Get set for ten­nis

Digital Camera World - - PHOTO ACTIVE -

Q I’ve been asked to take some ac­tion shots for my lo­cal ten­nis club. Can you give me some tips? Gavin Hope

A As­sum­ing you can stand court­side, you don’t need a re­ally long lens, but I’d still sug­gest a medium tele­photo lens to al­low you to zoom into the ac­tion.

Some­thing like a 70-200mm zoom would be per­fect.

The tricky thing with ten­nis at your lo­cal club will be the back­grounds. They are likely to be messy, so see if you can work out the best an­gles for a cleaner back­drop – even if that is fenc­ing – and work with aper­tures such as f/5.6 and f/4 to help blur it. You’re go­ing to need fast shut­ter speeds – even for am­a­teur play­ers – be­cause when some­one is swing­ing for the ball, it’s fast! My ex­am­ple shot (right) was taken at 1/2,000 sec, to give you some idea.

Fo­cus­ing needs to be spot-on too. Make sure your camera is in Con­tin­u­ous fo­cus mode (AI Servo in Canon-speak) and get your ac­tive aut­o­fo­cus points on the player so they are sharp. Also shoot in con­tin­u­ous drive mode, so you can fire off sev­eral frames in rapid suc­ces­sion.

When it comes to most sports, the real key to a suc­cess­ful shot is in the tim­ing and re­ally im­por­tantly, where the ball is! If all your shots show some­one swing­ing a racket but there’s no ball to be seen, they won’t be as ef­fec­tive be­cause the ball gives the im­age con­text. In my shot I’ve man­aged to get a good com­bi­na­tion of the out­stretched racket, the player’s look of de­ter­mi­na­tion, and the ball.

Even a simple ten­nis shot needs care­ful plan­ning and tim­ing.

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