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Tennis anyone?

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by iudoc97, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. iudoc97


    Nov 13, 2006
    ... advice on shooting it that is. My niece is going to be playing a high school match Wednesday and I'd like to get a few pointers if possible. I'll be using my D200 and a 70-200 VR f2.8 and 85mm f1.4 available (along with the list below in my sig). The weather should be nice. I'll be behind a fence unfortunately. She plays doubles but I'll probably shoot some pictures of some of the other kids playing singles. Any suggestions for settings, good classic "timing" of tennis action etc. Thanks for the help in advance... Scott
  2. You would be suprised at how fast those rackets move, You can get motion blur at ridiculous shutter speeds. (not talking about Pro's here either, my friends have blurred rackets at up to 1/1250!)
    I find the staples with sports work here, Focus on the player and try to get the timing on the upswing (before they hit the ball). And just good reactions.

    I'm not very good getting entire court shots, so not sure what you could do there (Without being up close). Even right up close on the edge of the court the players feel distant at 18-28mm. So I think you will be fine with just the telephoto's

    heres one i took of my friends. (1/1250, 50mm f2.8)
  3. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    Lexiticus is right in that you want as much shutter speed as possible. The only time I use the 70-200 is when I am allowed to plant my bottom right next to the net, but even then I actually prefer to use my 200/2. You should ask the officials if you can do so. If you do sit next to the net you have to literally be on the ground and do not move or they will kick you out. I just sit with my butt on the ground and with my legs crossed. Also, do not change positions or try to leave until changeovers.

    Here is what works for me:

    1. I sit next to the net for at least one change over so I can get both players in the best light. Here I use a 200/2 and the 28-70/2.8 (doubles)

    2. Then I move to the fence line and off to the side so I can get the players charging the net. Here I usually use a 300/2.8. I do this for at least a changeover also.

    3. My final position I move behind the fence line so I can get a straight shot at each player. I use a 400/2.8 for this and place my lens right up against the fence. The first two pictures below are from behind the fence.

    After I have done all three, I go to the next court. I start with first singles then first doubles. Then I backtrack and try to get 2nd & 3rd singles as well as doubles. Next year, I am going to try a higher vantage point now that I have one of those collapsible 13ft ladders (25lbs and collapses to only two ft long). I want to shoot down with the 300/2.8 so I do not get the fence or anything just the court.

    Just be sure to lock the AF on your nieces face and track her through the action. Do not worry about the ball. Just keep your eye on the subject. The player's body movement will tell you when to press the shutter. You can shoot wide open but your AF skills better dead on. On a bright sunny day go for about f4 to f5.6 and take your ISO up to about 400 or 500. Alternatively go manual shutter and f-stop but ISO auto.

    Here are samples at various shutter speeds. Motion blur still noticeable at 1/2500th of a second. Not bad because you stop the player and the motion blur does add a bit to the action.

    1/1500s f/5.6 at 400.0mm iso320
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    1/2500s f/5.6 at 400.0mm iso320
    View attachment 89618

    1/4000s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso500
    View attachment 89619

    Here's are my tennis galleries.
  4. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I could never do tennis:) )
    Nice write up
    Super pics
  5. iudoc97


    Nov 13, 2006
    Wow! Excellent advice guys. Thanks for your responses. The only person I've ever seen on court is the local paper photog so I'm not sure I'll be able to do that. We do have an invitational coming up so since it is "our" tournament maybe the coach can sweet talk the officials a little. Alex when you are using manual settings and auto iso, do you experiment with the shutter speed and late see how it turned out or do you vary based on action? Thanks again and I'll post the results if there are any worthy!
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