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12-22-2018, 10:52 AM   #1
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Help with basketball shots

Obviously in need of advice. Camera on monopod. Shooting in "auto" I can capture moderate motion with some success, but the real action shots? Also getting a variation in exposure. Some shots are natural but some are over exposed.

Thank you

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12-22-2018, 11:15 AM   #2
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I think you'll get better help here in the Photographic Technique forum than in Post Your Photos forum. So I've moved your thread there.
12-22-2018, 11:26 AM - 1 Like   #3
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First get off of auto and go to manual mode, the lighting never changes so once you get the proper exposure dialed in your good to go. I try to keep the shutter speed at the very least 1/400 of a second or higher if possible, use the widest aperture and use your ISO to get your desired shutter speed.. Use manual white balance and set off of a gray card and you should be good. A tripod isn't helping since it is motion blur not camera shake, shutter speed will take care of that and hand holding the camera will allow you to follow the action much easier.
12-22-2018, 12:00 PM   #4
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Thank you!

---------- Post added 12-22-18 at 11:07 AM ----------

Thank you!!!

12-22-2018, 01:09 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Here's what I use...
Equipment:
Pentax k3-ii
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8

Settings (full manual except focus):
ISO 1600
f/2.8
1/500
Manual white balance

Your equipment may need different settings but that should help as a starting place. If you don't have a fast lens, try increasing the ISO if image quality doesn't suffer too much.

1. As mentioned, shutter speed needs to be 1/500 or faster to minimize motion blur.

2. Since lighting is consistent, use manual settings. This ensures all photos have the same exposure. If I don't like it when I get home, I can batch adjust the RAW to tweak exposure.

3. Don't let autofocus pick any random spot. Use spot focus and keep action on that spot. This is a bigger issue as you get closer to the action (I get to shoot from the floor).



https://www.flickr.com/gp/jaster131/r8ZSZY

12-22-2018, 01:41 PM   #6
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Thank you so much!
12-22-2018, 01:51 PM - 1 Like   #7
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From a clarity standpoint, if your lens has enough aperture (many of the kit lenses don't) set it a couple of stops above the largest aperture, and you will find focus easier to maintain and sharpness better.

Beyond that, I've found auto mode on my K3 to be woefully bad. When I feel like I don't want to have to think too much, or I just don't know what to use, I default to P mode. Take a couple of shots, playing with shutter speed, and check them. Once you get close, note the settings and move to shutter or aperture priority, or full manual. Heck, with Pentax, you can default into shutter or aperture priority while on the P setting by just moving the thumb wheels.

Taking test shots is a huge part of figuring out the light. Get there early and set up and shoot warm ups, and you'll see where you need to be set for the game.

Last edited by dubyam; 12-22-2018 at 08:34 PM.
12-22-2018, 02:14 PM   #8
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Yeah, by just pointing the camera at a scene and forgetting that you have to focus on your subject, Banskojoe, you let the camera focus on the strong lines of the seating instead of the players.

So, +1 to Jspi's advice of choosing single spot focus, and mastering panning to follow your target.

The monopod is perfect for this.

12-22-2018, 02:28 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Can't wait for the next game.

Thank you all very much!
12-22-2018, 02:58 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Banskojoe Quote
Obviously in need of advice. Camera on monopod. Shooting in "auto" I can capture moderate motion with some success, but the real action shots? Also getting a variation in exposure. Some shots are natural but some are over exposed.Thank you
This particular photo was taken at 53mm. The 70-200mm lens would give you a "closer" view, so one of the questions you need to ask yourself is what kind of view do you want .... and you may want to ask that question before spending over $700 on a new lens.
12-22-2018, 04:00 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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The EXIF of your photo shows an exposure compensation setting of. +0.7 and using Spot metering mode. Neither of these is helping you at all. Get the EC back to zero and use matrix pattern metering to get better exposures.
12-22-2018, 05:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The EXIF of your photo shows an exposure compensation setting of. +0.7 and using Spot metering mode. Neither of these is helping you at all. Get the EC back to zero and use matrix pattern metering to get better exposures.
Spot metering? Yikes!

12-22-2018, 05:52 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I've shot high school boys basketball with exactly the same equipment. Unless you want all of the players to be in the picture, I would zoom in. That will help to get focus on the players not on the background (and getting moving players in focus will be your greatest challenge). You will have to move the camera while holding it to keep up with the play and if you zoom in too much, you still won't be able to keep up when a player passes the ball (the whole idea of basketball is to get the ball to a position where there isn't a defender, so it is pointless to try to anticipate where the ball or a player will be). Unless the play is the length of the court away from you, 70-100mm will cover most of your shots, which means that your widest aperture with this lens will be f5.6 (it switches from f4.5 to f5.6 at 68mm).


Based on the EXIF information for the photo you posted, this is a poorly lit gymnasium, so be prepared to ignore conventional wisdom on shutter speed and ISO settings. I would set your shutter speed at 1/160 second and let the camera decide what ISO and aperture need to be. Don't use exposure compensation, at high ISO settings you won't have much latitude to adjust exposure in post processing. You don't want motion blur in faces or jerseys, but some blur in hands, feet and the ball is not only acceptable, but is preferable to capture a sense of movement instead of awkwardly frozen poses. At the risk of offending parents of female basketball players, if you move the camera to keep up with the play, you won't need a faster shutter speed than 1/160. Even with male players, 1/250 is fast enough if you are actually following the play and not wildly moving the camera to catch up (if you don't move the camera at all, you won't get the focus you want, the K-30/K-50 has abysmal tracking auto-focus).

Last edited by RGlasel; 12-22-2018 at 06:17 PM.
12-22-2018, 07:09 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I used to shoot a lot of basketball and more recently I have been shooting hockey where the players are often moving even faster.

You have already received some good advice earlier in the post. I usually set my ISO at 800 or 1600 to get a shutter speed of 1/250 to 1/500.

I always shoot manual exposure. On a basketball court, the court and players are usually well lit from above, but the stands behind the players are not well lit. If you shoot in auto and your camera takes a reading from the dark stands behind the players, you will be over-exposed and get a washed-out picture. This is where the test shots come inófigure out the right settings during warm-ups and leave them. Zooming may change your aperture and exposure but at a fixed zoom, the exposure should not change much.

I also shoot manual focus. If you are shooting from the stands you should have a fairly wide depth of field if you are around 4-5 f-stop. Again, use the lines or logos on the court to check focus in some test shots. If your exposure and focus are in manual, there is virtually no shutter delay taking s picture, so you are less likely to miss a shot.

It takes some practice to get the right timing, so donít expect every shot to be a keeper. If you get 2 or 3 good shots per s game, that is pretty good. Good luck and have fun!
12-23-2018, 07:06 AM   #15
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If basketball photography is really important to you consider getting a faster lens like F/2.8. A zoom isn't necessary since there seems to be plenty of room to move around, i've taken many high school basketball photos and i don't own a F/2.8 zoom.
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