First Try at Tennis Action Photography

This is the first year I’ve committed to tennis during our fair weather months. With an interest in photography, I definitely wanted to try some tennis action photography. The photos below are from my first try, with various levels of success as I was figuring out just about everything like shutter speed, angles, exposures, aperture, timing and such that I would need to take photos without motion blur. Thanks to Jill and Joe in the photos, who were gracious enough let me sit on the sidelines and photograph them during one of their hitting sessions. I would definitely need a more powerful lens to be doing this from further away so as not to be as much of a distraction, whether with the camera clicks or just being a figure beyond the doubles alley. Great learning experience, though, and I will definitely be back for more, possibly with a more powerful lens.

One thing I saw through the set, which I suspected coming in, was that the subjects were going to have good form to look good in the photos. The camera doesn’t lie, and I can’t Photoshop well enough to make people look good in action, lol. I will have to keep this in mind in picking future subjects so as to manage expectations since some, not all, will no doubt think they look better in play than they might. Or that I would have to get “the shot” to get what they want. I picked Jill and Joe because they had good form. Jill, in particular, is like text book with all her follow through, eyes on the ball to the end, etc. I had chances for good form shots again and again and again, upping my chances of getting good form shots. Joe, on the other hand, was more acrobatic, leaning, lunging and occasionally diving for a few shots. Those are their own opportunities for great shots.

While I had sequences of shots, most didn’t turn out great for photos because with the stills of photography, a lot of shots looked very “casual” and nonchalant. Someone could well be posing for half of them. For these portfolio style shots, I tried to pick out the ones that intuitively looked like they were part of a tennis shot motion. A few I included for other purposes like just looking nice, posture, etc. But for the most part, shots eliminated were done so due to looking too casual. That’s not the subjects’ fault by any means. Freezing everything like with a photo just does that to action in pretty much any sport where there is body movement, as opposed to something like motorcycle racing where most of the time, the rider is leaned into the front and has a charging head first into things look.

Please click here to see more of my photography on this site.

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