How to Shoot Great Underwater Swimming Photos

To show what great swimming technique looks like, Swim Speed Secrets has dozens of full-color underwater photographs of Olympic swimmers. With patience and the right gear, you can take underwater photos of your friends and training partners so they can see how they are swimming now and how well they are progressing using Sheila’s approach in Swim Speed Secrets.

Swim Speed Secrets Peter Vanderkaay catch and pull

Olympian Peter Vanderkaay shows his catch and pull

Follow these 5 tips from professional photographer and USA Swimming and U.S. Master Swimming coach Daniel Smith.

  1. Know your camera and equipment. First, make sure your gear can handle being underwater at the depths where you’ll be shooting. [You can find underwater cameras for surprisingly little money online.] It’s equally important to know every setting so you don’t waste time adjusting settings for light conditions and action vs. stills. If you haven’t mastered your gear on dry land, shooting under water isn’t going to work.
  2. Think about water as a medium. Bubbles can make auto-focus difficult to use so try manual focus instead. Water will cut your light exposure in half, so you’ll want to increase shutter speed or exposure time. Expect a blue and green color cast to your photos and either shoot with settings or filters that will compensate or be prepared to remove the cast in your photo editing software.
  3. Use weights and a scuba tank or snorkel for the best photos. Staying stable and at pool bottom helps a lot.
  4. A weighted tripod and auto-timer can save you lots of drama if you have no access to scuba gear.
  5. Invest in good software. It can take a few weeks to rise up the learning curve, but good photo editing software can make even average photos sparkle.

Please send us your before and after photos! We’d love to show off your new, faster swim technique.

Find new speed in the water with Swim Speed Secrets, available now in bookstores, tri and swim shops, and online.Swim Speed Secrets for Swimmers and Triathletes book cover

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