Indoor Sports Photography

I went recently to shoot an indoor soccer game in Dubai Sports City. I didn’t know anything about indoor sports photography and boy did I learned a lot.

I used the same camera and lens – Nikon D7100 with AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G VR with out a hood. I shoot in Manual Mode mostly only RAW format. I used Spot Metering and Zone Metering. All the Post-processing was done only in Lightroom.

Usually when I’m shooting people, in order for me to post their photos on my blog I take a written consent from them. In this case I didn’t, so all the faces are blurred for obvious reasons.

I learned a lot of new things after this photo shoot. Here it goes.

Below is an image shoot with Flash. It doesn’t show but in the image is quite a quantity of noise. The Shutter Speed apparently when you are using the Flash in this  combination – Nikon D7100 with AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G VR – it doesnt go more than 1/250. For a static subject like the one in the image, the Sharpness is fairly ok. When the subject starts to run or catch up speed than it goes down the road.

The image below is the original one – no Lightroom/Photoshop interference. I shoot at a distance from the subject of about 5-7 m (15-20 feet).

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The next one is the modified image in Lightroom – I just reduce the noise level a little bit and played around with the Exposure/Shadows/White levels.

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In the next one – the same conditions : Flash used, Shutter Speed 1/250 and Auto-ISO on. Again, it came out fairly noisy, I would say very noisy but there are more images to come. I shoot at a distance from the subject of about 10-20 m (30-35 feet)

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In the next one, still you can barely see the difference because my interference in Lightroom and Photoshop was minimal.

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And now lets start the fun. For the next set f images I didn’t used Flash at all. You can actually see the poor lightning conditions indoor. The ISO was pumped all the way to 6400 (from here also the huge level of noise in the images). Shutter speed I had to increase it to 1/320 (I’ve noticed that I don’t need 1/500 since the players were not professional and the game speed was moderate-low). Also another reason that I’d avoid using a high Shutter Speed is because the ISO will go even higher creating an unusable image with tons of noise.

The original image…no Lightroom/Photoshop. I shoot at a distance from the subject of about 15-18 m (45-50 feet)

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After Lightroom…The image is not sharp at all…its full of noise…I think the image is indeed useless – unless you just want a new WhatsApp profile photo, in which case this image compressed t that size is losing a big chunk of noise and its …viewable (I don’t even think that’s a word)

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With the next image – same story. 1/320 Shutter Speed with ISO 6400 (I think the Apperture was somewhere around 4 or 5). No flash. I shoot at a distance from the subject of about 15-20 m (45-60 feet)

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Not even in Lightroom, the result could have been raised at least to the “Decent” standard.

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And the last image from my selection :

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And the image after Lightroom/Photoshop manipulation :

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As a conclusion, it was a very constructive photo shoot for me in which I learned a lot. I will try to avoid Sports Indoor Photography unless the Lightining conditions are above average and maybe I can change to a better lens with higher Apperture – maybe 1.2 – 1.4. And of course, maybe a better Body which maybe has a better technology of taking pictures with high ISO. As for a better Flash, this can be added as well.

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