Winter sports season is upon us, which means most yearbook photographers are finding just how tricky this season can be. Indoor sports photography is, even for professional photographers, a challenge. Gymnasium lighting is almost NEVER 'good' lighting for photography, and if you don't have a high power flash to work with your camera, stop-action shots with good color are difficult to capture. Let's go through a few tips to help you get the most out of your indoor sports photography assignments:
1 - Watch for action! Position yourself somewhere the shots are going to SHOW how action packed the game was. Don't be afraid! You aren't going to get the shots you want by sitting up in the bleachers, half a gymnasium away from the winning serve/basket/throw. Get down on those sidelines and shoot, shoot, shoot! If you're using a digital SLR, shoot even more! Without having to worry about the cost of film, you have nothing holding you back on that trigger!
2 - Set your camera to a high ISO. Almost all digital SLRs allow you to choose your ISO or "film speed". Setting this to a higher number (1000 or above) makes your camera more sensitive to the light available...however, remember that the higher your ISO, the more 'noise' or 'grain' you will see in your images. Keep in mind, you are not typically going to enlarge these images, so a little grain is okay.
3 - Shoot with a faster shutter speed. When trying to capture action, your shutter needs to be QUICK! The sharper your photo from the beginning, the easier it is to adjust later in post production. When dealing with a blurry image, there isn't much you can do to sharpen it up. We recommend trying to get your shutter speed to 150 or above for action shots.
4 - Use a lens with a low aperture. When dealing with limited available light, a wide aperture (low f-stop number) is going to help you out quite a bit. It's important to make sure your camera is focusing on the player or details you want sharp, because the lower the f-stop, the more shallow the depth of field will be for your camera. That's how images like the following one can show the action in the foreground without being distracted by the writing on the banner in the background.
5 - Shoot in RAW setting if you can. The likelihood that you will achieve great coloring in a gymnasium is slim. Gym lighting is notorious for tinting things green. If your camera has the capability to shoot in RAW, the files WILL be larger, but it will be easier to address color issues as well as some noise and lighting issues post production as opppsed to shooting a straight jpeg.
We hope that these tips are helpful and if some of the photography terms sound foreign, maybe this is a good time to get out there and learn a little more about your camera settings! Your yearbook photos will thank you for it!
Speaking of being thankful, it IS November...and you know what that means! Your next checklist for keeping your project on schedule!
Print friendly version here.
Stay organized and be inspired!
The Idea Garden Team