Commack High School Girls Varsity Volleyball vs. Ward Melville

Commack High School Girls Varsity Volleyball vs. Ward Melville

Very exciting match between two undefeated teams. This one went an extra game and both teams played very well. Congratulations to Commack on their win.

Commack's north gym is a challenging place to photograph. The lighting is dim and the walls are bright (and I mean bright) yellow. There are areas of the court where much bluer daylight streams in through the doors, open to provide relief from the heat which is especially oppressive when the stands are full, as they were for this match.

Fear not. I have some tips for you. For everything except the heat, that is. First, crank up your ISO to make sure you expose properly. You do not want to underexpose because correcting underexposure in post will amplify any noise in the image; and I guarantee you will have noise in your image. 

Second, white balance will not solve the color problems. You can try auto white balance.. You can set a manual white balance. You can take a reading off a gray card for a custom white balance. Nothing will get the colors looking real because (a) the lamps in the ceiling are constantly shifting color with each cycle of the A/C electricity, (b) the lamps don't emit light that covers the full spectrum, (c) you're getting yellow light reflecting off the bright yellow walls and (d) you're getting orange light reflecting off the wood floors. Nothing will get the colors correct in camera. Nothing. You'll need to correct the colors in post-processing (sorry about that) or live with them.

If you made it this far and you're willing to go the post-processing route here are some things to try. First, get the white balance as close as possible. I generally do a custom white balance off a gray card but use whatever method will get you close. Next, make any exposure corrections in post first; these may effect the colors in the photo. Look at the skin tones; this is what you want to make look as "normal" as possible. If they look too orange you can back off on the orange saturation using your HSL tool. If they look too red, first decide whether or not this is because the players skin is red (I mean, they're playing all out in a sweltering gym) or if the lamps are causing the red tint. If it's the lamps you can shift the red hue towards yellow, again using the HSL sliders. You may find that their faces, especially when looking up, are a little white. This is normal because when they look up they get light directly from the lamps and not reflected off the walls or floors. You may also find that you can get good skin tones on their upper bodies but their legs are still too orange; that's the light reflecting off the floor. You can fix this by using the adjustment brush to desaturate or add color to specific areas.

By now you're probably saying to yourself, this sounds like a lot of work. Yup. Only you can decide whether it's worth it or not. But if you shoot in any high school gym, and many college gyms, you're going to run into these problems. That's show biz.

Have fun.

 

Commack High School Varsity Football vs. Ward Melville

Commack High School Varsity Football vs. Ward Melville

Evening at the Oasis

Evening at the Oasis