Lighting for Swimming

9 years 1 week ago #201733 by A9 Photo
So my friend asked me to try to take a few shots of her swimming since the photographer she hired for her senior pics did not feel comfortable with taking them. I realize that my experience level with sports photography ( I do have portrait experience) is limited and I made this very clear to her, but I said I would try my best and worst case we just end up with no great images. However, I would at least like to try to put forth some level of effort for my own development.

I will be shooting with my Canon t2i with 85mm for most of the shots as she wants "competitive swimming shots". I am most concerned about lighting as in order to capture the water as she has in mind, I need a fast shutter, thinking 1/1000 or faster, but I do not know what my best option is to provide lighting to her face. We are planning to do this on a sunny day around 3/4 in the afternoon so the sun is not directly over head, but is still bright. Any suggestions? Obviously I do not have the resources to set up studio strobes, but I would be willing to pick up a speedlight if it would help.


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9 years 1 week ago #201735 by b0caj
When you're in an outdoor pool on a sunny day, you shouldn't need any extra light, as the water will reflect a lot of light back into your friend's face. And you should also be able to obtain short enough shutter speeds. Whether you actually need the 1/1000 sec or faster is the question, you wouldn't want the water to look like she's swimming through gel, would you?


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9 years 1 week ago #201739 by digital files
I shot some swimming photos last summer and I shot at 1/4000s and it seemed to work pretty well. I say the faster the better to freeze the action.

If she is in shadow, just take some test shots first and expose for his/her face and if the water gets a little over exposed I think that's ok.

Just experiment when you get there, try shooting from different angles and see what you like.


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9 years 1 week ago #201740 by Darrell
Head to pool a few times and try it out before the shoot. Should be fun..... Good luck

You will not be judged as a photographer by the pictures you take, but by the pictures you show.

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9 years 1 week ago #201746 by A9 Photo
Thanks everyone for your advice. I think I may put in some practice shots before the shoot. :thumbsup:


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9 years 1 week ago #201830 by Superman
Are you going to be in the water? You'll need some water proof flashes

Nikon D90 & D40 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 35mm, 50mm, 105mm, SB600
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9 years 1 week ago #202022 by Vladimir
Have you guys seen that guy who's photographing dogs as they jump into water? Check his work out www.littlefriendsphoto.com

I'm guessing he is using some sort of lighting in the water to capture these shots?


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