View Full Version : swim meet?

11-24-2006, 05:16 PM
i need a little help. my future sister in law asked if i could take some action shots of her bf at one of his swim meets. ive never shot sports before, and i havent done alot of indor photography. i dont have any fancy equipment, i figure i will end up using my tamron 75-300. should i buy a filter for this or just use the lens? any ideas on how to get a clear shot of somone swiming?

11-24-2006, 06:34 PM
I shot a couple college swim meets back when I was working at my university as the sports photographer... I'll offer up whatever advice I can... This was back when I was shooting film and pretty early in my "photography knowledge" years, but I was able to get some pretty good shots (posted a couple below - keep in mind these are film shots that're scanned in, so not great quality)... I used my 70-300 lens and the onboard flash... but i would recommend a hot shoe mounted flash if you have one... the 75-300 tamrom is a good way to go but you also might want a shorter lens on hand if you're able to get up close to the action... a few questions/things to think about...

Is this a college/HS meet? You must have permission since you were invited, but will it be ok to use a flash? some places prefer not to...

Also, will you be able to walk the sides of the pool? get up close? or will you have to shoot from the bleachers?

These are some things to think about that will help you figure out what equipment to bring... as for the actual shooting, some tips.... get as close to the pool as you can.. and get as low as you can - shooting across the water helps get better action as the swimmers are horizontal subjects and lessens chances of flashbacks from your flash reflecting or glare from the water... you might also want to use a polarizer if you have one

shots of swimmers coming off the blocks are always good too... also, if you can position yourself at the end of the lane that her bf is swimming in, you can get shots of him coming at you and that will be very good... especially for the breast stroke or the butterfly... for freestyle/crawl you might want to be slightly to the side for better angles...

other than that... all i can say is timing is everything when it comes to action/sports shots... pay attention to the "game" so to speak... try to anticipate the swimmers movements, the strokes, or the swimmers coming off the blocks... for example, if a swimmer is doing the freestyle - watch the count as they swim, you'll notice a rythem to the strokes and about every 8 count you can catch their arm extended/face coming out of the water which makes a good shot.. etc

ok... that's all i can think of for now... i'll post up if i can think of anything else... good luck! be sure to post up and show us what you get! =)



11-24-2006, 11:55 PM
I would find out what the light is like if you can. Maybe you can visit and meter the light. I'm guessing it will be very dark, in which case you will likely need an f/2.8 or faster lens to get anything. I'm not a big fan of flash for indoor sports, so I probably can't help out much on how to go about that. Basically you are going to want to shoot manual, bump the ISO to 1600 or faster, open up the lens to the largest aperture, and see what kind of shutter speed you get. I would think you'd need at least 1/250 to get anything decent. If you use flash, then go with those settings and the flash should adjust for the swimmer.... but you may lose the background in the dark.

11-25-2006, 07:20 AM
unless you have a manual flash like the 550 or 580....and use it in manual mode, mike might be right about a dark BG... whats the tamron lens?

11-25-2006, 08:25 PM
thanks for the pointers guys, im sure i will be shooting from the stands, its a college meet and ive only been asked by a student not a staff member. since im really only into landscape and automotive photography and ive only been into it since april i dont have the equipment to do it right. i only have the 18-55 kit lens and the 27-300 with the camera flash. i would use the kit lens but i dont think its going to have the reach unless she can get me next to the pool so i think im going to be stuck with the 75-300. i dont mind it but i think its lowest fstop is 4.6 but im not srue i would have to look.

11-25-2006, 09:10 PM
i just read that shooting to the right of the brightness scale on your histogram at a high ISO ( as high as your camera goes) will yeild quite niose free images... but, the catch is, you need to know where the limit is so as to not blow out the highlights!! It might be worth it to use the lens in very low light and practice shooting to the right to see what you can get away with!

11-25-2006, 09:23 PM
if you are a member of POTN...this is a very interesting read.. http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=66836