Indoor sports photography

jemostromjemostrom Chief Master of WeirdnessRegistered Users Posts: 133 Major grins
edited November 11, 2016 in Technique
I need some advice/ideas how to improve my indoor sports photos.

Some background: I usually take photos of martial arts, this means that I usually need to use a shutter speed of 1/200-1/250 sec to catch fast movements. The photos are almost exclusively taken indoors, in rooms that either have a low ceiling height compared to the area, or a very high ceiling height. The existing light is often mixed, both in color and strength.

After a few years of experimenting I've managed to get photos that doesn't look like a complete disaster. But I want to improve this further.

The camera/lenses I use is a Nikon D700, with two lenses a 24-70/2.8 or a 70-200/2.8. The light source is a Nikon SB-900 placed in the cameras hotshoe (it's very rare that I have the possibilities to set up any lighting stands or anything similar)

Here are a few examples:

These are taken in a comparable well-lit room. Direct sunlight through a door lit up the room, also some lights in the ceiling (very high up).

Here are some other photos that are taken in a mix of different rooms with different ceiling heights, lighting conditions, etc. Some photos are taken without any flash to get some variation to my photos.

Yet another example, these are taken in a place with partly very low ceiling height and three different types of lighting

I usually point my flash at the ceiling or a wall to get a more even light. Unfortunately, sometimes there are no walls to bounce the light or the ceiling might be too high up. So I've tried experiment with the builtin diffusor of the flash and angle the flash in different direction ... with mixed result.

The most common problem is non-even lighting, the people closest to me becomes very bright (both because of the distance but also the white "gi") while the background becomes to dark, the contrast is sometimes a problem also.

My questions are:

In the case of very high ceiling and no walls to bounce the light on, how can I get a more even lighting?

Secondly, does anyone have any suggestion for how I can make the lighting more "interesting" assuming that I can't set up any lighting stands or something similar. I need to work with one, or possible two, flashes similar to my SB-900 (which in my opinion is a fantastic flash).

Thirdly, when the ceiling height is very low I get the "bright head, dark legs"-problem. How can I light more evenly?
Jan Erik Moström


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