I just released a post over at Exposure.co (the photo story-telling site) with the story of my first time ever shooting a pro tennis tournament, and in this case it was Day One of the US Open Tennis Championships in Flushing Meadows, New York (these shots were taken last Monday).

I was only able to shoot starting at the 11:00 am matches and then I had to leave by 3:30 pm to catch my flight to St. Louis for my seminar there (which was awesome! Shout out to all the folks in St. Louis who came out and in Kansas City two days later. Awesome crowds â” super nice people!).

Research Beforehand Really Paid Off!
I did a LOT of research before this shoot, and while I think I did “OK” for my first time out, I have a long way to go to get to where I’d like to be. The only reason I even did “OK” was this research beforehand, plus I got help from three sources:

(1) Dave Black. I called him and he had all sorts of little tips about the bigger picture of shooting tennis. The guy’s just amazing. He’s shot everything! (including the US Open).

(2) Right when I walked in to the photo workroom at The Open, I ran right into Elsa Garrison from Getty Images (our guest on “The Grid” just a few weeks ago). She gave me some great, very specific tips for shooting at that venue. Andâ¦

(3) I read an awesome book called Photographing Tennis by Chris Nicholson and it was incredibly insightful. He really did a great job of explaining so many things I had questions about. I really got a lot out of it.

Anyway, there are lots of photos and the full story, and all the camera gear, settings, shooting positions, and the whole nine yards all over at Exposure.co â” if you’ve got a sec, I hope you’ll check them out.

 

I’ll be back…
I’m going back to New York one week from tonight to shoot the US Open Finals and I just can’t wait. It’s great to have a “second chance” to shoot any event, and even though I’m sure there will be 10x as many photographers, and that will make it that much more challenging â” I don’t care â” I’m thrilled to have that 2nd chance, and the opportunity to photograph the world’s best players.

Of course, before then I have the Bucs vs. Panther’s NFL regular season home opener and I’m off today for Photoshop World in Vegas. No rest for the weary! (hahaha â” don’t worry â” I’m lovin’ it!).

Lots to share from Photoshop World this week â” Brad will be shooting, and posting lots of pics from the Vegas show. Hope to meet a whole bunch of you there in person, and thanks for letting me share my first Tennis shoot with you here today. I absolutely had a blast, learned a lot, and can’t wait to shoot it again!

All my best,

-Scott

P.S. We’ll be streaming the Photoshop World Keynote LIVE â” keep an eye out here for the link (it’s Wednesday morning at 9:00 am Pacific Time). 

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About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

33 Comments

  1. Great shots, I noticed 1 and 6 are kind of grainy, think thats the res?

  2. With all this sports shooting, when are you going to give up your day job for full time shooting? – lol- nice shots!

  3. Hello Scott,
    Could you give any tips in how to get on field access to shoot NFL games? I’m looking to do that here for the New England Patriots, any advice would be helpful,
    Thank you
    Eric

    • Hi Eric: The NFL sidelines are very tightly controlled and only accredited media are allowed (newspapers, magazines, news wires, etc.), so your best bet is to get signed to either a news wire or to shoot for a publication. Try finding a small newspaper about an hour or two from the stadium and see if they have anybody shooting for them. It’s worked for some people I know. Good luck. :)

  4. Incredible start to your tennis photography. Really love the way Exposure displays your work.

  5. Great post. Noticed the US Open logo in several shots. Seems like I saw a video on Kelby One with some guy – Dave Black – saying how important those details are in events like this and the Olympics!! Great job and I always enjoy watching Dave on Kelby One – one of my favorites.

  6. Definitely impressive. I’ve never had a chance to shoot tennis before, but I should add it to my list.

  7. Thank you for sharing Scott, I really enjoyed your post! Wishing you much success in shooting the finals.

  8. I’d say a little better than ‘Okay’. Even without seeing the trash pile, there were really solid images here… Even by Peter R. Miller Standards. Really well done, Sports Illustrated quality.

    I’d be curious Scott, did anyone recognize you there shooting??

  9. I just saw your post today and I was excited to see that you showed your U.S Open shots, especially on Exposure.co! You really nailed the shots that you picked, Scott. Really cool shots, and I’m sure these will get even better over time, like your football shots. Bet you’re glad there was no refs in the way! Wish I was out in Vegas this week. Have fun and make sure you get some sleep at some point.

    –John

  10. The photos are dazzling!
    The price of the lens, $12,000, is, too. Did Canon loan it to you or did you buy one? Wow!

  11. always a pleasure to read about your work, Scott! very interesting to note how you shoot in these situations, as it really helps to guide my shoots! keep it up Scott =]

  12. Simply stunning images there Scott, I especially love the concentration and intensity of the Andy Murray Shot.

  13. Great shots, curious though, were you shooting shutter priority and if so why? What aperture were the shots? Why not manual?? Thanks I always thought boxing was the toughest port to shoot with hockey right behind that but tennis could be equally as hard. Like boxing too easy to miss the right moment and get the ball near the racket. I shot the Pan Am games in the 70’s for AP now that was with a manual Nikon and fixed focal length lens. My first shoot every shot was late, not one good one and the editor told me to go talk to one of the old pros, I was 23 at the time. He told me to watch the pecs and when they tighten a punch is coming. It was tough. Thanks again love the great info and tips I get from these sports posts. tony

  14. I don’t watch much tennis but these pictures may just change
    all that. The intensity and eyes wide
    open focus on the ball was amazing to see (not to mention the fact that, based
    on their expressions, they really, really, hate that little green ball). I had
    never really appreciated the graphic elements, lines, shadows, colors, form, etc.,
    before. I think everything was just
    moving too fast for me to see all of the pieces. But seeing such a high speed game in freeze
    frame was an eye opener. Your images made me take a second look at something
    that I would have normally just passed by.
    Thank you for that.

  15. Scott – Was there something you did specifically around color saturation on these shots? I know the Canon Supertelephoto L-glass line is impeccable, but I’m sensing just a smidge of post in these shots. Mind sharing your recipe for the contrast and color adjustments here?
    Thanks!
    -Darius

    • Hi Darius: For most of the images, I just increased the contrast using Contrast slider in Lightroom. I think it’s the most under-used slider in there. If I had a particular shot that looked really dull because of the position of the sun from where I was shooting, I would bump the Vibrance by +11. Outside of that, that’s it as far as color goes. No changes to the White Balance.

  16. Nice Photographs. I got to photograph the Dubai Open a few years ago, and some of my favourite images were the ones I produced with strong shapes, shadows and colours. There’s a photograph of Svetlana Kuznetsova in this set that I particularly like. – http://www.susheelchandradhas.com/albums/misc/

  17. Nice Photographs. I got to photograph the Dubai Open a few years ago, and some of my favourite images were the ones I produced with strong shapes, shadows and colours. There’s a photograph of Svetlana Kuznetsova in this set that I particularly like. – http://www.susheelchandradhas.com/albums/misc/

  18. Scott, I’m just now seeing that you read, mentioned and graciously complimented my book. Thank you, profoundly! If you ever come to the US Open again, please do look me up. Would love to thank you in person.

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