Basketball Photography

Shooting Hoops

To many people, the term “shooting hoops” means grabbing the ball and heading down to the park for a game of pick-up basketball. To me, it’s another facet of my job. Here’s how I shoot hoops for the Miami Hurricanes.

I’m a bit of a equipment minimalist when it comes to photography. I don’t keep and cart around much more photo gear than I need on a daily basis. It is, after all, a business, and if gear isn’t working for me on a regular basis, then it’s not generating revenue. So the following is what I use while shooting men’s and women’s basketball for UM:
Camera #1 is hand-held with me on the corner of the floor. I use a Nikon D300s with a 70-200 f2.8 lens attached.


Camera #2 is a D300 with a 17-55 f2.8 lens attached, and I attach it to the basketball stanchion with a Manfrotto Magic Arm and clamp.

Camera #3 is usually a D300 with a 12-24 f4 in front of me on the floor looking up towards the paint.  However, I recently bought a Canon G12 (a point & shoot which many pros keep in their bag) and noticed it had a remote jack, so it served as Camera #3 last night, mounted on the catwalk above the scoreboard.

My strobes and remotes are fired using Pocket Wizard radios. The strobes are Speedotron 2401SX packs with quad lampheads, permanently installed on the catwalk, one in each corner with the fifth set for down court fill.

Here’s a result from position #1:

1/250 f6.3 @ 200 ASA

Here’s a result from position #2:

1/250 f7.1 @ 200 ASA

Here’s a result from position #3:

1/400 f7.1 @ 200 ASA

The overheads in the BankUnited Center are a challenge. Like I stated in my previous post, there is no catwalk directly above the baskets like there were in the Miami Arena. As you can see from this image from above the scoreboard, the view has many obstacles. This may prove to be such a low percentage shot that I may abandon it altogether at some point. If I had to dedicate a $4000 camera and lens in this position, I would have abandoned it already.

Something to remember: by using strobes, I have only one shot every two and a half seconds. That’s how long it takes the Speedos to recycle to full power – no high speed motor drive here. Timing is everything. Using strobes also allows me to use the G12. Its poor drive and focus speed are not a factor here, but how I make the G12 work is another topic for another day, as is my post-game editing workflow.

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