Amy Koughan, a professional freelance photographer and competitive swimmer, enjoys the inherent challenges found in taking shots of an athletic event that exists in two main mediums: in water and out. Professionally shooting swimming events presents difficulties in sight lines, perspective, and motion, aside from the underwater trials.
Taking successful professional photographs of competitive swimming events allows the photographer to take unique pictures of athletes in unusual surroundings. Although all athletic photographers need to prepare before an event, swimming requires the photographer to commit to extra preparation. The photographer needs to know the environment she will be shooting in before the event begins: is it an outdoor pool? Indoor pool? Where will photographers be able to take pictures? Are there any restrictions placed on photographers and where they can shoot? Additionally, equipment must be chosen in advance, from using scuba-gear to get crucial underwater shots to exposing a camera to a high-humidity indoor arena so it defogs in time.
Professional photographers like Amy Koughan, who specialize in athletic event photos, know the importance of getting to the meet location as early as possible to scout the area out, determine important vantage points, and to acclimate to the weather conditions. It is also crucial for the photographer to seek out the photo marshal for the event and get clear answers to questions about photo assignments or special requests. The photographer then needs to find an efficient workspace that is not hampered by advertisements, officials, or spectators, but that still grants her quick access to key locations for shooting excellent photographs of competitive swimmers.