June 15, 2009 / Photography

Volleyball photography tips

Written by Bruce Konkle

Volleyball is one of the easier sports to photograph for most scholastic photojournalists if they know the correct shooting positions and have access to the proper lenses. The court size is fairly small compared to playing areas of other sports.

Since it is played indoors, however, lighting problems may still occur. Using fast films will help. So will using lenses with large aperture openings (F4, F3.5, F2, etc.). While some photographers may use flash, it can be quite bothersome to players while they’re concentrating on their next move.

One basic method of shooting involves pre-focusing on one specific area of the volleyball court and waiting for action to occur there. The other involves following the action as it takes place. Your choice of technique may depend on the speed of the action (bumping or hitting).

If it is fairly fast-paced, pre-focusing on people in the back court may work best if they are preparing to dig a hard hit. If it is fairly slower-paced, such as setting or, to some degree, blocking, it is fairly easy to react to were the ball is coming and quickly focus the camera. If you use all automatic settings, you will not have to worry about setting f-stops and shutter speeds but you should know how to override automatic settings if you desire to stop fast action or have better depth of field.

Position A
Using a 35-85mm range lens from near the net supports, you will get some great hitting and blocking photos. A lower angle also will emphasis the height of players and the net.

Position B
If bleachers are nearby, consider shooting from a slightly higher-than-net angle with a medium-range lens to capture facial ex- pressions of hitters and blockers at the net.

Position C
From the side of the back serving line, you are able to capture serves and back-row action with a normal (50mm) or medium-range (85-105) lens.

Position D
From about halfway up the sidelines, you will be able to capture action that occurs in the back court, usually passes to a server by a player saving a hit.

 

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.