This was my second photo shoot for Derbyshire’s elite swimming squad Derventio eXcel. As I’ve mentioned before in my previous post (see here) this isn’t the usual kind of thing I photograph, but I’m always up for a challenge! and there are a lot of similarities with things I do normally shoot.

The previous shoot was in January, so the 5am start felt very early. This time with the sun already up (4.45am) it didn’t feel quite so bad, although it didn’t stop me having a nap in the afternoon! Hats off to the squad for getting up at that time on a Saturday, at their age my Saturday mornings were spent watching Swap Shop and eating Frosties.

The brief

They were looking for some new pool shots and also some serious looking portraits with the squad sporting their game faces (for the most part). These were taken in the sports hall, grabbing people when we could whilst they were training.


Pool shots were taken using a mix of Nikon 80-400 F/4.5-5.6, 70-200 f/2.8 and 24-70 f/2.8. Ideally I’d use a Nikon 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR, but at £10,999 I’ll have to make do with what I have. At least with the sun being up there was more light in the pool area than last time.

For the portraits I used 3 flash guns, 2 with umbrellas and one with a snoot. There wasn’t time to finesse each shot as the squad were supposed to be training and I’d already had to move once as I’d setup on a badminton court someone had booked to use! – they were very understanding. So considering how quick they were taken I’m pleased with the results (and so was the client).

Like last time, it was fun but challenging, but it’s great to have the opportunity to try something different and expand my portfolio once more.

Camera gear
Nikon D850
Lenses: Nikon 80-400mm, Nikon 70-200mm 2.8, Nikon 24.70 2.8
Lighting: Nissin flashguns, Nissin NAS system