Capture Basketball Action

Starting with these basics, you are guaranteed to come away from a game with good photographs.

Of course, as you become more experienced, please consider finding new angles and locations. Be artistic!


 Stand at the end of the court, at a point halfway from the basket to the corner of the court (see the “x” on the diagram below)

Option 1 – Shooting digital, set your ISO at 3200 to 6400. Exposure will be about 1/400 at f:4. Set your camera to high-speed multi-shot and your focus to full servo. Set custom WB by snapping a photograph of a sheet of white paper, or a white-balance target.

Option 2 – This is a technique we used in the days before modern digital cameras that work well in low light. Use this technique if other methods fail. Turn off autofocus on your camera. Focus on the net, which is about 12 feet away. Use a flash. Use at least ISO 400. Look for a setting that gives you about 1/60 at f 8. You are now using “pre-focus” and can shoot away in an arc from your position. With f:8, your depth-of-field will salvage many shots. Of course, action directly in front of you at the end of the court will be too close. If there is room behind you, simply back up about 10 feet to keep the shot in focus.


Photography positions

Photography positions

Keep your cropping relatively loose when taking the picture. Because the action is so fast, you want empty space in the frame to allow for flying arms and legs. Crop the final pictures for use in the yearbook.

Stay under the opposing team’s basket for the first half, and you’ll great shots of your team.

In the second half, try going under your own basket for some neat shots of your team rebounding.

In the second half, look for the sideline shots and photographs of cheerleaders.

Other shots: Turn your autofocus back on, and capture the scorekeeper(s) at the scorekeepers table. Get some tight shots of the coach at the sidelines. Get some tight shots of the players sitting on the bench – wait till they are looking in your direction as play moves behind you.

Get some shots of students in the bleachers cheering for their team.

At halftime, get action shots of the cheerleaders doing their halftime presentation. They usually do a pyramid to finish, so stand back or zoom to wide angle to capture the whole formation for a final shot. Try for an action shot of the cheerleaders at the sidelines during the game. When your players score, a cheerleader often will do a jump or a flip, and you can capture the cheerleader in the air for an exciting action shot.


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