I'm taking pictures of my daughter's swim class in an indoor pool. There are several challenges. There's never enough light. My daughter is moving quickly. Taking pictures when she's on the side of the pool I'm on generally come out OK, but the best moments usually happen when she's on the opposite side of the pool (because she's facing me). Using a tripod is tricky because she moves around so much. If I don't use a flash, the pictures are too blurry. How can I take better pictures in this situation?

I have a Nikon d40x with a Tamron A18 lens.

As you can probably guess, I'm not that knowledgeable about photography. Here are the settings that I pulled from the image: ISO 1,600 200mm 0ev f/6.3 1/60. I cropped the image to reduce the file size. Thanks for any advice. enter image description here


2 Answers 2


How far away is it? It looks like the flash is working OK for you.

Fundamentally, you've only got 3 things to work with, Aperture, Shutter time, and ISO setting.

One thing you might try though is shooting in raw, so you've got a little more dynamic range to play with for lightening dark images.

For example, you might try pushing the ISO to 3200 or even 6400 (try it and see how noisy it is), then setting your Exposure compensation down a stop. Of course, a faster lens would help as well, but I don't know if that's an option.

Also, remember there are times when a motion blur is a nice effect. If you can get a shot with her arms moving but her face relatively still that could be a good shot. Easier said than done though, :-).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm about 50 feet away. Red eye is always bad. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can always remove red-eye in post-processing - might be a bit trickier than usual if the eyes are behind googles or the like, but I wouldn't let that stop you using flash. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ According to the camera specs in the link, the maximum ISO for the D40x is 1600. \$\endgroup\$
    – user50888
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 21:12

I've been shooting kids' swim events for about 5 years. While indoor pools yield the smallest number of keepers, you can still get some decent shots. Here's what I find that works: 1. lens with wide aperture. I use a 50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8. 2. ISO. I increase mine up to around 1,000 3. aperture. As wide as it gets. 4. shutter speed. At least 1/100 for traditional sports shots

I use manual mode because under poor lighting, the camera doesn't do a very good job of adjusting the shutter speed, aperture, etc.

My best shots at swim meets are definitely at pools with LOTS of sunlight.

If you want to get some unique shots, you could slow down the shutter to 1/30 or 1/40 and pan using a tripod, monopod or handheld to get some pretty cool shots.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.