Sports Photography: How To Shoot A Swim Meet – s2e15

Hi I'm Bill Snodgrass, and in this episode we're going to talk about sports photography—particularly swimming pictures We're gonna talk about swimming pictures and try to give you a couple ideas about about what you can do to get the the best results from the opportunity to take swimming pictures

Alright, let me take a second and tell you how to set your camera for swimming pictures It is a sport and so you're gonna want the highest shutter speed you can reasonably get and without running your iso into the range where it creates you know a lot of artifacts and noise and distortion that sort of thing so know what your your best choice for ISO is and and then run your shutter speed up as high as you can within that context and remember if it's one or you know a half stop too dark there are some Corrections that you can do in Photoshop afterwards to bring that up a little bit you can't go too far but if it's just like a half stop or you know just a little bit off you can you can raise that you may want to be in burst mode that depends on your your style as a shooter whether you want to be in burst mode or whether you want to do single frames I find burst mode very helpful because as the swimmers are doing their stroke I can anticipate they're getting ready to turn their head towards the camera and breathe so I can you know I can start shooting and burst through that's part of the stroke where they're actually looking at the camera also keep in mind as far as a camera concern you're in a water environment there's water in the pool obviously and then there's a lot of humidity because of the pool so you need to keep that in mind and if you do get some water on your lens wipe it off wipe it off as quick as you can and then when you store your lens store it with as much of you know if things in zal this is not the lens I use for sports but it is actually drying and by drying I mean I used it last night and I got a few drops of water on it and so i zoomed it out i put it in the cabinet and let it let it sit overnight to let any any as much of it as possible that's pretty much the considerations as far as where do you set your focal point I set it in the middle and I just compose around that there's that just seems to work for me and if you're the side of the pool a horizontal composition and if you're at the end of the pool and they're swimming towards you you might want to try vertical composition sometimes but I use in the pool I use mostly the horizontal composition so those are your camera settings make sure you use your servo autofocus the one is going to focus rapidly on a moving target whatever that is on your camera and then burst mode and then that's pretty much the camera settings hi shadow speed you can get without ruining the picture with ISO ISO noise so swimming is an event that is is you know obviously done in a pool so the way the sport works is that it's like a track meet except you know the races are shorter so you have like your 50 meter race and then you have your hundred and then your whatever and then in swimming there are different strokes there's a the freestyle breaststroke backstroke and butterfly so there's four different strokes that take place so you'll see all of these races transpire the the racers will start either in the water for backstroke or they'll start on the starting blocks and they will dive in and swim down and back the races are at least down and back the the challenge with getting an interesting swimming picture is that you really can't tell one swimmer from the other in the water except only thing will be showing will be usually arms and maybe the head and and their kick you may have their feet showing so for the most part their body is underwater so one strategy to get some some more interesting pictures is to use an underwater camera like your GoPro and get some underwater pictures and that's that's always a way of getting some interesting angles and there's a lot of challenges to shooting GoPro pictures will not be part of this video the other is is you have basically two different places that you can compose your picture from the side or the end because it's a swimming pool so you can either be on the side of the pool as the swimmers are going by this way or you can be at the end of the pool as the swimmers are coming towards you and going back to the other way so composing your pictures from the side of the end are you really your two options I have not had the opportunity to get on the same side of the pool as the starters the the judges and the coaches have not invited that to happen or so it always just seem like that's a space that is not for spectators or photographers I do I do get down on the deck so I don't have to be in the in the stands shooting down I can actually be down on the deck now what is your composition strategies if they're swimming at you sideways a horizontal composition where you can follow is going to be your probably your best bet you can be able to get the different strokes as they're going by and if they're coming at you where you have the whole lane and they're coming this way you may want to try a vertical composition as they're swimming at you so that's that's two considerations now what are you looking for in an interesting swim picture my idea is that you probably want to get faces which is going to mean you need to anticipate the breathing of the stroke and so in the in the in the Freestyle they will take sometimes two or three strokes their head down and then they'll turn to one side or the other some swimmers will always breathe on one side they'll always breathe on one side or some swimmers will breathe one stroke here couple strokes down one stroke here couple strokes down partly depending on the distance of the race the longer distances that they get into a breathing rhythm and will breathe more regularly some of the sprints they will breathe very rarely they'll keep their head down so then goes fast as they can because it's you know and they're able to to do that because of the way they have trained so they can breathe less frequently breaststroke and butterfly the they will come out of the water breaststroke they will come out of the water on every stroke which they're coming out and they're they're swimming this way butterflies they'll throw their arms over and a lot of times they will they'll they'll breathe on every stroke will breathe on every other stroke depending on the swimmer just there's depending on depending on their level of experience and expertise to compose a shot of more than one lane at a time if you're on the side you're going to want to get down low to the water and shoot across the lanes so that you can get multiple lanes at once I like to use a telephoto lens and gives me the option of being able to zoom in really close and get just literally get those those water droplets dripping off their face as they're breathing or to be able to zoom out and get down and get a picture of several of the swimmers at once it is going to be hot hotter in the in the pool area and it is going to be humid so you need to take that in consideration the way you dress though deck will be wet so you're gonna want shoes that are gonna afford you some level of traction on the wet deck there are a couple of you know falling in with your camera seems like a really bad idea so you're going to want to watch out for the edge of the pool and in some pools that there will be access panels to various of the pumps of the machines and the filters and the things like that sometimes those will be like a metal cover and when that metal cover gets wet it becomes extremely slippery and so you want to watch out for things like that try not to fall in and then that is probably one of my top recommendations other than that you're going to get a lot of pictures the only difference are going to be able to tell between one swimmer and the other if they have their name or their number on their swim cap or if you happen to catch them as they're breathing and they've turned their head to the side and you can see actually who they are so so you're gonna have a lot of pictures that look look very very similar if you're just trying to get a iconic picture for a newspaper or magazine you may be able to get in in one or two races and get a couple of really nice shots and be done with it if you're trying to record the entire swim meet and you want to get pictures of all the swimmers or at least some of the swimmers out of every event trying to get the most of the students or the most of the athletes represented then obviously you can stay for the whole thing in the Indiana high school sports they they put diving in the middle so you'll have some of the races and then a long section of diving and then the rest of the races will come after that so during that diving section you you would switch over and you'll be taking diving pictures which is a completely different discussion and depending on interest I may do a diving video as well but that's it for swimming so you have a horizontal composition if they're going sideways vertical composition if they're coming at you an interesting picture is to get the side that the platform's where they dive off of and try to catch the start where you have dive swimmers who are in the air having having hit the left the starting blocks other other good composition pictures is to get down and the shoot across the water where you need multiple lanes at the same time being able to zoom in and get close-ups is another interesting picture other than that try to try not to fall in and enjoy the process that's all for this episode I hope this has been helpful hope the the example pictures have been somewhat useful to you too to give you some ideas of what you might be able to do and go out and have a great time shooting swimming pictures please hit the like button subscribe to the channel sign up for notifications I do inspirational motivational videos as well as the occasional tutorial leave me a comment a question a suggestion or an idea if you have experience shooting swimming pictures if you have some favorite tips and things put those in the comment section as well share what you know with others who may find this comment section that is all for this episode I will see you in the next one

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