How to Take Photos in a Bowling Alley

How to Take Photos in a Bowling Alley

For a novice or even a veteran photographer, finding new, aesthetic locations to shoot pictures and portraits at can be tedious, especially because many of these sites have become so mainstream. A bowling alley is one of those rare, low-key locations, usually an entertainment place for young people, but can be used to produce brilliantly shot photographs.

To take photos at a bowling alley, be mindful of the crowd that’s present there, work around them to produce photographs at an angle that satisfies not only your aesthetic sense, but that of your muse and your viewers as well. Angles, camera settings, shutter speed, autofocus, ISO, and exposure matters a lot when you’re shooting in a dimly lit location the likes of a bowling alley.

In this article we’ll tell you more about how to take good quality pictures in a bowling alley, how to work the angles, and how to pose to utilize the best camera angles and shutter shots.

How to Take Photos in a Bowling Alley

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There’s a couple of things you need to keep in mind and take care of before getting to the photography part of a bowling alley photoshoot:

1.     Ask your local bowling alley managers to open the bowling alley for you an hour prior to its actually opening time, so that you can take pictures when there’s no crowd around to disturb your focus. To give them incentive, you can either offer them monetary compensation, or give them a panoramic shot of the bowling alley they can use for marketing and promotions.

2.     Take all you extra equipment along with the camera for setting up; tripods to prop up your camera, camera straps for convenience and ease of movement, different lens (in case you need a wider lens), light stands, spare batteries, memory cards, and remote shutter release.

3.     Test angles and vantage points with your camera before shooting, and test your camera settings. Experiment with increasing the ISO, adjusting shutter speed according to the ISO, and set your aperture (lowest/widest), also test various lens.

4.     When taking photos, use a lens that has a wide aperture, and use a high ISO enough to get you visible photos within the dim lighting, set your shutter speed to the fastest to set off the high ISO. Test the ISO by taking test shots to find your camera’s limit, use white balance for the fluorescent lighting and adjust the settings again if you want to shoot a subject in motion.

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How Do You Take Good Pictures in Bowling?

To take good quality photos you can actually be satisfied with, first of all you need to work the right angle and exploit your vantage point. The best camera angle would be the one right behind the one throwing the ball at a height a little above the ground and parallel to the height of the ball when the subject throws it.

The person rolling the bowling ball should have their hand positioned in the middle of the lane so that there’s an equal distance from the side railings to the bowling ball, which would get you a symmetrical shot. When they’re about to drop the bowling ball, start taking photos at burst mode to get the perfect shot after a second or so has passed to the ball throw.

To take still panoramic shots, level the camera up, shoot in portrait mode and take several shots from left to right. Adjust the exposure, make sure the camera is central to the middle, and take a series of shots which would give you a panoramic shot of the entire bowling alley as an end result (after it has been edited together by a software).

The camera setting should be at 800 ISO, adjustable according to your camera’s capacity, but most photos end up being grainy if you bump up the ISO to around 1600, so avoid that. Set your shutter speed to 400, set the white balance to account for fluorescent lights, and set your aperture to 2.8 (make sure to use a 50mm prime lens).

To capture a subject in motion, choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the moving scenery, and leave your aperture wide only if your camera has a good autofocus capable of tracking moving objects. Shoot the pictures in RAW so you can adjust the exposure later on if the need be.

How Do You Pose in Bowling?

While taking portrait shots, the poses of the subject go hand in hand with the photographer’s capability of producing a high quality photo. The subject needs to follow the photographer’s direction to a T, and hold the poses as long as they can until told so otherwise.

Taking still pictures in front of the bowling rink does not require elaborate posing, but not if you’re shooting while bowling. The subject should have their hand centered in the bowling lane, equidistant from both railings on left and right, if they’re right handed, their right foot should move forward just as they’re about to throw the ball in a 4-step approach.

Before shooting, hold the ball at a 45-degree angle away from you. When the ball is thrown, the subject should hold the throwing pose (right foot below the left with the toe tapping onto the ground, hand elevated up) for about 5 seconds for the shutter speed to take photos.

Final Thoughts

Good quality photos not only require a lot of work and expertise, but also requires a lot of practice and testing before you can get a perfect shot. There’s a lot of work and failed attempts that go into producing a perfect camera shot, especially is the site is challenging.

Taking photos in a bowling alley seems like it would be a lot of work, but not if you have the right equipment, and know the right tips and tricks to take shots. By now we hope you’ve figured out how to take good quality photos in a dimly lit place like a bowling alley.

Work your angles, find out the vantage point, take photos with different perspectives, and work around the subjects and objects you’re shooting with. Adjust your camera settings until you’re satisfied, for this will get you the perfect shot that not only satisfies you, but your client as well.

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