Tag Archives: basketball

Basketball Team Photos – Additional Ideas

Different Angles

Experiment. Take your basketball team photos from different vantage points. Especially when shooting a larger team.  One great method is to elevate yourself with a ladder or other device. Your shooting angle will be down at the team, which will help to ensure everyone is seen in the photo. Also, the higher angle tends to provide a different and unique view of the athletes. Bleachers are another excellent device for posing your teams. You can use the seats to tier the group upward; however, you still don’t want to place the tall people down in front if you can avoid it.

Take Multiple Shots

This is one time you shouldn’t be hesitant to take multiple shots quickly. You wouldn’t typically switch the camera to continuous shooting mode, but it can often work well, catching them off-guard just as they are relaxing. In fact, we have found that the mere fact of the basketball team hearing your camera go off repeatedly and so quickly will generate a few smiles and laughs. Since it’s hard to get everyone to smile at exactly the right time, take many photos quickly. You will find that the first shot might not be that good, but the second or third will be better because they look a bit less posed and more relaxed.

Use this opportunity to change settings on your camera. Take multiple shots while changing the aperture, shutter, ISO, and white balance. Compare the differences and pick your favorites back at the house. With practice you will find you need to do less and less of this because you will know the best setting for any given circumstances.

Be Creative

If there is a chance at the basketball gym or location to do something unique, go for it. Along with the standard poses, try something different or fun, and your photos will stand out from others. Try standing your athletes in lockers looking out, or lined up in a single row, or lying in a circle. Look around. Take advantage of props unique to the basketball gym or location. Break the rules once in a while! We always do a "fun" shot where subjects can make silly faces and point at each other.

Shooting Basketball Custom White Balance

Remember that the purpose of white balance is to ensure the colors in your photos accurately represent the colors as you see them with your eye.  If you are not achieving the colors you want in that old dingy basketball gym another option to use the custom or manual white balance setting.  Don’t let those words scare you away it’s not that difficult.  In some basketball gyms you might find custom or manual the best way to find and then save a color setting that works.

What is custom white balance
In simplest terms you are giving the camera a reference “white” photo from which it can create proper color for your photos.  You put the camera in a mode telling it you are going to take a reference white photo, take it and then the camera will do it’s magic.  By doing this in the same lighting you will be shooting your basketball photos the camera will help you achieve proper color.  Then once you achieve the best white balance you can for that location, if it’s one you come to often, you can save it as one of the presets and you’ll be ready to go each time you come back to that gym.  I took the following three shots using various white balance, the first florescent, the second incandescent, and the third a manual white balance using the white wall on the side of the gym.

Florescent WB

 

Incandescent

Incandescent WB Fluorescent

Custom WB (shot the white wall) Custom

What to use
A number of items can work for your reference shot, from purchasing a white or grey card to using many free items found around your home.

  • white or grey card (purchased)
  • 3×5 card
  • coffee filter
  • pringles lid (at least they are good for something)
  • Inside of your camera bag (often the proper grey)
  • White paper or items in the gym

How to do it
Essentially you will tell the camera you are going to do a custom setting, then take a picture of something that is ALL white and then save the setting.  Those are the steps.  Below are the steps for a Nikon D200,  other cameras will be similar only the buttons you press may be different

Step  1 – Place your card or item in the lighting

Step  2 – Change or rotate your WB setting to “PRE”

Step  3 – Fill the viewfinder with white (all white, focus doesn’t matter)

Step  4 – Press the WB button until the PRE begins to flash

Step  5 – Release the WB button; then press the shutter button (taking a photo)

Step  6 – You will now see “Good” or “NoGd” on your display (- Good means you have now set a preset, otherwise do it again)

Saving the results
Your custom white balance is now set and saved.  On the D200 you can save up to 5 presets.  This can be helpful when you are returning to the same gym to shoot basketball.  Once you have the color the way you want it, just remember that location on your presets and don’t overwrite it.

Go try it, it’s not that hard and you might just achieve that beautiful color you’ve been looking for.

Scott

Shooting Basketball (Fluorescent Lighting)

We’ve talked about the challenges of shooting basketball in old gyms.  Let’s get a bit more specific and talk particular types of lighting, starting with Fluorescent lighting.  You will find many basketball gyms using fluorescent lights because of the cost savings.  Fluorescent lights though cause real challenges in achieving good basketball photos.  We are all familiar with those long fluorescent light tubes we see in offices and commercial buildings.  This same design continues today, but it has also changed with looped tubes and other tube designs that can often make it difficult to tell by just looking at the light fixture if you are shooting in a fluorescent gym.

A little history and background
Fluorescent lights began being used commercially back in the 1930s.  They became popular because fluorescent lights are more efficient than incandescent light.  Fluorescent lights are a gas discharge light which means that electricity is used to excite an ionized gas such as mercury vapor.  The resulting ultra-violet radiation is converted to visible light with a fluorescent coating on the inside of the lamp.  Standard heat temperature ratings (kelvins) do not apply to fluorescent lights, in addition fluorescent lights change over time through usage, making basketball photography under fluorescent light most difficult.

Okay…………..that was probably more than any of us wanted to know and what does that have to do with how you get a good basketball photo…………………  

Bottom line
We are real fans of automatic white balance, but basketball gyms and fluorescent lights are one place it usually doesn’t work well.  Fluorescent lights typically produce a more warm color in the orange and red range.  When that combines with yellow/orange hardwood floors and wood bleachers you can get some very orange photos.  
There are primarily three things you can do to improve the color in your basketball photos::

  1. Try the “fluorescent” white balance setting on your camera.   That setting will often compensate quite well for the lights.   
  2. You can manually set the white balance by shooting something white in the gym and then manually adjusting the white balance.  We will cover this in a future blog, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
  3. Shoot in RAW mode and adjust the white balance afterwards.  We also plan to cover this in a blog.

So, if your basketball photos are looking real orange, or reddish try that fluorescent setting and see what you get!


Scott

Three Keys to shooting basketball

It’s basketball season and time to capture some amazing photos at the gym.  Of course the challenge is shooting indoor basketball with lousy lighting at old basketball gyms, not to mention the yellow wood floors and bleachers that can reek havoc with your white balance.

Key #1 Equipment
This is a case where you are going to need a nice lens.  No way around it, you really need a lens with an aperture of 2.8 or you will really struggle getting enough light in poorly lit gyms.  You can use a smaller lens but I find the 80-200mm ideal allowing me to catch action most anywhere on the court.  You might get away with a smaller lens if you can get close to the court and if you are willing to wait for the action to come to you.

Key #2 Where to Position Yourself
My preference is in the bleachers at the end of the court and a bit off to one side so the backboard doesnt’ get in the way.  If there are no bleachers on the end then standing at the end can work as well, just be careful of the refs blocking your shots.  If you shoot from the middle of the court you can find some unique angles but you will seldom get the face of your player while they are shooting.

Key #3 Frame a Great Photo
The nice thing about basketball is there is a lot of action.  If you miss one shot it will certainly come around again and you will have another opportunity.  My favorite shots are when my player has the ball and there is contact and action with the defenders.  If I can catch that including my players face and the ball then I have a GREAT shot.  Remember your photos are always better with those two things, the ball and the face.  The player without the ball just isn’t that interesting and if you can see the ball and not the player’s face not so cool either.

DSC_0069

See you on the court!
Scott