Best Settings For Indoor Sports Photography

By | 21/11/2022

Indoor sports are notoriously hard to photo. This challenge comes from a combination of three factors. Start, the activity in a sport is typically fast and difficult to capture. Second, the lighting atmospheric condition of indoor sporting events are mostly poor. There’southward not always enough low-cal, and the type of light creates bad coloring in photos. And finally, it tin can be hard for a photographer to become a skillful position to capture the action.

These factors may make information technology challenging to photograph indoor sports well, just non incommunicable. Here are five quick tips to help you shoot better photos at indoor sporting events.

Gary Griggs — University of Arkansas Razorbacks vs Academy of Florida Basketball game
Gary Griggs — University of Arkansas Razorbacks vs University of Florida Basketball (Cheerleader)

1. Arrive early.

For several reasons, it’south a adept thought to arrive early to a sporting consequence. First off, you can snatch up a better position in the stands. If you talk to whomever’s in charge, you may fifty-fifty go permission to shoot closer to the sidelines.

Often the players volition exercise before the game, too. This is an splendid opportunity for you to practice as well. Take a few examination shots. Figure out what camera settings work well with the lighting. If you’re lucky, you lot can already get a few good photos of the athletes.

2. Find a good position.

For a big part, your location in relation to the game will determine the quality of your photos. Information technology’s good to think about the ideal positions ahead of fourth dimension. As a rule, the closer yous can get to the action and the players, the amend your photos will be.

Ideally, you lot’ll exist able to move effectually freely, so you tin can go more than varied and amend angles. All the same, if you’re stuck to the stands, get as depression as possible. Brand certain you too get a skillful view of the areas that are crucial to the sport, such as the finish zone, scoring area, and handbasket.

Finally, you will get meliorate photos if the action is directed towards the photographic camera. Thankfully, teams switch sides in well-nigh sports, and so you should be able to go proficient photo opportunities at least half of the time.

Carina — Allow’s go Flyers !!!
Carina — Let's go Flyers (Hockey)

3. Become to know the three main camera settings: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

The about of import photographic camera settings for indoor sport photography are shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Knowing how these settings affect the terminate outcome will aid you take better photos of indoor sports.

Shutter speed

The shutter speed determines how much of the action in a sport is frozen. A fast shutter speed freezes the action; a wearisome shutter speed blurs the action. When an indoor sport is fast, you lot want to use a faster shutter speed, say 250 and up. For other sports, a shutter speed of sixty (or lower) volition suffice. In that location’s of course room for personal style and preferences. For example, some photographers like to shoot at a slower shutter speed because it captures more of the movement.

Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO together affect the light exposure of a photo. The shutter speed needs to be higher than normal for indoor photography, which isn’t platonic when combined with poor lighting. These conditions hateful that you lot’ll accept to compensate with aperture and ISO to get amend light exposure.


The aperture controls the amount of lite hit the lens. To pull in more than lite with a wide aperture, you’ll want the f-finish number to be as low equally possible, such as f/i.8, f/2 or f/4. A wider aperture results in a shallower depth-of-field, meaning that more of the groundwork and foreground in your photo will be out of focus. Keep in listen that a shallow depth-of-field will go far harder to focus on the activeness.


ISO controls the lite sensitivity of your camera’south sensor. With a college ISO, the camera’s sensor can selection upwardly low-cal more hands, so y’all tin have a faster shutter speed and narrower aperture. The downside of a higher ISO is that the sensor picks upward more noise. This racket makes the final photograph look granular. How high you can take the ISO level depends on your camera. A improve (and more expensive) camera will be able to shoot quality images even at higher ISO levels. As a rule of thumb, stick with a maximum ISO of 1600, unless yous know your camera can handle higher levels.

Knowing almost shutter speed, aperture, ISO and their trade-offs is half the work. Applying them comfortably to indoor sport photography will accept some practice, simply is well worth the endeavour.

Gary Griggs — University of Arkansas Basketball vs Southward Dakota State
Gary Griggs — University of Arkansas Basketball vs South Dakota State

4. Focus.

Beginning of all, you should stay mentally focused on the game. Indoor sports require your full concentration considering a lot tin happen in a brusque flow of time. If aught else, staying focused can forbid a brawl from striking your photographic camera.

In a technical sense, information technology’southward besides important to shoot photos that are in focus. This is tricky, still, when the subjects are constantly moving. To gear up for this difficulty, you lot should spend fourth dimension getting to know your photographic camera’s focus beforehand.

Your camera will almost likely have iii types of focus: manual, single autofocus (AF-Due south or I-Shot on your camera), and continuous autofocus (AF-C or AI-Servo). Single autofocus focuses once and locks that specific focus. Continuous autofocus, on the other paw, will refocus until you take your photo. For indoor sport events, it’s recommended to use continuous autofocus because of the constant move in a game. If continuous autofocus on your camera is besides unpredictable, you could attempt unmarried autofocus instead.

If both types of autofocus are not working for y’all, yous can experiment with transmission focus. To practice this effectively, you lot would commencement focus on a specific spot and then expect for the activeness of the game to achieve it. Good places to focus on are the basket, end zones, and other places that will provide heady shots.

You lot tin read more about the dissimilar types of focus in our post called “Learning How to Focus”. It tin also be useful to try out dorsum button focus, a method that assigns the autofocus to a different button than the shutter button.

Thomas Pollard — Boxing
Thomas Pollard — Boxing

5. Report the sport.

The more than you lot know about an indoor sport, the better you lot’ll be able to capture it. Your cognition should go beyond the rules of the game. For case, if you take a feel for the game’s menstruum, y’all’ll know where to position yourself ahead of time. If you know about the mode and ability of the players, you lot’ll be able to anticipate their actions. Of course this “quick tip” takes time and feel, but it’ll aid you lot in the long run. If anything, information technology will assistance you enjoy the sport fifty-fifty more than.

Gary Griggs — University of Arkansas Razorbacks vs University of Kentucky Gymnastics
Gary Griggs — University of Arkansas Razorbacks vs University of Kentucky Gymnastics

The photos in this postal service were selected from the submissions to our Flickr group. Next time y’all become an awesome sports photograph, share your prototype with the grouping so we tin adore your work!