Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy – photo shoot

The NKBA website –

About the shoot

Olympian - Nikhil Kanetkar.
Badminton player from Pune.

I had the opportunity to conduct a photo shoot for the NKBA website. NKBA was launched on the 11th April 2011 for developing world class badminton players. The academy is based at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. Nikhil Kanetkar who is an Olympian, is the chief coach at NKBA, with a dream to develop champions.

The photo shoot discussions started with understanding the objectives of the site, the coaching process, and the kind of photos required to represent the process steps appropriately. Nikhil Kanetkar and the other coaches were involved in the discussions right from the beginning for defining the web site, along with the website development company – Webworx –

NKBA management team profile pictures.

The requirements for the pictures were very clearly defined and the shoot was planned. The coaches took enormous efforts in coordinating various activities with players. One part was the profile picture shoot of the coaches. The second part was taking pictures which represented the six step coaching process at NKBA.

NKBA - 6 step champion program

As planned, the coaches worked with the players to conduct the exercises that represented the steps, which helped me shoot great pictures of the players in action. These pictures give an overview of the activities at NKBA, as a banner on the site.

NKBA Banner picture
NKBA banner picture

These pictures represent the wonderful efforts taken by the NKBA team in bringing up champions. You can see them in action here:

Here are some points to note for any sports shoot:

Preparing for the shoot

Shoot locations will always have surprises. It is important to take a look at the location before to be prepared for the shoot, and get appropriate gear. Take a note of the places you have access to and the distance between the place and the players. Plan for using wide angle as well as zoom lenses. If you are far away from the court, you will need a zoom lens. Plan for various angle including some from behind the spectators to include the ambience.

Understand the game

It is important for the photographer to understand the game he/she is shooting. As I played badminton myself, and also have been fortunate to be coached by Nikhil sir, I could anticipate the shot of the player and be ready for my shot. I knew when the player is going to jump for a smash, or pick a drop at the net. Photography for sport requires fast reflexes. With one eye on the view finder and the other closed, you have to watch how the player is moving and be ready to capture the moment.

Shooting at high speeds

Shooting at a high shutter speed will freeze the motion of the player to get a clear picture. Use a slower shutter speed to get some motion blur. If you are shooting for a live tournament where the light may not be enough for a high shutter speed, and you also cannot use a flash, a fast lens is useful. In a sport like badminton where the players are moving very fast, anticipation and continuous focusing is of great help. Use the back button focusing to focus and click faster.

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