Commack High School Girls Varsity Basketball vs. Brentwood
One thing overlooked by many people photographing high school sports is the bench. With all of the action happening on the floor it's difficult to turn your camera away and focus on other things.
You'll notice there's more than a few shots of the bench in this gallery, especially in the 2nd half. Players on the bench make for some great photos, especially when the game is close or someone makes a great play. Sometimes one shot can capture just about every kind of facial expression there is.
Photographing players on the bench is fairly straightforward. First, it's preferable to try for candids mostly. You want to capture the concentration, enthusiasm, depression, jubilation, etc. without having to stick a camera in their face and ruin the shot. Although, if they do notice you photographing you can sometimes get a fun shot (see the third from the end). One advantage of photographing the bench is that, as long as they're not jumping up and down, you can afford to lower your shutter speed and, likewise, your ISO to get a cleaner shot. Sometimes, however, this is cancelled out by the lower light around the perimeter of the court. In any case, you'll rarely have to worry about motion blur. Try for photos during an important foul shot or a tie-breaker. I also like to get the bench as a background when players on the floor are making shots or passes. And there's nothing quite like a photo of the bench going nuts at the moment of a big win.
So, next game try to sneak in a shot of the bench every now and again. They're an important part of the game.