his shots, and lots of other interesting topics.

  3. #3
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    I agree with following Adam. His work is great and the information is even better.

  4. #4
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    Yeah.. Great advice....but i think you're underestimating the challenge of making it as a "pro". Part of what makes the pros pros is that they are great, experienced, passionate skiers who understand the sport and are able to take that passion and translate it to something artistically superlative.

    Yeah, tack sharp shots of smiling skiers on groomers are easy.....getting into the good shit, composing, lighting, and directing (and having access to) the best skiers who ride with power, style, and grace is another story. I wish you the best of luck, but the Gunderdersons, Barkers, Wickstroms, Pondellas, Shapiros, Manleys....they're just gonna eat you for lunch.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tap View Post
    Yeah.. Great advice....but i think you're underestimating the challenge of making it as a "pro". Part of what makes the pros pros is that they are great, experienced, passionate skiers who understand the sport and are able to take that passion and translate it to something artistically superlative.

    Yeah, tack sharp shots of smiling skiers on groomers are easy.....getting into the good shit, composing, lighting, and directing (and having access to) the best skiers who ride with power, style, and grace is another story. I wish you the best of luck, but the Gunderdersons, Barkers, Wickstroms, Pondellas, Shapiros, Manleys....they're just gonna eat you for lunch.
    I have no illusions about how hard it would be to even give this a shot, and as much as anything I'm just curious to hear what the process is like. That said, nobody was born shooting magazine covers. I feel like I have a solid foundation as far as the photography goes, and now that I'm finally at a place in my life where I can seriously work on my skiing I'm hoping I can get good enough to handle myself out in the places where good shots are made and real skiing happens within a few years of practice. And yeah, believe me I understand all about how much a passion for the subject is critical to doing good work, I often feel like the main reason I can produce nice stuff in motorsports is because I have a reasonable amount of experience as a driver and can therefore understand what's going on on the track. I actually feel like in a weird way motorsports and skiing have a lot in common in some aspects, as they're both high-speed dynamic sports that involve a lot of control over grip, lines, and momentum.

    But hell, honestly I wouldn't have a problem shooting groomers and the insides of lodges and whatever else for SKI or one of the other "luxury" ski mags. Just 'cause I wanna get out there and rip the gnar or whatever doesn't mean I'm not down to get paid to hit up the swank places earlier, and a little of me wonders if the fact that everybody hardcore is out in the BC might make it a little easier to get into shooting a market where there's a lot of money and not as much interest from the core skiers.

    But yeah, like I say, I don't really expect it to go anywhere. It's just something I thought sounded like a pretty cool niche and wanted to know more about. Thanks for the input so far.

  6. #6
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    goith and take pics and have fun only self centered assholes and cannibals "eat people for lunch"
    other than that and griz does a sweet job talking about the profession
    Oh and fuck the season pass get skins and get avvy learned or sit in the lodge and shoot "lifestyle" stuff for ski and skiing and epicski.com
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  7. #7
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    OK OK so maybe it was the beer making me a bit snarky when I got home last night. Sorry bout that. You sound like a pretty level headed guy with confidence and skills around the camera, which is a huge part of it. Share a bit of your motorsport work?

    Those guys eating you for lunch.... that does sound aggro, which in real life is probably the exact opposite...nicest guys you can meet...I just mean that they execute at such a high level that you really have to create something exceptional to compete. At the same time, some guys are naturals.....didn't Jordan Manley start shooting just 4-5 years ago?

    The advice i have gotten would be to shoot what makes you happy and once you have a decent portfolio of images that you feel are up to snuff, just reach out to the photo editors and marketing departments with a short letter introducing yourself and your work. Sure, some might not call you back, but with good stuff you'll get the job and the fame.

    Wait....you asked to hear from pros? Tap out.

  8. #8
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    Don't listen to any of these guys. If you want it bad enough you can do it. You just need to be able to produce images as good or better than anyone else out there shooting, build a network of athletes and industry relationships, and then grind away at it full time for several seasons until you realize that there's very little money to be made in the industry and you should have been shooting naked chicks or pick up trucks or faucets or any other subject matter that pays better and requires less time, risk and sacrifice. Unless of course you just really love shooting skiing. Then you might just be able to rationalize all the things you're giving up to be able to do it and take solace in the notion that you get to ski better snow in cooler places with more amazing people than just about anyone else on the planet. Unless you live on the east coast like Justin Cash, in which case you're just a masochist and none of this matters anyway.

  9. #9
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    I have nothing to offer you for advice, but am interested in seeing a couple of your favorite motorsports shots...[if they aren't nascar...]
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  10. #10
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    No real offense taken, I know how many people think they can just pick up a Rebel and suddenly be "pro". (Actually, I know somebody who's in big trouble 'cause she did that, took a wedding gig, and screwed it up...) Besides, I gotta have a moderately thick skin if I'm gonna be a Jong posting on TGR haha.

    You can check out some of my motorsports stuff on my site, http://maximstensel.com. Nothing really amazing there, I honestly am so dead after a 3 day event that I just get whatever the publication needs and don't dig for the best shots of the weekend. I've only really got stuff from the last few events because I'm always deciding my old stuff sucks. Oh, and I'd shoot NASCAR if somebody paid me enough, but it's about as far from my interests as motorsports gets. I'm a road racing guy, especially touring/GT.

    I definitely want to get skins and avy stuff and get in the BC but that'll be late season if at all. TBH I just had my first ski day after four years off snow and I was never exactly great to begin with, so I know I need to work on my basics a helluva lot more before I get out where there's cliffs to huck and no ski patrol, not to mention I need to scrape up the cash to buy gear (all I've got is boots right now until I figure out what will work for me in terms of skis) and get myself in much better physical shape if I'm gonna be climbing mountains.
    Last edited by Max Archer; 12-15-2011 at 03:52 PM.

  11. #11
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    i dunno, the one of the rally car catching 6' of air is pretty cool...
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    i dunno, the one of the rally car catching 6' of air is pretty cool...
    Thanks, that's always been one of my favorites. It's actually really old, ('06 I think) but I really want to start shooting rally again this year, it's definitely the most fun motorsports scene. I had as much fun partying with the teams as I did during the racing, too.

  13. #13
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    truth speaks the truth.
    You do it for the passion and the good times. Not for the money, because there is very, very little of it with lots of people all fighting for the same pie. But damn I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    truth speaks the truth.
    You do it for the passion and the good times. Not for the money, because there is very, very little of it with lots of people all fighting for the same pie. But damn I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!
    Your pictures are all fucked up.

    They keep moving and making sounds and stuff.

  15. #15
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    Those are the best kinds of pictures!

    I consider the drive and effort and eye for cinematography to be the same for photography. Obviously there are technical challenges that one must learn, but once you overcome that barrier, you are a great photographer you can become a great cinematographer and vice-a-versa. The aesthetic and the art is the same. I also know the business side of it is the same in skiing land since my business partner for Dendrite main gig is photography.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    Those are the best kinds of pictures!

    I consider the drive and effort and eye for cinematography to be the same for photography. Obviously there are technical challenges that one must learn, but once you overcome that barrier, you are a great photographer you can become a great cinematographer and vice-a-versa. The aesthetic and the art is the same. I also know the business side of it is the same in skiing land since my business partner for Dendrite main gig is photography.
    From the little experience I have (my whole family is in TV/Film and I've messed around a bit), it seems to me like some of the biggest challenges for video tend to be logistical. You can shoot pretty competent photos with just you and the skiers, but video requires either several cameras going at once or a huge number of takes.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Archer View Post
    From the little experience I have (my whole family is in TV/Film and I've messed around a bit), it seems to me like some of the biggest challenges for video tend to be logistical. You can shoot pretty competent photos with just you and the skiers, but video requires either several cameras going at once or a huge number of takes.
    Well since I spend my summers working on big tv shows and films you are absolutely right that logistical issues are a major problem in that realm.
    No such thing as multiple takes when filming pow or a big line. Once a track is in it's done. Athlete has to be perfect and the camera work has to be perfect. I am very jealous of mountain bike filmers being able to tell athletes, "Ah you could have done that better. Go up and give er' again" or "I messed up the camera work a bit on that one. Do it again." Also some of my best images filming skiing have just been me and a couple guys. Very little logistics.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    Well since I spend my summers working on big tv shows and films you are absolutely right that logistical issues are a major problem in that realm.
    No such thing as multiple takes when filming pow or a big line. Once a track is in it's done. Athlete has to be perfect and the camera work has to be perfect. I am very jealous of mountain bike filmers being able to tell athletes, "Ah you could have done that better. Go up and give er' again" or "I messed up the camera work a bit on that one. Do it again." Also some of my best images filming skiing have just been me and a couple guys. Very little logistics.
    I just hate when I have to deal with cutting VO sessions. I get a list of notes back from the director like "the first 4 words of take 5 are great but I really like the ending from take 9. But the second to last word could be taken from take 2 if it sounds better".



    And yes I always get to hear the direction coming to the talent from the mix room, which in itself is usually absurd. This video, while meaning to be funny, really isn't over the top because this is what these people do.


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    Well since I spend my summers working on big tv shows and films you are absolutely right that logistical issues are a major problem in that realm.
    No such thing as multiple takes when filming pow or a big line. Once a track is in it's done. Athlete has to be perfect and the camera work has to be perfect. I am very jealous of mountain bike filmers being able to tell athletes, "Ah you could have done that better. Go up and give er' again" or "I messed up the camera work a bit on that one. Do it again." Also some of my best images filming skiing have just been me and a couple guys. Very little logistics.
    Good point, nobody gets stoked about videos of skiing "tracked pow" haha.

    I want to try to get into some video stuff in general too. I grabbed a VideoMic and recorder and a decent cheap fluid head tripod last year, but haven't had a chance to use them yet. I have a side thing where I shoot people who dress up for comic/sci-fi etc conventions and stuff like that so I've been meaning to do some video coverage and interviews and stuff there.

  20. #20
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    My advice to you is to really focus on one thing. Don't take this the wrong way but you need to hone your craft a bit more and you'll never do that by trying to do everything at once. By all means get out and shoot skiing, heck shoot everything, but focus on your images and not "being a pro". The "being a pro" part will come when your images are strong enough.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by truth View Post
    My advice to you is to really focus on one thing. Don't take this the wrong way but you need to hone your craft a bit more and you'll never do that by trying to do everything at once. By all means get out and shoot skiing, heck shoot everything, but focus on your images and not "being a pro". The "being a pro" part will come when your images are strong enough.
    Good advice from someone that knows and has worked really hard doing just was he's talking about.
    This is the worst pain EVER!

  22. #22
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    This is why I say that, click though to the site of an old friend who is at the top of the Motorsports image game. His site sucks but he earns close to a million dollars a year shooting at race tracks and covering the women's national soccer team. http://www.sidelinesportsphotography.com/ I've had the pleasure to shoot side by side with him on track a few times and although he's even more prickly than I can be, I always come away learning a ton.

  23. #23
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    That's really cool, he's where I wish I was, both in terms of craft and career.

    Believe me, I know I've got a long way to go. With motorsports it's a constant fight to get anywhere because you need solid images to get work, but you need access to get solid images, and you need to be working to get access, if that all makes sense. Not to mention that I'm not making travel expenses, so I can only shoot locally, which really limits the events I can do. Right now I have a lot of downtime so I start thinking a lot about other stuff I can shoot. The next major racing event within range of me isn't until April and that's if I can even find somebody to publish me.

    I guess I'm so used to being in a field where if you're not pro you might as well go home 'cause you're gonna be stuck behind a 30ft fence and a thousand people that I forgot to consider that I could just go shoot skiing without access and a client and all that, haha.

    But yeah, like I said before, I'm not really trying to get into it at the moment, I was more just curious about the whole industry.
    Last edited by Max Archer; 12-20-2011 at 07:01 PM.

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