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How to take swimming pictures with a DSLR camera

Swimming is a fun activity that many people enjoy during the summer months. Whether you’re at the pool, beach, or a water park, capturing the moments can be a great way to preserve memories.

However, taking pictures in or around water can be challenging, especially if you want to use a DSLR camera. In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks on how to take swimming pictures with a DSLR camera.

Gather Supplies

Ready to take unique photos underwater using a DSLR? Don’t dive in before you have all the supplies. The good news is, you don’t need much. You’ll need: a DSLR that can be submerged, an underwater housing unit, a wide-angle lens, and a tripod.

Get these and you’ll be ready to explore the depths with your camera!

Choose a DSLR Camera

If you’re a photographer wanting to take swimming photos with a DSLR, the initial step is to pick the right camera. Knowing which camera works best for swimming photos will give you the best results and help you obtain the image quality you want.

When selecting a DSLR for swimming photos, you should consider three things: megapixels, sensor size, and weather-sealing ability. The ideal DSLR should have at least 16-20 megapixels (MP) so that it can capture enough detail and produce sharp images. A full frame sensor or an APS-C sensor provides better image performance than Micro Four Thirds or smartphone cameras because of its larger pixel sizes.

Additionally, waterproofing or weather sealing is essential when shooting near water. If your DSLR is not weather sealed, then keep lens hood and UV filters on when shooting near water to minimize moisture damage on the front element of your lens.

Select a Lens

When shooting swimming pics with a DSLR camera, selecting the right lens is essential. Aquatic settings have different lighting dynamics than dry settings. You want to avoid blurry or dark photos. To capture more environment and allow light in, use a wide-angle lens like fisheye or rectilinear. Telephoto lenses can still create nice shots in low light, but a cell is necessary if using strobes or artificial lighting.

Make sure the lens is sealed and wear a wet suit to protect gear from splashes and swellings. This can keep your equipment safe from liquid exposure!

Buy a Waterproof Housing

Investing in a waterproof housing for your DSLR camera is highly recommended if you want to take swimming pictures. Many manufacturers make housings that specifically fit individual camera models. There are also universal housings for cameras without individualized options.

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When choosing a waterproof housing, consider factors such as price, protection level, portability and durability. Expensive housings are usually made of tough materials like polycarbonate and offer better protection from water and environmental hazards. Compact housings are great for travel, but not as protective as bulkier ones.

Prepare for the Shoot

Ready to take swimming shots with your DSLR? Prepare first!

Get your gear ready – camera, lenses, strobes, diffusers. Check the settings of your camera – make sure it’s working. Then, know any special settings needed for the shoot. Test shots in the same location? That’s a good idea.

When you’re ready, start taking those stunning swimming pics!

Find a Suitable Pool

Finding the right pool for DSLR swimming pics can be tricky. Consider these things before you choose the best spot.

Search for an indoor or outdoor pool near you. Ask yourself these questions: What time should I shoot? Is the water clean? Is there a changing room? Can I bring my own lights and tripods? Is it private? Can I practice with the model beforehand?

Check out public pools and their rules for photography. Make sure you don’t have any problems. Some pools won’t let cameras in until they know safety protocols. Others may require the pool to be emptied after every shoot.

Outdoor spots can give great natural light. However, watch out for shadows, temperature shifts, and wind. Decide if you want indoor or outdoor. Talk with the pool manager before you select one.

Set Up Your Camera

When shooting pool photos with a DSLR camera, you need to be careful. You have to place the camera in the right spot, as the water and reflections can be tricky. I usually set it up on a tripod, so I can adjust the tilt without picking it up.

I check what’s in my shot through the viewfinder. Once I’m happy, I change the settings like ISO, shutter speed, focus points or RAW shooting mode. RAW shooting is good because it lets you edit photos in software, but with more detail than JPG.

White balance is also important. It affects the colors underwater. If you don’t set it correctly, your photos can be too blue or too yellow. As you try out your gear, you’ll figure out what adjustments to make. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Take the Photos

Snapping swimming pics with a DSLR? It’s no small feat! But with the right lighting, angles, and settings, you can get stunning shots. Here’s how:

Choose the ideal lens, position, and angles. Then, you’re ready to capture the perfect swimming photo with a DSLR!

Use a Shutter Speed of 1/1000

A fast shutter speed is an important setting for swimming pics taken with a DSLR. Aim for 1/1000th of a second. This helps freeze the action and avoid blurriness.

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Use a wide aperture, like f/2.2 or lower. It captures more light. An ISO 400 or higher may be needed in low-light. Increase your auto-focus tracking rate for accuracy. Experiment!

Use a Low ISO

When taking swimming pics with a DSLR camera, you must use a low ISO. This reduces digital noise and gives a clear, vibrant outcome. Usually, outdoors, ISO should be 100 or less. Indoors, it can be increased based on the light. Advanced cameras and manual settings let you experiment with apertures for noise reduction.

A low ISO gives control over shutter speed and depth of field. These settings depend on the shot and subject, i.e. people in a pool or ocean view. Adjusting them is key for desired results. Slower shutter speeds and bigger aperture values create motion blur and background blur. Experimenting with combos helps find the perfect balance for any situation!

Use a Wide Aperture

For great swimming photos with a DSLR, your lens is key. Use a wide aperture for more dynamic and captivating pics. This blurs out background elements, keeps main subject in focus, and lets in more light. Optimum focal length ratio of 1:1 preserves details of composition.

When shooting in aperture priority mode, choose a backlight fill setting (e.g., low level). This helps avoid harsh shadows from sunlight or lighting fixtures near the pool.

Edit the Photos

Time to edit those swimming pics taken with the DSLR! Editing can make photos look better – sharper, brighter, vibrant.

There are many ways to edit – each with pros and cons. Let’s discuss a few tips for an amazing look!

Use a Photo Editing Software

It’s time to edit those swimming photos taken with a DSLR camera! Glare and over-exposure can spoil the effect, so it’s essential to use a photo editing software. You can hire an image editing professional or learn how to do it yourself. Here are the steps:

  1. Download and install a photo editor, like PhotoShop or Lightroom.
  2. Select the photo to edit and upload it.
  3. Adjust the color balance, exposure levels, saturation & vibrancy.
  4. Check each setting until you’re happy with the result.
  5. Save the changes and store them on an external drive, if needed.

These steps will help your swimming photos turn out perfect when edited manually!

Adjust the Color Balance

You’ve taken your swimming pics, so now let’s check out how to adjust the color balance! Color balance is about improving colors in a photo so they look more natural. DSLR cameras can make this easy to do.

Your camera may have presets for daylight or flash photography. If you want an exact result, set the white balance manually. Choose a preset option such as fluorescent or tungsten, or use the ‘Kelvin’ setting mode.

Remember to click ‘White Balance Auto’ after every shot with Kelvin. This will give you true-to-life results! You can also use RAW format – it gives you more options for post-processing and adjusting white balance with software like Photoshop or Lightroom.

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Add Contrast and Clarity

To get a great photo, you need contrast and clarity! Lightroom’s curve adjustment can help you add contrast. This will bring out each color and brightness separately.

For clarity, use Lightroom’s Detail panel. This can significantly enhance your photo.

Capture photos in RAW format, not JPEG, for more data to work with. Also, set your camera’s ISO speed high for sharp images in low light. This will help avoid blurry photos due to shaky hands or over-agitated water.

Share the Photos

DSLR camera swimming pics– a challenge but worth it! Skill and practice needed? Yes. But with a bit of trial-and-error and savvy composition, you can create photos that’ll amaze!

Here’s a few tips to help you out. Taking swimming pics with a DSLR camera and then getting them out there for all to see. Enjoy!

Upload the Photos to Social Media

When you’re happy with your photos, you’ll likely want to share them with others. Uploading to social media is simple; each platform is slightly different.

For Facebook, click “Create Post” and select the photo or video option. Choose from your library, add a caption, tags, and location. You can also add frames for special occasions, like sports events.

On Twitter, click “Tweet,” pick an image, enter text, add tags, and click tweet.

Instagram images need captions and hashtags related to the topic, so potential users searching interests can find them. To upload, tap “add photos,” choose a file, enter caption, apply filters, and click share. Don’t forget to add hashtags!

Print the Photos for Display

Printing your beautiful underwater photos is the next step after taking them. Though some may prefer digital images, nothing beats printed copies. Here’s what you need to know.

Get quality photo paper from Kodak or Ilford, especially if your pictures are 11×14 inches or bigger. Don’t buy photography paper from stores; the quality and color consistency are poor. Load the paper into your printer following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, trim any extra white borders around your images before printing. Check for any color contrast problems and fix them before printing. Consider borderless printing to emphasize your pictures. Then, press ‘Print’ and wait for the printer’s magic.

Use standard picture frames with mount backgrounds such as cardstock to showcase your prints in an attractive manner. Hang them along with other decorations for a full effect.


Capturing swimming pictures with a DSLR camera may seem daunting, but with the right equipment and techniques, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone looking to capture some memories, the tips and tricks we’ve shared in this article will help you take better swimming pictures.

Remember to always prioritize safety and protection for your camera, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and settings to get the perfect shot. With these tips, you’ll be able to take stunning swimming pictures that you’ll cherish for years to come.

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