Photographing SC basketball

Contact the professor about passes and availability. i highly recommend you have previous sports photography experience before covering basketball. You can also go if you can pair with another student who has significant experience and is willing to mentor you. Passes are in very limited supply. If you get a pass, you are COMMITTED to attend that game.

Get there at least an hour before the game starts. Walk into the College Street entrance to get your credential.  There will be a nice person at the door, so tell them you have a credential at the medial table.  You can enter before the arena opens at this door. Get a roster for both teams.  

If it’s your first visit, ask for the Media Agent. She will give you a tour & orientation. There is a Media Room for your laptop and gear. You can also get a food voucher. They will tell you which concessions stands take the vouchers.

Bring a camera with your normal lens, 80 – 200mm lens, plenty of memory cards and full batteries. Travel as light as possible. Wear professional/casual clothes and close-toed shoes. You will sit on the floor and move quickly to dodge players and balls. Do not wear Gamecock logos–you are a journalist when you are taking photos. Remember the entire arena is watching you, and you are representing the Journalism School. Study up on the players and opposing team before you go.
Try and talk to as many professional photographers as possible.  You will feel awkward at first, but just put yourself out there. Say, “Hey it’s my first b-ball game, is there anything I should know?” Or check with someone about your camera settings. Anything to start conversation is great. Just remember they are working on deadline, so photos are their first priority. 

On the court: If you’re covering one team (i.e. USC), you want to sit on the side where they are shooting, as close to the basket as possible. The pros are there early in order to get a good seat on the floor. You want to be as close to the  sidelines as possible. Save your seat as soon as you get there. Be brave! Sit close!  

Shooting settings: Use Center Point Autofocus in AI Servo mode (for Canon).
 – Understanding what your camera is capable of (and not) doing is vital to making a photo that tells a story.
– Don’t be afraid to push your ISO.  In Colonial Life Arena, good settings are 1/400 f/2.8 ISO 1600. If you can push your ISO higher, do it!! The faster your shutter speed, the better! Noise is the last thing you need to worry about in sports photography.
– Don’t forget to shoot action and reaction.

About mcgillmedia

I take pictures and teach other people how to do it, too.
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