Indoor Sports Photography

 

Indoor Sports Photography

Indoor sports like basketball, volleyball and gymnastics are very exciting sports to follow. Fast-paced and action-packed, these sports are nevertheless notoriously difficult to photograph. There is only one major reason for this. The indoor environment is not conducive to taking shots. In most situations the feeble lighting will produce dark pics or worse, badly colored ones (where one or two colors dominate)

Thus, to take an indoor sports photograph use a camera with high ISO settings (ISO denotes the sensitivity of the film, or image sensor in the case of digital cameras, to light; the higher the ISO, the more sensitive is the sensor and the better will the results be in low-light conditions). Most cameras now have light meters that allow you to determine whether available light is sufficient to produce the required exposure for a shot. One word of warning, though: high ISO settings enable the camera to detect fainter light signals. This means that light from the background (not from the subject) will also be detected. In other words, the picture produced digresses away from the intended subject. If you wanted to focus on a particular action or movement, then the shot would have failed. There is therefore a balance to be sought between the ISO setting and the need to produce useful shots. This balance can only be struck by the photographer’s own judgment and experience.

Shutter speed is also an important issue (as with all sports photography). This is because of the need to capture action and movement. Fast shutter speeds will enable you to freeze the motion, producing a clear photograph.

A low aperture lens is also desirable. Aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera. Because there is so little light available, a wide aperture is generally desirable so as to make maximum use of the ambient lighting. Usually, f2.8 to f4 apertures are sufficient. Autofocus cameras sometimes do away with the choice of choosing aperture width. However, these may not produce the desired results.

Indoor shots almost always require re-working. The chance of obtaining a perfect coloring with an indoor shot is quite unlikely. It is therefore advisable to shoot in RAW mode. Raw files are minimally processed at the level of the camera. They can be converted into viewable formats (JPEG etc.) through white balancing and color grading. This enables the photographer to correct deficiencies in the original picture. Raw files produce images of higher quality but it does involve some work.

After considering the technical details, one must now focus on the main aspect of sports photography: how to catch the human drama on film? The main purpose of the sports photographer is to capture the emotions displayed by the players. The emotion is what distinguishes a great shot from a good one. Be on the lookout for expressions: anger, aggression and rivalry but also joy and excitement of victory. If you have to, sacrifice sharpness for that outstanding shot of a single emotive action. This shot is worth much more than a thousand clear pictures.

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