Shooting indoor photos can be a challenge. Making sure the exposure is just right is difficult, and being forced to use a flash can really limit the types of photos you can shoot.
Throw action photography into the mix, such as of a basketball game or of kids running at a birthday party, and shooting successful indoor photos becomes that much more difficult. You can experience a wide variety of photography problems with these types of photos, from a poorly tinted photo because of the artificial lighting to slightly blurred images from a shutter speed that isn't fast enough to stop action with moving subjects.
Use these tips to improve your results when shooting indoor action photos.
Avoid Sports Mode
Don't bother trying to use the sports scene mode on your point and shoot camera with indoor sports, as the sports scene mode is aimed at outdoor sports, where plenty of light is available.
Try Shutter Priority Mode
You'll obviously need to shoot at a high shutter speed to stop the action. If available, use the S setting on your camera, which provides priority to the shutter speed. In addition, you could use manual settings and set the shutter speed at a faster setting, such as 1/250th or 1/500th of a second.
Use a High ISO
Bumping the camera's ISO setting to a higher number will help the camera perform better in lower light and will allow settings with a higher shutter speed. However, higher ISOs also tend to create more noise (which are stray pixels or random purple pixels), and those could ruin your photo. You sometimes can remove noise using image-editing software after shooting the photo, or, depending on your camera's settings, you might be able to increase the setting on the camera's noise filter.
Manually Set White Balance
Be wary of trusting your camera's automatic white balance setting, as it can be difficult for the camera to properly measure the type of lighting in a gymnasium, especially if the lighting isn't very strong. If you have a light meter available, use it to come up with an accurate measurement of the available lighting and to set the white balance properly.
Pre-focus on the Subject
With moving subjects indoors, you can improve the camera's autofocus capabilities by pressing the shutter button halfway with the subject in the center of the frame. Continue holding the button halfway while moving the camera to follow the subject, and the camera will keep the subject in focus (as long as the subject hasn't moved quite a bit closer or quite a bit farther away from your camera). When you finally press the shutter button all of the way, the camera won't have to waste the split second required to focus on the subject, which improves performance.
Some Indoor Lighting Is Strong Enough
If you're at an indoor location where the lighting is great -- such as an NBA or college basketball arena -- you might be able to record high-quality photos without using any special settings, because the strong lighting is required for TV broadcasts. Other types of arenas, such as a high school gymnasium, probably won't have the high-quality lighting needed to create great photos with normal settings.
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