Technique(s) for Shooting Basketball

Discussion in 'Sports' started by john_fetcho, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. I have the opportunity to shoot a Div. 1 college basketball game from the baseline and I want to make the most of the opportunity. As such, I want to take as many quality shots as I can. By quality, I mean good action shots.
    Generally speaking, I have the technical side (camera, lens, f-stop, iso, etc.) covered. I also have a very thorough understanding of the game; I played it at the high school ("HS") level and officiated it on both a HS and college level for nearly 20 years.
    What I would like to get advice on is more philosophical. Should I concentrate on following the ball or should I concentrate on the players in the high action areas (the lane as an example) and wait for the ball to come to them? Any suggestions on how you've successfully covered basketball games and what I can do to better anticipate shots (both mine and the shooter's) and increase my odds for better action shots would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. The key with this will be, as with all sporting events, never stop shooting. There's always action. If there is no play on the court, the coaches might be screaming or the players might have some great expressions on their faces. Always keep your eyes open.
    As far as following action. I would keep a general eye on the ball, but more key is anticipating what is going to happen next so you can shoot through the play. You said you played ball so you should have a good feel of how the game progresses and what teams are most likely to do next so that's what I'd be watching for. If you're familiar with a certain team, you'll know their style, who they like to get the ball to and how, so watch for that and always be involved. For example one of the HS teams I shoot always tries to get the ball inside to their power forward or outside to the small forward, so I keep an eye out especially for those players and their tendencies.
    Good luck and have fun.
  3. Sounds like you've shot basketball in the past, so you know what to look for. Coach reactions, player gestures and other similar grabs are always good. But three things (IMHO) make for a good sports image; (1) the offensive player (preferably with face visible), (2) a defensive player and (3) the puck/ball. Those are the most dramatic shots and the ones people buy/publish most often.
    When shooting b-ball, I use two bodies, one with a 50mm for under the basket and another with the 70-200 for action farther up court. Watch for guys coming down on the wings without the ball getting in position for the ally-oop passes.
  4. Different sport
  5. Much better.
  6. John - I do a lot of basketball photography at my former high school - both boys and girls. I've had great success shooting opposing players vying for position in the lane after a failed foul shot. I also try to focus on an offensive/defensive pairing away from the play, who might be anticipating a pass. Usually, you can get a one on one situation without too many extraneous players in that shot. Another nice shot is one of the offensive guard dribbling the ball toward the offensive zone, while being checked by a defender. With any luck you'll have just those two players in the shot. One more thing - if you can - shoot with both eyes open - you'll have a better chance of capturing the shot you're after when you can see the play developing. If you'd care to see some excellant basketball/sports shots - have a look at Wilson Tsoi's portfolio here on PN - outstanding.
  7. Basketball is fun to shoot because the action is continuous and facial expressions are priceless. I try to capture three simultaneous elements: 1) faces, 2) the ball, 3) movement. Sometimes I follow the ball, especially when a player is driving the baseline or lane. Outside shooting is a good opportunity to capture all three elements but timing is crucial since the ball is out of the frame very quickly. Fast breaks are always fun because of the potential for great slams.
    I like three lenses for basketball. The 70-200 2.8 is always on one camera. If I want defensive shots, especially blocks and rebounding, I like the 300 2.8. For under the basket and special perspective shots, I like a wide angle lens, like the 16-35 2.8. The 50mm is just too slow, for my liking, to follow the action.
    The NCAA has the baseline marked with a boundary for photographers and videographers. This may influence the angle of capture for the far offensive corner so pick your spot accordingly as the baseline can get crowded. I try to utilize two positions, one near the goal and the other at the corner.
  8. I agree with the others who stress getting faces and the ball in the picture. I try to follow the ball with the AF set on continuous. If I shoot 200 shots at a game, there will be 5 or 6 where the faces and the ball are all clear. It helps if you know particular players and their moves. Then you can anticipate where the action will go. There was a time when I was shooting single shots and trying to catch the peak of action. Now I just hold down the shutter release and shoot at 5 fps. I rarely use anything but a 50 mm f/1.8 lens. I woujld like to use a zoom lens to catch actino at the far end, but in the dark sgym when I often shoot, I need ewvery bit of light I can get.
  9. I suggest anticipation. seems like you have a great understanding of the game itself, so you should be able to anticipate action. basketball is so fast if you are just following the ball you will miss some good stuff. if you anticipate you might miss some, but you will capture some great shots. look around, you see a defensive player cheating towards the lane and the point guard doesnt see him, anticipate him jumping the pass. on a fastbreak, most of the time the guy with the ball will dish, so anticipate who he is going to dish to, then you capture him grabing the pass as well as putting upt he shot. you dont have to spend the whole game trying to anticipate action, but you need to take some chances here and there. like i said, sometimes you miss and you guess wrong and you have to try and react and go with where the play ended up. A lot of times you will get a great shot just before everyone else gets theirs.
  10. I took B Ball photos once and got a good idea of where would be a good places to stand. i spent most of my time under the hoop and off the side a bit, for fole shots try side cort.

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