20 Basketball Photography Tips

Basketball Photography Tips

Basketball photography is among the simplest types of sports photo genre. Its huge plus is that no matter if it’s the NBA game or a game of young teams, the rules of taking basketball pictures are the same. Read my tips and tricks that will allow you to achieve the desired photos with available gear easy and fast.

Top 20 Basic Basketball Photography Tips

During a basketball game, you have a particular area of 100X50 feet and you understand where the ball will be. Besides, you know the places where the coaches and other players will be sitting to watch the game.

I will share with you the tips that will help you figure out the best ways of taking good basketball pictures and what makes a great basketball picture?.

1. Learn the Story in Advance

good basketball pictures

Learn about the main players and check out previous photos and videos of the teams at NBA website. As a result, you will be able to find out plenty of interesting facts about the players.

For instance, when some player scores the ball and performs his signature movement or when a coach gets mad and hits a chair after a mistake of the team.

Also, it’s important to know about the leaders of the teams. Famous players always give you the best photos so use it to your advantage.

2. Choose the Main Place for Taking Pictures

professional basketball photography

As soon as you get to the basketball court, you have to figure out where you want to be during the game. You can stand in the corner area which provides a good view.

However, the photos taken from such an angle will not fully show the greatness of the moment. If you want to capture basketball action shots under the basket, the most beneficial place will be in the center of the baseline.

For good basketball photos, use the game moment to the fullest. But you have to be very careful when you are near the court not to get hurt by the players and not to distract them.

3. Do not Forget about Important Pictures

professional gym photography

There are types of mandatory pictures that you are supposed to take. Once you get to the area where you are going to take the main pictures, remember to shoot the court from the wide angle, with the audience looking in that direction.

Such pictures will perfectly show the atmosphere and spirit of the game. To get such photos in the best possible way, try shooting them between quarters.

That’s because during this time, all the fans are on the stands and you will be able to capture the most important parts of the game and take good basketball pictures.

4. Choose the Right Lenses

basketball photography lens Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 is II USM Lens + Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Due to the fact that there isn’t much light in the courts, for basketball photoshoot, I recommend using fast lenses, f/2.8 or higher. They will give you fast shutter speed needed to stop the action.

F/2 and f/1.8 will be even more beneficial. In addition, don’t squat and don’t use the flash so that the players aren’t distracted. Opt for a 50mm simple lens to take great pictures under the basket or when the action is happening near you. This type of lens is very fast and provides quick autofocus too.

If you are far away from the action, use a telephoto lens of about 300 mm and some medium shots with a telephoto end of the zoom. Using the second camera, you have a lens on both of them, which will help you quickly switch focal lengths according to the action.

With 70-200 mm zoom and nice seats, you will be able to shoot portraits and wide photos and show the full action.

5. Take Everything You Need

Like in any genre, for professional basketball photography, you need to have all the essential backups, such as batteries, memory cards, etc. If you can, get a backup case as well. At any time, there might be a moment for a good picture.

6. Watch the White Balance

basketball photo

If you are in a place with artificial lighting, create your own white balance setting sheet by measuring the gray card. Place a neutral gray or white object in your lighting conditions, go to the White Balance Settings on your camera - Manual Adjustment.

When the camera is ready to measure the white balance value, point it at the reference object so that it occupies the entire area of the viewfinder, press the shutter button. Done!

My recommendation: if you’re in doubt, just shoot in RAW, so you can adjust the white balance during color correction.

7. Try to Stop the Moment

basketball photography settings

When sitting in an active arena, you should set the mode dial to M (Manual) and use a shutter speed of 1/200 s or higher to freeze the movement. If you need, use a wide aperture (f/1.8-f /2.8) and set the ISO to 800 or higher.

For better basketball action shots, capture exciting parts of the game. For example, the player throwing the ball or the moment the ball is still in the air. To get multiple shots, work with burst mode and hold down the shutter button.

You have to do it in order to freeze the movement of the ball and the player. Digital SLR cameras have their particular frame rate and shooting frequency in burst mode. They set the possibilities of a camera to take quick multiple shots.

8. Lower Focus Point for Photographing Jumps

focus in basketball photography

When basketball players get into a particular position, they look quite tall, have long arms and jump pretty high. Pay attention to the moment of such jumps from the top of the frame as then you have to turn off and switch to the lower focus point.

9. Basketball Standoff

basketball action shots

You can see standoffs quite often during a basketball game. If you take pictures of these moments, you will be able to show the power and desire of players to win the game.

10. Shooting from Below

good basketball pictures

Shooting from a below angle is very common in basketball. In such photos, you can see the atmosphere of the court and how it looks like.

Usually, these shots are taken from a wide angle that can capture more of the area. It’s better to use a 50mm lens because the speed of the lens and fast autofocus are essential here.

11. Outdoor Basketball Photography

outdoor basketball photography

The weather is sometimes good for playing outdoors and, frankly speaking, basketball courts look really beautiful then. When players are having a game outdoors, they can show their personal skills to the public.

Working with this type of photography, pay attention to the time of the day when you are planning to shoot. Don’t take shots when the sun is high in the sky because the light will be bright and sharp.

For better pictures, try shooting in cloudy weather as the clouds make the light and wet shadows softer and give you lighting from different sides.

12. Girls Basketball Photography

Girls Basketball Photography

Basketball is more common for men and it’s a kind of sport where they show their power and endurance. However, nowadays women's basketball is very popular too. Ladies can show their perfect agility, speed and beauty. Girls basketball photography looks amazing.

13. Moment of Triumph

good basketball pictures

Pictures where the players are happy and thrilled are always the best. They show a feeling of triumph, challenge and victory. If you want to be able to take stunning pictures like in sports magazines, you should definitely try this type of basketball photography.

Emotional sports shots look the greatest. The more feelings you capture, the better your pictures will be. Shooting only the game is not enough as you can see the most real emotions outside the court. That’s why you need to watch the coaches and benches too.

14. Vertical Shooting

basketball photography

All actions in basketball happen vertically. That’s why take vertical photos too. As a result, the players will look taller and their jumps higher. You can sit on the floor during the game, however, it refers to the stands too.

If you are sitting too high, the players will look less tall. But don’t get too low or your faces will be covered with their hands or bodies.

15. Support Group & Fans

fans basketball photography

One of the most intense moments of basketball games is the reactions and movements of supporters. Use this opportunity and shoot such special moments.

As a result, you will achieve amazing photos where fans support the players and express their faith in the victory of their beloved team.

16. Some Good Words to Team

team and individual sports photography

Since basketball is a team game, why not capture it by taking team pictures? It’s not easy to gather all the team in one shot.

But you can do it when the coach gathers them for instructions or when they are entering the court. Team basketball photography will show their unity.

17. Photo with Basketball Mascots

basketball action shots

The majority of basketball teams have their mascots. Usually, it’s an animal or some character. It entertains the supporters and is a very important part of the team. Pictures of players and fans with mascots are very widespread and will look funny and interesting.

18. Take Pictures of the Dunks

team and individual sports photography

All the players, who can jump high and spectacularly, perform dunks. This makes the game even more beautiful. The moment when a player has just scored and is still hanging and holding on the ring gives wonderful photos and shows the mood and emotions of this player.

19. Jump Shot Photo

basketball action shots

One more exciting part of a basketball game is when a player is throwing a ball into the ring while jumping. This gives a photographer a chance to achieve amazing photos from just one jump.

20. Photo Free Throws

special moment for basketball photography

A free throw is a special moment for basketball photography. Everyone is calm and fully concentrated on the player who is, in turn, completely focused on the ring. He is about to throw the ball and the way he shows his emotions brings greatness to this moment. This is one of the simplest variants to take a good picture.

BONUS Tip: Outsource Photos to Professionals

basketball photography editing sample basketball photography editing sample
Order Photo Editing Services

If you don’t have free time on color correction in Lightroom or removing stray hair in Photoshop, send your basketball photos to experts like FixThePhoto and let them edit your pictures fast and realistically at affordable price.

Freebies for Basketball Photography

Basketball photography needs both a successful shot and correct picture editing. Using the following freebies, you will be able to make the process of editing basketball photos easier and faster.

Free PS Action "Dramatic”

fresh basketball photographyfresh basketball photography

This action will make your basketball pictures fresher and brighter. Using it, you will achieve impressive and fascinating shots.

Free PS Overlays "Red Fire”

bright basketball picturesbright basketball pictures

This overlay is perfect for promotional pictures when the action is the most important thing in them. With the overlay, you will be able to create beautiful, bright and deep photos suitable for websites and different sports catalogs.

Free LR Presets "Cool Tones Lr Presets”

clear basketball pictureclear basketball picture

This preset will help you achieve a clear and sharp picture. Rich and deep effect with a distance feeling will create a great look of your photo.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more

creative cloud all special offers creative cloud all special offers