Tag Archives: basketball

More Tips for Photographing Basketball

Here in Melbourne, Australia we are in Covid lock down number 4, giving me plenty of time to reconnect with my love-hate relationship with this blog! Prior to lock down it has been a super busy time shooting basketball, football, tennis and hockey. Through the local basketball club I have made a connection with another sports photographer who is looking for some advice on shooting basketball. Check out this post 5 Tips for Photographing Basketball. Below are more tips for photographing basketball.

Tip #1 – Include the Ball in Your Shot

Basketball – like most ball sports – revolves around the ball. As a general comment, images which include the ball are going to be more interesting than images without the ball. The ball provides context and focus for the action unfolding around it. Aim to have the ball visible in the majority of your images.


Tip #2 – Players Faces Make Images More Interesting

As a general rule in sports photography, images where you can see the players faces are going to be more interesting than players backs. For this reason I generally sit at the end of the basketball court and aim to create images of the team running towards me, where I can easily see their faces. Side on images can be interesting too, but if you want to see the players faces more consistently, shoot from the end of the court.

Shooting from the end of the court makes it easy to see players faces

Tip #3 – Look for Emotion

Basketball is a terrific game for capturing action and emotion as it all happens in a confined space. Displays of emotion are fairly predictable in a close game. Your can almost guarantee that there is going to be lots of emotion on display in the early stages of an important game, and at the closing stages of a close game.

Look for emotion on the bench and between players.

The bench is a great area to capture the emotion of the game

Tip #4 – Experiment with Slow Shutter Speeds

Basketball is a fast paced, high intensity game ideal for fast shutter speeds to freeze the action. Once you have plenty of those images, experiment with slow shutter speeds to create unique and interesting images. I usually look to a shutter speed around 1/20s but the exact speed you choose will depend on the age and speed of the players you are photographing. Pan along with the action as it unfolds. Expect to have lots of ‘failures’ with this technique, and a handful of winners which are unique.

Experiment with slow shutter speeds to create unique images

Tip #5 – Consider Your Background

It’s most common to focus on the subject of your image, and easy to forget about your background. Basketball can have a range of different backgrounds – crowds, signs, blank walls, other games – so consider what you what your background to be and the story you want it to help tell.

Consider the background for your images

Thanks for reading more tips for photographing basketball. Happy shooting.

Photographing 1000 Junior Basketball Players

Last month we photographed the Southern Peninsula Junior Basketball Tournament. It is an annual tournament held in November just before the start of the rep basketball season. This year the tournament featured 440 teams and was held at 14 stadiums and 34 courts around the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Those numbers speak for themselves – it is a very popular tournament with over 4000 players participating.

What were we photographing?

This year we photographed the under 12 division. We were shooting action portraits as the players competed. (Ironically the photo below is from the one under 14 game we photographed!)

basketball

Low light and fast action was a challenge

My understanding is that this is the first time the tournament has partnered with a professional photography business. The under 12’s featured 107 teams and over 1000 players. It was quite a challenge photographing 1000 junior basketball players.

How did we manage that?

We had 6 photographers across multiple venues on the Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. We aimed to shoot each team at least once, and photographed 70 games over the 2 days. That resulted in close to 10,000 action portraits featuring everything from young players new to representative basketball, through to some of the best under 12 players in the state.

Behind that was a lot of planning and scheduling about which photographers needs to be at what location shooting which game. I won’t sugar coat this – the planning was a very significant logistical challenge.

How was the lighting in the stadiums?

Tournament play was on 34 courts in 14 different stadiums. Some stadiums are new and well lit while, on the other hand, others are 30+ years old with no natural light.

We were aiming to shoot at 1/1000s to freeze the action. To achieve that we were shooting at high ISO – up to ISO8000 in one very dark stadium. It is amazing that today’s modern cameras can shoot fast moving action in this environment.

The wrap up

It was fun to see the kids in action, and a thrill to see them excited about the photos. Prints and digital downloads are available to order through password protected online galleries. The galleries are open for another 2 weeks and already it is a nice surprise to see how how popular prints are. I’ll save more of that for another Beyond Here post. Hooray for prints!

It was great to work with a strong team of photographers and reassures me that we can tackle bigger sporting events in the new year.

Thanks for reading ‘Photographing 1000 Junior Basketball Players’.

Freezing Motion

Freezing motion is a photographic technique to capture what the human eye cannot see. It is particularly effective in wildlife and sports photography. So what do we need to do to freeze motion, and how can we use this?

To be effective in freezing motion we need to use a fast shutter speed. To achieve this we may need to use a high ISO depending on the lighting conditions. How fast does the shutter speed need to be? That depends on how quickly the subject is moving. Let’s look at some examples of freezing motion.

Freezing motion

Freezing motion in indoor lighting conditions will require higher ISO

Indoor sporting settings are particularly challenging for freezing motion. The low levels of lighting will mean higher ISO settings are required to get fast shutter speeds. In this image the settings are ISO4000, 1/500s, f2.8

In this case the player has just set off from a standing start. For this shot 1/500s has been fast enough to freeze the action. If he was running full speed we would need a shutter speed of 1/1000s or faster to freeze the motion.

Black swan

Freezing motion is very effective in wildlife photography

Example two is a black swan. This image was taken at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne, Australia. The outdoor setting and brighter lighting means we can use lower ISO, though we still need fast shutter speeds to freeze the action. In this case the settings were ISO100, 1/1600s, f2.8.

The bright sunny conditions means I have been able to use ISO100 and 1/1600s to freeze the action. Smaller, faster wildlife will require fast shutter speeds than these. To achieve focus, I have selected a single focus point and focused on the swan’s head. In the sports examples, I have used the same technique. Choose a single focus point and focus on the player’s head.

Freezing motion

Freezing motion in sport is straightforward in well lit conditions

In example three we have a player running towards first base. The brightly lit outdoor conditions mean we can achieve fast shutter speeds with lower ISO’s. In this case the ISO is 200 and the settings 1/1000s and f4.5. Again, for faster moving subjects, higher shutter speeds will be required.

How might we use the techniques for freezing motion? The sports examples show you that action images are no longer reserved only for professional sports people. With today’s camera technology and these techniques it is possible to create action portraits in local, amateur sports too.

In example four, we have a cassowary. These very large, impressive, flightless birds are difficult to photograph. Being ready with the techniques outlined in this post, meant that when this cassowary moved its head in an unusual way, I was ready to capture a unique portrait. In this case the settings were ISO500, 1/200s, f2.8. The slower shutter speed was effective here because these large birds move relatively slowly (except when they are running!!)

Cassowary

Be ready with a fast shutter speed, and a single focus point

For success in freezing motion, keep your shutter speeds high, and use a single focus point. 1/500s will work successfully for larger, slower moving subjects – and 1/1600s and faster for smaller faster moving subjects.