What is the best way to take indoor Volleyball Pictures?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by george_cotto, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. What is the best way to take indoor volleyball pictures. I have a Canon EOS Rebel T1i. Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L (non-is). Can't use flash for the volleyball games. Do I use the auto setting, sports setting or manual? Do I change auto white balance setting?
    Also, should I get a light meter and walk on the area of the court where the players are to determine the iso, shutter and aperature and then set it manual and walk back to the bleachers for the shot. I understand that the first thing about sports photos is to get physically as close as possilbe to the action.
    In addition, which focus set up should I use? Sometimes the pictures are not clear where I aimed but other objects that I did not intend to focus on are clear.
    I have polarizer. I heard that the polarizer will reduce the fstop by 2. Do I take it off? Also should I use the lense hood?
    Thank you.
  2. I shot a Volleyball game last night,No need to use a polarizer. I shot it with a Sony A700 & 70-200 Sigma 2.8 HSM.Shoot RAW, set a custom white balance then tweak in post processing. I shot in Aperture priority shooting at F/2.8 iso 4000 that gave me a shutter speed From 1/250-1/350, also continuous focus, with center spot. I shoot from the bleachers and on the floor. You will get a lot of out of focus shots thats normal but keep practicing.Remember No ball no face no shot.
  3. Welcome to photonet George. we hope to give you advice. but it does help if you do not double post your requests. warm regards miken
  4. Thank you Phil. Very Helpful. Will post my results after the next tournament.
  5. Hi George - I shoot High School sports and volleyball, here are my recommendations (not in any particular order)
    1. Don't use the polarizer (yes you may lose a stop or so) - better for outdoors on a bright day/water scenes
    2. Yes do use the lens hood - prevents reflections/lens flare (and protects lens)
    3. You will need to use a high ISO (800 or 1600) so you can get the shutter speed high enough to stop action (at least 1/250 or higher)
    4. Do a custom white balance - check manual on how to do this, but basically shoot a white object (or piece of paper) with lens set to manual focus, fill the frame with it and take a photo- then set WB to Custom and select that photo as the target WB photo - this will make your colors more consistent in sometimes funky gym lighting - best to do this on the court if they let you......or you can use a players white jersey (again fill the frame) as a target
    5. Shoot RAW - gives you more latitude to adjust after - and if you use Lightroom 3 you can process one file and apply to all the others making global adjustments faster
    6. You will get varying opinions on TV (shutter priority) vs AV (Aperture) or Manual - either can work, but manual is best for consistent results - set your ISO, then go to TV and see what the highest shutter speed is you can get - over 250th or higher. Then note the Aperture and go into manual mode and use those settings - that will give you consistent results - you will probably be at f2.8/f4.0 but that will give you the highest complimentary shutter speed
    7. Use the Center focus point and AI Servo mode - to track moving objects
    8. Use high speed AF drive mode so you can capture bursts to get more keepers
    9 Get up high in the stands - this way you can get shots from both ends of the court at once - opposite the Referee so the chair isn't blocking the net action (if possible)
    10. Move around if they let you, get some shots from behind the court focusing on the action at net and servers - try laying down and shooting UP too for some different perspectives
    11. A monopod may help as well steady the camera if you are in a stationary position
    12. And last, get there early during practice to test your settings and enjoy!
  6. Excellent. Thank you Mark.
  7. I'll greatly disagree on the #11.. use of a monopod .. for volleyball there's way too much movement up and down for it to be of much use unless you're going to be standing around a long time between matches, then you can mount the camera after to carry it around.

    Crop pretty tight on volleyball also.. eliminating worthless background stuff, especially if you're at a tournament with split gyms and people everywhere.
    Probably a bad example given the Xcel center's lighting for the state tourney but:
    An ISO 2500 F2.8 1/800 shot (lucky to get eyes framed in the net, by accident)
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What MS wrote.
    There's a place for both tight and wide court shots.
    A monopod is not mandatory - but may assist. I take mine I don’t always use it. (for diving and gymnastics - up and down movement - I often use a ball head and not super tight.)
    I'd to Mark's list add:
    1. In the first instance concentrate on getting the main subject in the centre of the frame and using a CONTRAST edge for the AF to follow. Like the edge of the white number on a dark singlet for example.
    2. DO NOT underexpose.
    3. Do NOT be afraid to use ISO3200.
    4. F/3.2 or F/3.5 with that lens for that action (beginning/learning) is better than F/2.8 - so I suggest you sacrifice ISO to make that F/3.5 aperture (if the Shutter speed is available)
    5. I would want you (learning) to use 1/500s if possible - 1/320s minimum.
    6. I am ambivalent about machine gun fire - I shoot maybe a burst of three only and only sometimes.
    Notice how Mark’s sample image captures the two girls at the point of least movement (top of the jump) - hence leveraging the slow shutter speed of 1/250s.
    Personally I would rather time the shot and pull one shot only: but let's not be bloody mined about it - digital is cheap - a lot cheaper than film - and if you've got several frames per second available you might as well use it - but perhaps still think about a short burst and a meaningful short burst.
    But hey – it is aslo a good discipline to know how to pull one shot only.
  9. you can setcamera on manual. The light intensity is steady, ie not changing. Set ISO probably at 1600 or 2000, aperture f2.8. Hopefully shtter spd will be min f 1/320! 1/400 obviously better. Go higher on the ISO if not getting decent exposure. You'll get slightly less noise with higher ISO and a resulting good exposure than a lower ISO and a dark exposure result.
    I usually use an 85 1.8 lens and shoot at f2.2 The 70-200 is hard to swing back and forth trying to follow the action, esp. from the side lines. Better to be at one end of the court and wait for action at the net.
    No need for polarizer, which is generally for daytime, specialty use. should have a uv filter on most of the time & not a polarizer. use lens hood to keep ceiling lights off the lens. Auto WB, shoot raw.
    focusing...every sport takes practice to keep up with the action. You can't get everything. set constant auto focusing ( not sure what that's called on Canons.
    check out flickr volleyball groups. There are several good ones and you can usually click and find out what lenses and settings were used.
    analyze their compositions. Shoot landscape and portrait! Seems like most of my images are shot in portrait position. Again, go to Flickr and do some research. The beach volleyball is 'interesting' to look at, but you need to look at the hgh school, club and college shooters.
  10. shoot tri-x pushed to 1800 asa in the darkroom oh wait it isn't 1971 anymore!
    All good comments except for one missing one. Learn volleyball so you can anticipate where the action is going to be.
    I like center point focus rather than servo mode.
    If you are allowed get a smaller fast lenses (35mm to 50mm) and shoot up from the floor around the referees stand.
    Shoot at 250 to get blurs on arms and balls and 500 and above for sharp stop action.
    May get some disagreement on this but go ahead and shoot at a high ISO then post process with dfine plug-in from Nik Software. I have even taken old pushed tri-x shoots with huge grain and gotten great results.
    Ed (UCSB 1971 Volleyball team) , Volleyball Magazine.
  11. Ai Servo and Center Point are two different things.. one's the motor and one's the spot you're telling the lens to focus
  12. I have shot professional (not high-school and not college) volleyball on a number of occasions and I would add this to what some of the previous posters have said already:
    1. Shoot manual. Set a speed of at least 1/320 (for women's volleyball) and at least 1/500 for men's volleyball. The average time between a ball being received, set and spiked in a men's match is usually less than 1 1/2 secs (with the spike often being completed in less than 1/10th of a second and the ball travelling in excess of 50mph, so 1/200 will simply not be enough.
    2. Depending on lighting conditions, I would add about -1/3 exposure compensation (more if you're shooting in a well lit stadium) to retain some of the contrast the overhead lights will rob from you.
    3. I concur that you should not shoot at f/2.8, as at 200mm it is not the sharpest possible. Shoot at 3.5 at 200mm.
    4. Depending on how adept you are at tracking the players and predicting plays (which is easier the more familiar you are with the game - I used to be a semi-professional player in my university years, so it kinda comes naturally to me), you might want to experiment with your Continuous Servo autofocus, ASSUMING your camera can handle it (I'm not familiar with the Canon, but my Nikon D200 could not keep up most of the time, while the D700/D3 is more than fine!)
    5. Placement, placement, placement. Try and avoid standing on the floor. Try and get some kind of elevation, preferably somewhere at the height of the referee. Also, the best shots are shot from inside a couple of meters on either side of the net - no more - and from the two ends of the terrain (even though that would, most likely, require a longer than 200mm lens)
    6. Whoever it was who said (I think it was in your other post): "no ball, no face, no shot" was a genius! Keep that in mind and you'll be okay...
  13. George, you've got $2K worth of gear there, buddy. Set it to Auto and let it rip. Seems to works for the Coach-carrying soccer moms in my neighborhood.
    Alternatively, you could take a bunch of shots, do a little reading and see where things head.
  14. I am just starting with a D90 and Sigma 18-200 so by no means do I have much to add, however, if the light is bad (which it has been at all of the events so far) I just go to B&W in post editing.
    I shoot mostly in shutter priority 1/500, iso 2500 to 3200. Because I can get close, I am at 18mm to 100mm for most of my shots. If I shoot in aperture priority I get better exposure but the ball and arm motion won't freeze.
    Next weekend I am renting a Sigma 50-150 F2.8 and 17-50 f2.8 so hopefully I'll be able to shoot in color. Great way to see exactly what you wnat/like before dropping the bucks.
  15. a few more
  16. last one, another OH hit
  17. very good...thanks for sharing tje knowledge...

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