[Part 2] Tips for Indoor Sports Photography

Jostens Advisers & Staff

Chris Bledsoe // Arroyo Grande High School [CA]
Chris has been the choral director at Arroyo Grande High School for 34 years and currently teaches choir, piano, AP music theory and advanced graphic arts.

Focusing on camera settings

Presets can enhance your indoor sports photography skills.

Be sure to check out my other article, [Part 1] Tips for Indoor Sports Photography, for more great ways to take indoor photography.

Recommended Lenses and ISO for Sports

Event Recommended lenses ISO setting Shutter Speed Notes
Baseball 70-200 @ f 2.8 400 1/1000 and faster Depends on light, have sun at back
Basketball 23-70, 16-35 @ f 2.8 400 1/500 (minimum) No matter what, have at least 1/500 minimum shutter speed
Football 70-200, 300 @ f 2.8 4000/5000 1/500 4000 ISO, eventually switching to 5000 ISO @ f 2.8
Golf 70-200 @ f 2.8 400 1/2000
Soccer 70-200, 300 @ f 2.8 400, (4000/5000 at night) 1/500
Softball 24-105 A f4, 70-200 @ f 2.8 400 1/640 Night, same as football
Swimming 70-200 @ f 2.8 400 1/1000 and faster Settings depend on time of the day
Tennis 24-70 @ f 2.8, 24-105 @ f4 400 1/500 Sun at your back
Track & Field 70-200 @ f2.8 400 1/500 and faster Light meter determines shutter speed
Volleyball 24-70 @ f 2.8 4000 1/500 (minimum)
Water Polo 70-200 @ f 2.8 400 1/2000 Light meter determines settings
Wrestling 70-200 @ f 2.8 4000 1/500 (minimum)

Preset Camera Settings for Sports Events

DESCRIPTIONS SETTINGS COMMENTS
Autofocus setting on the lens set to “on” Make sure it hasn’t been switched to manual
White balance set to “auto” Use a custom white balance, if possible
Metering set to “zone” Spot metering is rarely needed for indoor sports
Shooting Mode “manual”
Shutter 1/640 second 1/500 would be the minimum shutter speed to use
Aperture widest setting (usually f2.8)
ISO “auto” If no “auto” setting, start at 4000 ISO and move up to 5000 ISO
Auto ISO setting in camera menu 100-12,800 ISO
Color Space sRGB Don’t choose Adobe RGB
Save images as… Large JPEG Can also use RAW for more control in editing the images
Focusing Cases (canon) Case 1 for track & field
Case 2 for swimming, wrestling, and tennis
Case 3 for track & field
Case 4 for soccer, basketball, volleyball, and football
Case 5 for tennis and volleyball
Case 6
Case 1 is the default

Pro Tip

Things you should always carry in your camera bag:

  • Camera body
  • Wide angle and telephoto lens (preferably f2.8 or faster for shooting indoor sports)
  • Extra camera battery
  • ExpoDisc or gray card to set custom white balance
  • Backup camera body and memory card, if available
  • A monopod and beanbag for steady shots