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I have been asked to take some photos at a local swiming gala and wondered if anyone here can offer any top tips in the field of event photography....
...plus, any advice on equipment would be appreciated.
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Get the permission of the parents of anyone under 18.
Hope your camera is waterproof! If it is not, do not get too close or you will get splashed!
Circular polariser may be useful to reduce/eliminare water and glass reflections, but there will be a trade off in a loss of a stop.
Get in there early! If it is an indoor pool, chances are that your camera will get condensation all over it when you first take it inside. The lens and eyepiece will mist up and it will be impossible to take pictures for some time. As the camera comes up to temperature, it will slowly dissipate, but it will take time.
Also, it might have a detrimental effect on the electronics.
It might be an idea to seal your camera in a plastic bag before you go in there, then leave it for some time to warm up before taking it out of the bag and using it. If you can, have a trial run before the event to see how long it takes.
And a polariser (if it is polarising!) will lose you at least 1 1/2 - 2 stops.
Check with the pool - event organisers may want photos, but the pool may have a blanket ban on photography. It's best to get that little hurdle out of the way first.
Don't commit too early if they've offered payment. Swimming galas are fast and furious. Light will be an issue, and you may struggle to get sharp shots without the very best gear. Polarisers are a non-starter, as you'll want as fast a shutter speed as possible, and the water will be so churned up that reflections will be the least of your worries
Front crawl - from the side either straight on or just as they are swimming away from you
Breast stroke - from the side can look good but most are taken from the end
back stroke - from the side is tricky but get them when they are parallel otherwise be at the end and take them just as they pull away from the turn
Butterfly - from the end lots of zoom if you can
try to get nice and low when taking the shots so you can get level with the swimmers, wear shorts and flip flops as it will get very hot and humid in there, expect to get splashed (always nice to cool you down a little). put your cameras in the hall around 20 mins before to stop them steaming up.
Don't be affraid to take lots of shots and delete them as you go along (take lots of batteries). Shoot continuous bursts and just keep the best one with the swimmer in the best position.
Go take a look at Kirk Tucks blog. He's a swimmer and the father of a swimmer.
Not too many tips per se but you'll see lots of images that work.
My advice is to give it a miss.
I've NEVER sold a single image from the swimming shots but every club wants a freebie to use on their leaflets.
Get a group shot of the team before they get wet, and then shoot every child individually. You can then sell them a dual nounted image with a rect team shot and an oval portrait.
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