Photography: Some Tips for Indoor Sport Photography

Today, after I sorted samples from last week sampling at Citarum river, I looked around my photographs at Final match of Ganesha Volleyball Cup. Actually I went there not in purpose, just trapped inside the GSG (Gedung Serba Guna) because of the heavy rain outside.

I realized that moment was one of my chance to learn and try to get some moments in sports, especially in volley ball. The condition there was low light big room with some big spotlight. The players there move really fast, they also do some accidentally move (yeah, you know what volley ball match looks like). And no flash allowed there.

I only depended on my Canon 50mm f1.8 fix lens. Because it's the only lens that I have and able to shoot in fast shutter speed under the low light condition. So here are my tips here, especially for you who still use some limited body camera for low light capturing purpose, such as mine, Canon 400D.

To get a freezing moment you need to put your speed above 1/80 or even faster than that.
It's almost impossible to get a freezing moment, expression or even action in that kind of tense match. Put your camera setting in fast shutter speed mode. 1/80 even to slow if you want to get the freezing moment of hand or ball. I think we need at leas 1/250 speed so you'll be able to catch everything in freeze.
You can use TV mode (in Canon), to help you get rid of aperture problem. Let the camera think about it, although in my camera, it automatically sets its aperture into f1.8. Big aperture helps you to put more focus in the object that you want to catch. It come to our next problem, limited focus.

Bigger your aperture, bigger your blurry area, smaller your focus area, it will create an effect that we call "bokeh". So in this case of catching moment in sporting event, you only able to catch small area of your frame.

Put your camera in MANUAL focus mode.
If you use a lens that unable to do a really fast autofocus, this trick could be helpful. I try to put autofocus mode at first, I aim at one of the player who stand or walk in the middle of the field (or any other area that usually become the center of action). Then, after you make sure that you get the focus that you want, switch to manual mode. You now got a good focus in the action area, and you don't need to change anything from your lens focus.

Autofocus is a really good partner but in fact, sometimes it slow you down to catch a moment. You need a good precision here, especially a good precision in time. So you can't waste the moment by waiting for your camera to do autofocus. Sometimes the autofocus even went wrong. It focused on other object that we didn't favor.

Waiting for the moment.
This is the one that quite challenging. You should wait and put all your sense and instinct. You should be aware about any movement in the field, predict what will happen, and move your aim into the action zone. Prepare your finger on the shutter button, then push it in the right time.

Or you can even just aim your camera into the action zone so you will be there on time, when the moment happen. 

Open your eyes.
Well, usually we close one of our eye to aim on something. We open only one eye that looking into the viewfinder. In this kind of moment, opening both of your eyes will help you to examine the situation around. You will be able to see a wider view, the action that happening on the court, and also able to prevent yourself when there are something approaching to you and have a possibility to harm you or your photography equipments.

Push your ISO.
Pushing your ISO into the highest will help you catch a fast movement in the field. Although it can give your picture a heavy noise, but the important one is you get the moment. In this kind of situation, moment is more important than anything, so don't be afraid to have noise. You can clean it with some post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom, iPhoto, or Noise Ninja.


  1. will try, thanks for the tips!

    biasana urang poek wae euy mun shutterna gancang. ISO 400, aperture sih disetel 7,1. Mun nteu, "freeze" momenna nteu meunang.

    Suram di mana nya eta?


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