I love all the different kinds of photo sessions I offer to my clients. I love family sessions, senior sessions, and of course sports sessions. I do a lot of baseball photography, but recently I had the opportunity to photograph some basketball games. And let me tell you something…there’s no better way to keep yourself level headed than to attempt to photograph a sport you are not used to photographing. And to top it off, it is an indoor sport.
As most of you know, I am a natural light photographer. That means I do not like to use a flash. I do, on occasion, when someone needs some photos inside, or some special sort of headshot. And I recently had to use flashes on my pregnancy announcement photoshoot which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. But flash photography is never my first choice. I only use a flash when it is absolutely necessary.
I am definitely a sports fan, so I’m familiar with most sports. I enjoy watching football, basketball, tennis, and many other sports. And I understand most of them. However, photographing them is an entirely different story. I can pretty much photograph baseball in my sleep. That is my son’s sport, so I am out on the fields just about every weekend, chasing him and his team around with my camera.
And in most cases, the weather is sunny with blue skies. Occasionally, I take pics on a cloudy day (sometimes at night), but it’s never the kind of light that I dealt with shooting basketball pictures. The horrible, orange lighting in the gyms was just one of the challenges I was facing while trying to get some decent basketball pictures.
Baseball, I now understand, is one of the easier sports to photograph. One main reason is that the movement of the players is pretty predictable in baseball. I know that all players, once they hit the ball, will be moving around the bases in a certain direction, all trying to get to home plate. I can set up my focus points before the action even happens.
With basketball, that is not true. The movements are fast and erratic. The only thing I can predict is that they are all hoping to sink the basketball in the hoop. But how they get the ball from wherever they are on the court to the basket, is anyone’s guess! The movement is never predicable (at least as far as I can tell), and the players are often clumped together. This gave my eye-detection and facial tracking focus system a fit!
So this is going to be a process. Luckily, my neighbor doesn’t mind me tagging along with her to see her sons play ball. So I get some really good practice time shooting at an actual game. This is the very best way to learn.
One very important thing I learned at these basketball games, is that I’m not sure that my 70-200mm lens is the perfect basketball lens. I know my husband hates to hear this, but if basketball becomes a regular sport that I shoot, it might be time to research which lens I need to add to my arsenal!
For now, I’ll keep on with my 70-200, and when one setting doesn’t work, I’ll move on to the next one. By the end of the season, y’all might just seem some really impressive basketball photos. In the meantime, I’ll keep working. Just give me a season or two…
If you need some pictures, let me know how I can help. You can find me over at Paula Mason Photography!
Until next time…