Ski Wedding Photographer Finds Niche Shooting Newlyweds on Slopes
A wedding photographer has made a career taking pictures of newlyweds skiing on the slopes.
Photographer Gabrielle Stowe discovered the niche a few years ago after realizing that no one else was shooting ski weddings.
Stowe now runs the wedding photography company Ski The Day which specializes in photographing ski weddings, elopements, proposals, and engagements in Colorado, the U.S., and across the world.
Stowe, who is based in Summit County, Colorado, has always been passionate about skiing and competitively ski raced for 10 years.
After falling in love with shooting weddings, she started her own successful wedding photography business, Gabrielle Stowe Photography in 2018.
Then, in 2019, a couple asked Stowe if she could travel to Jackson Hole, a popular ski resort in Wyoming, and shoot their mountain wedding.
“I was asked to photograph a skiing wedding in Jackson Hole, and due to my background as a ski racer, I felt up to the task,” Stowe says.
“I absolutely loved being able to combine two things I love, and being able to partake in a wedding where the couple made their day unique to them and completely their own.”
The experience inspired the photographer’s eventual business idea.
“After this wedding, I realized that there had to be other couples out there who want to do the same for their wedding or elopement day,” Stowe recalls.
“I started doing some research and saw precedent for couples having ski weddings, but not a lot of resources or professionals specializing in this specific niche.”
“I figured that a lot of couples did what I had done and googled to see if ski weddings were even a thing,” she adds. “I could imagine them getting discouraged, feeling lost in the endeavor, and struggling to find a photographer to document, leading them to change their mind.”
Stowe created Ski the Day and now photographs ski weddings, proposals, and engagement sessions. She also continues to shoot more traditional wedding ceremonies through her original business, Gabrielle Stowe Photography.
“I wanted to create Ski the Day to encourage couples to have their day exactly how they want and help them do so,” Stowe says.
“My favorite thing I hear from my couples is ‘I’ve been dreaming about this idea since I was a kid but I never thought it would actually be possible!’ and ‘we were so excited to come across your site and realize this is something we could actually do!'”
Stowe uses a Nikon Z6 II and can confidently ski without poles to free up her hands when she is shooting.
However, she admits there are challenges to photographing couples on the slopes especially in terms of framing an image.
“There are definitely challenges — it’s not a controlled environment and there are more variables than traditional weddings,” Stowe says.
“This kind of shooting combines wedding and portraits with sports photography- all while moving, on the mountain, in the snow, and a variety of weather conditions.
“One of the challenging things (and one of my favorite things) about ski photography is framing. I am obsessed with framing and I’m always looking for opportunities for an interesting shot.
“When photographing traditional wedding portraits, you have more control — you can pick out a perfect location and direct your subject where exactly to stand.
“They are typically static, and you can take the time you need to get that perfectly framed shot,” she says.
“With the action shots during ski weddings, the subject is moving and so I am. As I’m skiing down capturing them in motion, I’m looking ahead for opportunities for an interesting frame down the run.
“So I’ll ski a little bit faster or slow down to try to align myself to perfectly capture them skiing past to match what I’m envisioning. It’s a fun challenge and keeps me on my toes.
“When I nail the shot, the challenge makes it that much more gratifying.”
Stowe says photographers should not be scared to be extremely specialized when they are finding their niche.
“Don’t be afraid to get specific. There is something out there for everyone and the more specific you get, the more likely you’ll find your people.
“There will be fewer people, but they will be your people. If you try to work with anyone and everyone, you won’t be properly serving them.”
She adds: “Skiing isn’t for everyone, and skiing on your wedding day in formal attire definitely isn’t for everyone either.
“There is only a tiny sliver of this world’s population that are interested in doing this, but by niching down, I was able to connect with those people and serve them.
“Most importantly, being passionate about what you do helps you authentically serve your clients!”
More of Stowe’s work can be found on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Image credits: All photos by Gabrielle Stowe/Ski the Day.