Amy Koughan – Improving Swimming Photography

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.

Amy Koughan

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.




Amy Koughan – Improving Long Distance Running Photography

Amy Koughan, a freelance photographer and long distance runner, is very familiar with the challenges that face a photographer taking pictures at a marathon. Any athletic competition presents particular difficulties for the photographer, but there are some tips that photographers like Koughan use to take quality, memorable pictures of marathons and other distance events.

Amy Koughan

The photographer should review the marathon course map and pinpoint any areas that will provide pictures of runners experiencing emotions, such as at the top of a hill, or at the finish line of the race. Standing at corners and on the right side of the road, preferably with the sun behind the runners, are excellent locations to capture key moments.

In terms of equipment, using a long lens, fast shutter speed, and burst fire mode can capture highly detailed moments. Burst fire mode in particular can heighten the odds of getting a clear, crisp picture of a person in motion by taking as many frames as possible within that time burst. Sharp apertures can also assist a photographer in snapping a picture that keeps the runner in focus, but the crowd behind him out of focus, emphasizing the subject of the photo.

Successful photographers like Amy Koughan keep careful photo composition in mind when photographing runners in motion. They avoid taking pictures of the runner’s whole body, and instead focus on taking shots from the mid-torso upwards in order to capture movement and the emotion on the runner’s face. Finally, weather conditions can change quickly on race day, so photographers should be sure to travel light but carry protective material for their equipment.