June 18, 2009 / Photography

Basketball photography tips

Written by Bruce Konkle

Basketball tends to be a difficult sport to shoot because it is played in a gymnasium. Most high school gymnasiums are not well lit, thus it is very difficult to get a shutter speed high enough to capture the action unless you use a very high ISO film (3200).

Basketball is also difficult to shoot because the action moves very quickly and covers a large area. When shooting basketball the best spots for shooting tend to be around the baseline of one of the goals. From this position you can cover a wide variety of action shots on both defense for one team and offense for the other team.

The two basic methods of shooting involve pre-focusing on one specific area and waiting for the action to come to you, or continually focusing the camera as you follow the action around. The technique you use depends on the type of shot you are looking for. If you want to picture a layup or a specific player taking a jump shot you are better off focusing on a specific area and waiting for the action. If you are looking for a defense picture or one of dribbling then you are better off following the action with your camera and focusing as you go along.

Position A
Using a 24mm to 35mm lens from under the basket gives you a different lower angle than you might have used before. A longer lens could give you a close-up of a free throw shooter.

Position B
Using a 50/150 lens from the corner of the court lets you shoot a variety of action, including shooting, rebounding and defense.

Position C
Using a 50/105 lens from the side corner of the court allows you the chance to get good rebounding and shooting shots. Tight shots of players up near the rim are available with a 105mm lens.

Position D
Using a variety of lenses from near midcourt, you could shoot crowd shots, court action and coach/player reactions from the bench.


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Bruce Konkle

Dr. Bruce Konkle's previous work experience includes being a journalism teacher and publications adviser at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. He is the former director of the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association and former director of the Carolina Journalism Institute.