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coachjerry Mar 30, 2008 3:01 PM

I have both a canon 20D and 40D and shoot daytime/night time and indoor/out door sports with a Canon 70-20mm 2.8 lens.

I shoot in TV or Aperture Priority using partial metering most of the time--Getting mixed results especially on bright sunny days where there are heavy shadows from baseball players caps. Faces are so important in sports photos-- as JohnG has often pointed out.

I seldom shoot in manual mode outdoors because of the varying lighting from clouds passing the sun.

Any advice on getting better face exposures in conditions like this?


JohnG Mar 30, 2008 8:02 PM


I would first suggest staying out of shutter priority unless you intentionally want slow shutter speeds.

First you could end up with a narrower aperture than wide open on your lens which is rarely desirable (i.e. you want to maximize subject isolation and with only 200mm that's tough enough).

So if you're not comfortable with manual stick with AV. Here's the thing with baseball though - you just need to keep checking your exposure. Unless the sun is moving in and out of the clouds it's fairly consistent for a few innings. So pay attention to where the sun is. Then set the exposure for the players you are likely to shoot given your position and adjust exposure compensation for the faces. In bright light you don't have to nail the exposure - you just need to be within a stop so you can still correct the faces in post processing.

With practice you'll get used to reading changes in light & shadow and adjust accordingly without having to even look. But like everything else it takes practice.

coachjerry Mar 31, 2008 1:43 PM

Thanks John

I will spend some time using manual to see if my concern is really valid. I value your opinion and if you think that is how I should shoot I'll work on it.
And also I'll try to pay better attention to the exposure and the location of the sun as the game progresses.


coachjerry Mar 31, 2008 2:09 PM

Assuming I'm shooting in AV mode is partial metering the best choice of the three metering modes?

JohnG Mar 31, 2008 2:13 PM

coachjerry wrote:

Assuming I'm shooting in AV mode is partial metering the best choice of the three metering modes?
That's the mode I use. But you still have to keep in mind how it works. If you're using center focus point and focusing on a jersey that's white you'll likely end up with underexposed faces. I like that mode because it uses the least amount of frame to determine exposure. But you have to be consistent on what part of the player/uniform you focus on to get consistent results. You can't focus on a blue batthing helmet in one series and on a white jersey in another and expect consistent results.

coachjerry Apr 1, 2008 12:33 AM

I understand. The challenge is to get that single focus point on the face if the player is moving. Sometime just getting the focus point on the player at all is difficult especially in a sport like lacrosse or hockey.

Thanks for the advice.

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