How to Photograph Indoor Sports

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    Equipment Recommendations

    • 1). Be sure to choose a digital SLR camera that has a high number of frames per second, or FPS. In continuous mode, pressing and holding the shutter button will allow the camera to take continuous shots, and the more shots (or frames) per second the camera can capture, the better the chance that those shots will be in focus. Also, choose a lens that has a long telephoto range, such as 70-200mm. Doing so will allow for close-up shots even if the action is far away. Finally, choose a "fast" lens that operates well in low light levels. The lower the maximum aperture number is, the faster the lens, and the better it performs in dim lighting situations. For instance, a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 is "faster" than a lens with a maximum aperture is f/4. These concepts can be applied to point-and-shoot cameras as well; choose a model that possesses a high number of frames per second, has a long optical zoom range, and operates well in low light levels.

    • 2). Many venues do not allow the use of tripods, but will allow the use of a monopod. A monopod will increase the stability of the shot, without taking up as much space. This is especially useful when using the maximum range on a telephoto lens, when every little vibration is magnified. Be sure to keep in mind that a monopod-mounted camera cannot stand on its own, so be sure to continue to use the neck strap when using a monopod.

    • 3). Be sure to pack extra batteries and memory cards when photographing a sporting event. When shooting in continuous mode, a memory card can become full very quickly. The use of continuous shooting, as well as any auto-focus features the camera or lens may possess, will drain the battery more quickly than standard shooting.

    Shooting Tips

    • 1). Get as close to the action as possible. Many venues will allow spectators to stand on the sidelines, but be sure to ask permission before doing so. Press passes are available at professional or semi-professional events, but require application requests far in advance and are limited in quantity. If the venue has open seating, sit as close to the court or field as possible.

    • 2). Use a telephoto lens to bring the action closer. A lens with a wide zoom range, such as a 70-200mm lens, will allow for up-close shots that highlight a single player, as well as wider shots that depict the entire team or field. Using a monopod in tandem with a long telephoto lens will increase stability and result in shots that are in focus.

    • 3). Lead the players with the camera. Practice leading moving subjects before shooting any photos. Get a little ahead of the player in the frame, which gives them someplace to go within the shot, and follow them as they move. Use the shutter's continuous shooting mode, also called "speed", "burst", or "sports" modes, so that the camera will take multiple shots while the shutter button is held down. This is also a great way to photograph a series of shots that show, frame by frame, how the play occurred.

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