Photographing High School Basketball
There are a lot of things to remember when photographing high school sports and they each have their own set of challenges. Basketball can be a tricky one because it is a very fast paced game. The thing to remember about high school sports overall is that you are shooting kids, this is not for the NBA and we don’t need to focus on just getting the point guard and the three pointers. We need to be aware of every child and be sure to photograph them, even if it is just them on the bench, warming up, or cheering on other teammates. It is helpful to remember that you want to portray a story when photographing a basketball game, starting with the warmups and pep talks, to the player introductions, to the jump, and to all the action, defensive and offensive.
Now getting every child photographed is all fine and dandy, but you have to make sure those images are usable quality images. This post is going to focus on working in manual mode on a Canon camera. There are four things that are the most important to address in regard to camera settings. The first is to remember, as mentioned before, that it is a fast game. This means that your shutter speed is probably the most important setting to focus on. The higher you can get your shutter speed the faster it is going to stop motion. I like to shoot with my shutter speed between five hundred and eight hundred. You don’t want to just take your shutter speed up as high as it can go because then it will be closing so fast that it hardly lets any light into the camera, and since you are working with ambient light inside a gym this is something to keep in mind. There is not a lot of extra light to be spared generally.
Now the second setting I would set is my ISO, now this is similar to the shutter speed in the sense that you don’t want to just jack it up as high as possible. The higher the ISO the grainier the image. Now this does vary a lot based on the camera model you are working with, a Mark III for instance can go higher with its ISO before you get grain compared to a Mark II. I usually shoot with a Mark III, so I am usually around eight thousand ISO.
Thirdly would be the f-stop. This determines the depth within the image, the shallower the depth the more light there is, so you can pretty much take this as low as you need to. Just keep in mind that if you get your f-stop down to 2.8 you are going to have to make sure that you hit your target otherwise it will be very easy to have an out of focus image.
Lastly, you want to be sure you have an adequate white balance set. Now this one can be tough because all gym lights are different and cast different hues, as well as the school’s colors everywhere. I will usually either use auto white balance and let the camera figure it out, or do a custom white balance with an expo-disc.