Commack High School Boys Varsity Basketball vs. North Babylon
Here are some tips on photographing high school basketball games. If you're just here for the photos, scroll down to the bottom of the post and click on any thumbnail to open the gallery.
- I generally shoot basketball with two lenses - a 16-55mm (24-70 full frame equivalent) and a 50-140 (70-200 full frame equivalent). Our high school doesn't have a lot of room between the baseline and the wall, thus the reason for the shorter lens. If yours has more space you may only need the longer lens. Both lenses are f/2.8; you need all the light you can get in a high school gym.
- I generally hang out in one of two places - behind the baseline to either side of the key (shooting from under the basket is a no-no), or in the stands eye level with the side of the basket rim. When on the floor I switch from side to side in order to be on the opposite side of the lead referee (fewer referee butt photos). All this assumes you're shooting a regular season game where you're free to move around. For playoffs where you have a lot of media coverage your movement and positioning may be restricted. As always, the refs have the final say in where you can, and can't, shoot from.
- Use rubber lens hoods. This will protect a player who might run into you. It goes without saying you should quickly pull your camera behind you if you sense an inevitable collision.
- I try to maintain a 1/800 sec. shutter speed. In our gym this means shooting at ISO 6400 and f/2.8. Even with this the shots are a bit underexposed. Use manual exposure. You'll be shooting upward for many shots so you'll have the house lights in your photos and they'll fool your auto exposure into underexposing.
- As usual, with most sports, shoot on continuous drive and continuous AF.
- Be prepared to do some post processing, especially color correction. You'll inevitably get an orange color cast from the gym floor plus whatever color your gym walls are.
- As far as AF mode, that depends a lot on your camera. My Fuji XT-2 used to be pretty bad a zone focusing in low light but the latest firmware update seems to have improved it. Before that I used single point AF. You'll need to experiment with your camera to find what's best.
- Shooting from the stands? No problem. Since basketball players always look up to shoot you'll have a good angle plus you'll have fewer players blocking your shot.