Shooting sports inside with bad lighting

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/200–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
I am often asked to go to places and photograph that the lighting is just not that great. One of the worst places to go is to gyms.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 400, ƒ/7.1, 1/200–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
The reason is that they choose to use often Fluorescent or Silver Halide lights that if you are trying to freeze action require you to shoot above 1/60 shutter speed. This can introduce banding into your photos. It also can just change the color frame to frame as you can see here.

I thought at first there was enough natural light coming in the room from the windows, but the lights hanging from the ceiling were impacting the walls and the people.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 1/250–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
The easiest thing to do was just to light the whole room up with 4 strobes pointing to the ceiling and you fix a few things. One the color will look a lot better. You can shoot at a lower ISO and reduce noise in the process. Most importantly there is a consistency that without the strobes you would get color banding due to the lights flickering.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/6.3, 1/250–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
I just had to drag the gear from room to room and setup the lights. This is why I hire photo assistants to help me out.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/80–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
Here I overpowered the room lights but still picked up some of the natural light as well.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4.5, 1/1250]
Even outside the strobes can really improve a situation. Here without the strobes and then I added it.

[Nikon D3, 24-120mm, ISO 200, ƒ/10, 1/250–Alienbees B1600 strobes for lighting]
My suggestion when trying this for the first time is always first shoot test shots without strobes. Then add them and see if they make it look better. Sometimes adding strobes can kill a great lighting situation. Always test and don’t assume anything.

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