This is a
case to illustrate how to get the best pictures for action
events, in particular, with a Canon EOS 40D digital camera, a
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens in a football game.
1. Firstly, you will be a bit under-lensed with the 70-200 as
far as focal length reach. But since that is the lens you have
to work with, here are my suggestions. First, at 200mm of reach,
your images will only be good and sharp up to distances of about
25-30 meters away. So move around and try to stay close to the
2. If you will be shooting soccer games in the daytime with
decent lighting, use Av mode, and select the 70-200's largest
aperture value ... f/4. This lens produces very sharp images and
great background blur at f/4.
3. Set your ISO to a value that gets you a shutter speed of at
least 1/1000s, if not higher. If you can get 1/4000s at ISO400,
go for it. Don’t be afraid to start out using ISO400. This
camera produces neglible noise at ISO400.
4. Use one of the preset WB settings as applies to your sky
conditions. If its cloudy/overcast outside, use the Cloudy WB
setting, if its sunny outside, use the Daylight WB setting.
5. Use center weighted average metering, as this metering mode
takes less of your background into account while properly
metering your subject.
6. I like to use the Standard Picture Styles, and set Contrast
and Color Tone to the default "0" setting, but set the
Saturation to -1, but its all a matter of your taste.
7. You want to expose for the players faces/skin, not the
uniforms or the field. Its OK to overexpose the uniforms a
little bit in order to get proper exposures on the faces/skin.
As far as dialing in the correct exposure using Av mode, you
will need to check your review image and histogram. In Av mode,
you will have to use the Exposure Compensation function to
adjust your exposure. Take some test shots before the match
begins and start off by using “0” EC. If your player is
underexposed, bump up your EC in positive 1/3 steps until you
reach the proper exposure. If your player is overexposed, lower
your EC in negative 1/3 steps until you reach the proper
8. If it's a sunny day, shoot with the sun behind you or at
least to the side of you. Avoid shooting in the direction of the
sun, as your players' front sides will be in the shadows.
9. As far as focusing is concerned, use center point only.
10. Use Ai Servo AF (continuous focus mode) and use the high
speed drive (6.5 fps). Set CFn. IV-1 to setting #2 and use your
AF-ON button for continuous focusing and use the shutter release
button to only actuate the shutter. Track your moving subject by
keeping the center focus point over the subject, pan the camera
to follow his movements, all the while keeping your thumb mashed
down on the AF-ON button. When you see the action you want to
photograph, keep your thumb on the AF-ON button and fire the
shutter button at the desired time and keep tracking and keep
firing thru-out your burst sequence.
11. Make sure you have a fully charged battery and a large
enough CF card. For shooting a soccer match, I would highly
recommend shooting in jpeg rather than RAW. The files sizes are
hugh when shooting in RAW. Since you are likely to take hundreds
of images during the match, your CF card will fill up quickly.
Its also alot of photos to have to post process when using RAW.
Most sports photographers shoot in jpeg.
Hope this helps and good luck with the photoshoot.