how to take a good photo
our top TIPSOutdoor swimming provides so many fantastic opportunities for taking great photos. Here we share a few tips to help you make the most of those swimming snaps, whether on holiday or at your local swim spot.
THINK ABOUT YOUR SUBJECTMany of the best photos include just one, interesting subject. Spend some time thinking about what your subject is, and where you want the subject to sit within the photo. Photographers sometimes use a ‘rule of thirds’, meaning your photo should be broken up into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. If you are using a mobile phone camera, you can actually turn on a ‘gridlines’ function to help you with this.
- iPhone: Settings / Photos & Camera / 'Grid'
- Samsung Galaxy: In the camera app, Settings / ‘Gridlines’
NEGATIVE SPACENegative space in photographic terms, refers to the space around the subject in the photo. Open water swimming provides some fantastic opportunities to make the most of negative space - think about using the ocean, a lake, beaches or the sky as a contrast to your photographic subject. Using negative space effectively can help the viewer to focus on the main subject - it helps the viewer’s eye to settle.
CHOOSE YOUR PERSPECTIVE CAREFULLYSwimming is a great opportunity to take photos from a unique perspective, creating depth and intrigue. If you have an underwater camera, try taking the photo from underneath the swimmer, playing with the sky and the water surface as negative space and framing your subject. Alternatively, can you capture a swimmer from above, from the support boat maybe, or from a rock, or even at eye level if you are swimming alongside them?
Faces make memories
Try to capture people’s expressions and emotions if you can (and if its not too intrusive). Open water swimming can be life affirming, exhilerating, emotional and awe-inspiring. Often people’s expressions as they exit the water are fantastic! try to get some of these emotions in your pictures. Perhaps try standing by the water exit and taking portrait photos of people as they exit (as long as they don’t mind of course!)
ZOOM WITH YOUR BODY
Don’t shoot from a distance; the zoom lense on many cameras can make your picture shaky and low res, and distances you from what’s going on. Instead, turn off the zoom and move yourself closer to the action, as long as it is safe to do so of course.
DON’T TRY TO HIDE THE CAMERASome people may be camera-shy, but they’ll be much worse if they think you’re trying to trick them into being captured. Be obvious about shooting and they’ll get bored with you and start acting natural.
Make the most of reflectionsWhen it comes to swimming, reflections can often create natural symmetry which is extremely pleasing to the eye, often balancing your shot for you. It may help you to use gridlines on a camera photo to help you balance up your reflections nicely. Fantastic reflections can be found on top of aswell as under the water - it is well worth paying attention to refections and trying to incorporate them next time you have still water conditions.
STUNNING SILHOUETTESOpen water swimming provides incredible silhouette opportunities. By masking the subject in darkness, silhouette photos often have a mysterious, magical quality to them. It is important that the sun is low above the horizon, which is why sunsets, sunrises and winter days create wonderful silhouette photos. Don’t forget, you can also capture amazing silhouettes from underneath the water too.
SMART PHONE focus TRICKSMost smartphones will automatically focus on the foreground of your photo. Try tapping your phone screen just before you take your photo to help your camera phone know where to focus. This can be particularly helpful for capturing moving scenes - someone diving or jumping for example.
DON'T FORGET TO LOOK AROUND!We’ve all been guilty of it - sometimes we are so blown away by a location or event that we lose ourselves taking photos, essentially watching it through the lense of our smartphone. Take a moment to remind yourself to look around too - breathe it all in. On SwimQuest holidays your guides will take photos for you, and share them with you - so if you need to spend some time away from your phone, you can!
Don't forget to enter your photos into the swimquest outdoor swimmer photo competition! click the ‘competition’ tab on the left for full details.
The prizeWhether wild swimming, dipping in an urban lido, or exploring warm foreign seas… if you’ve captured a great swimming image, enter it into the Outdoor Swimmer Magazine monthly reader photo contest. Three of the best photos each month are published in the magazine, and the winning image each month will receive a SwimQuest goody bag. The 1st place winner each month will also be entered for the overall annual prize, a SwimQuest Holiday, up to the value of £1000. Photos from the winner’s trip will be published in the Outdoor Swimmer Explore section, on the SwimQuest website and on outdoorswimmer.com.
THEMES & DEADLINESFebruary: ‘Community’ enter by 13th January 2020 March: ‘Happiness’ April: ‘A sense of wonder’ May: ‘Perspective’ June: ‘The Ocean’ July: ‘Reflections’
How to enter
Submit a Photo
- Send photos to email@example.com
- Please provide a caption on where the photo was taken, who is swimming in the photo, what inspired you to take it. Please also supply your full name with the caption.
- Please submit large, high-resolution images suitable for reproduction as a double page spread in print. Images that are not of sufficient quality to print in the magazine will not be considered eligible for the prize.
- The photo must include at least one swimmer.
- No more than five images.
- No similar images from the same shoot – choose your best shot.
- Include your Instagram handle if you have one.
- Please only submit photos that you have taken.
- By submitting your photos, you grant Outdoor Swimmer and SwimQuest non-exclusive rights to use your photos in our print magazine, in advertising, on our websites and on our Facebook pages and other social media channels.
- Please also refer to our general terms and conditions and to the specific SwimQuest Photo Competition terms and conditions