Fernie Castillo | Lighting a Tennis Player.

Lighting a Tennis Player.

December 15, 2016  •  3 Comments

First of all, let me just say thanks for visiting my site and looking at my first blog entry on my new site.

My last 2 sites including FernieC.com were infected with malware. So here's to starting fresh!


I came across an opportunity to work with a local tennis player in El Paso, Texas. Rafa is a tennis stand-out around the USTA Southwest region. So when the opportunity came up work with Rafa, there was no hesitation. 

We went over ideas and photos to get a guideline of what type of photos we wanted to get. After photographing a couple of his matches, I suggested to him that we should do a shoot that involved the use of speedlights (flashes). I'm very sure when we agreed on the direction of the photos we wanted to get, Rafa had no idea of the process, or the operation that went behind into a "photoshoot."


Once I was able to secure a court at a tennis club, I had about a week to come up with how I was going to tackle this shoot. I put drew diagrams on what I thought should be my take on this shoot. 

Rim LightGauging the intensity of speedlights.


Once I was happy with the amount of "rim" lighting on the athlete, I moved on to my main light. Using a honeycomb grid over the speedlight, it allowed for me to control the light on his face without too much spill on the rest of his body.

Main LightHoneycomb grid on speedlight.


My next move was to open up the foreground by placing a tennis ball on a stand and lighting it. I used the same light to provide accent to the front of the net, but "gobo'd" the speedlight from hitting the talent.

Prop and light accentIlluminated the front of the net all while providing a highlight to the ball.



Adjusting the light power ratio for the net and tennis ball would come later. Next was finding a way to open up the background. I wanted to shine a single light down the air net along the back of the fence. I did this by using a snoot on the another speedlight.

Fence LightingUsing a single speedlight with a snoot to open up the background.


From here on out, it was a matter of playing with the Nikon SU-800 Commander and dialing in the light. Here is one of the last photos of this shoot, unedited, straight from camera.

Un-edited photoUn-edited photo, straight from camera (Nikon D810)


When you reach the shot you want to ultimately get from the camera, while doing your shoot, then you don't have to worry about spending too much time on editing a single shot....but for fun, here are some samples images once I put them through Photoshop.



Great Job!(non-registered)
Not only is the model demonstrating great form and intensity; the color, lighting, and frame choices greatly reflects the photographers strengths and expertise.

GREAT PIC! You look great Rafa!
rafael garcia(non-registered)
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