Shooting indoor Volleyball games

August 29, 2017

Getting in

Just walk in the main doors like anyone else.  They might search your bag or ask about it, just say you're here to take pictures for the photography club.  

 

Walk over to the corner of the gym where DJ Sha sets up - there should be a thick purple curtain that you can push aside and walk through and they keep a bunch of balls there.  That's where you can put down your bag.  Yellow arrow in the picture below

Where you can go

For volleyball you can be most places on the edge of the court on the side opposite the teams.  This area is shown as a green box in the picture above.   I tend to sit near the net, maybe 6-10 feet on either side.  

You can also walk up/down the bleachers as you please.  I've sat a few rows back and taken pictures from a slight angle above. 

You can also stand on the short sides of the court behind the chairs or anything that is there, like the perspective where the above picture was taken.  Be careful being there during warm ups because they like to serve into that space.  

 

Settings

It isn't very bright in Jervey so settings are a struggle.  I use something similar to the following:

Shutter Speed:  1/640

Aperture:  As big as possible, f/2.8 if you can

ISO:  3200 ish

White balance:  <Not sure but probably Kelvin 4300>

 

 

Original post with tips and tricks about shooting volleyball here

This past Saturday I took pictures at a Clemson volleyball game through my job with the athletics department.  The lighting in Clemson's volleyball gym is horrible - it's dark, and the lights on the ceiling aren't even all the same color (some are pink, some are yellow).  Shooting volleyball is always a challenge due to the speed and repetitiveness of it, but here are a few tips I have. 

 

 

 1. Warm-ups are your friend.  

It's worth getting to the game a little bit early to take pictures during warm-ups because you can move around with more freedom than during the games.  I took this game sitting under the net in a corner and reaching around the pole - something they definitely wouldn't let me do during the real game.  You can easily go up and down the bleachers (until they fill up).  Also take this time to socialize with any other photographers, journalists, and helpers while you're both just hanging out.  Once the game starts everyone has a job to do and won't be as social, but before the game most people will happily talk for a little bit.  A quick conversation can make the rest of the game a lot less awkward as you walk around the same people for a few hours. 

 

 

 

 2. Take lots of pictures, delete lots of pictures

Volleyball is a fast-paced game, and even with volleyball experience it can be hard to predict where the ball is going to be.  Use burst mode to take a lot of pictures, but often look through the pictures and delete the bad ones.  If you delete pictures during the game it will save you a ton of time post-processing later on.  A piece of advice I often give is that no one knows about the pictures you delete, so delete pictures to your heart's content.  

 

 

3.  Try different camera settings

For action you'll want to be at 1/300s or faster shutter speed, but depending on your camera/lens and the lighting that might be too noisy.  For crowd pictures you can lower the shutter speed to 1/100s or so, and for celebration pictures you can get away with 1/200s ish.  It isn't an exact science, just keep playing around with the settings until you like what you see.  Remember that you can use software (Lightroom) to fix a noisy picture, but you can't fix a blurry picture.  So bump up that shutter speed and accept a little bit of graininess.  

 

 

 

4. Capture reactions - celebrations and anger

Volleyball players are great at showing emotion - they huddle up after every point, and celebrate after every point won.  This gives you a ton of opportunities to get the huddle celebrating or serious.  Also watch for reactions from the players on the bench and the coaches.  Don't neglect the crowd either - there are always a few fans fully decked out in (Clemson) gear, or some families that dressed up their child in a cute outfit.  

 

 

5.  If you're struggling to get action shots, take artistic pictures of still objects.

No matter how bad the lighting is or how badly your camera performs in low light, you should always be able to get some decent artistic shots of the surroundings.  If you're taking pictures at a college or professional event there should be some cool logos or balls or something neat to photograph.  

 

 

 

6. Have fun!

As always, try to enjoy yourself.  Volleyball is challenging to shoot so don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't go well, and be proud if it does go well.  Enjoy watching attractive athletics do what they love, while you do something you (might) love - take pictures.

 

 

 

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February 11, 2018

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Jacob Thompson

jat5@clemson.edu

Clemson, SC

© 2020 By Jacob Thompson

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