This study presents a method that allows continuous monitoring of mass balance for remote or inaccessible glaciers, based on repeated oblique photography. Hourly to daily pictures from two automatic cameras overlooking two large valley glaciers in the Swiss Alps are available for eight ablation seasons (2004–11) in total. We determine the fraction of snow-covered glacier surface from orthorectified and georeferenced images and combine this information with simple accumulation and melt modelling using meteorological data. By applying this approach, the evolution of glacierwide mass balance throughout the ablation period can be directly calculated, based on terrestrial remote-sensing data. Validation against independent in situ mass-balance observations indicates good agreement. Our methodology has considerable potential for the remote determination of mountain glacier mass balance at high temporal resolution and could be applied using both repeated terrestrial and air-/spaceborne observations.