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Mar 31, 2011

For the past four years I’ve spent a few weeks each year on the road with the Champions Series Tennis tour. The tour is made up of former world number 1′s and grand slam winners, guys I idolized during my very brief rec league tennis career. This year they’re taking the tour completely on the road, a 12 city tour over the course of four weeks. With this new format, they were looking for some fresh new photos of their marquee players – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and John McEnroe.

Because we only had 30 minutes to capture individual portraits and group photos, we needed to be ready the second the guys walked in. We got there early to set up, allowing plenty of time for any type of setback. Technical or otherwise. The lighting I drew up months before the shoot – to say I was anxious and nervous and excited for this job is an understatement!

Pete was first to arrive. He’s super easy to shoot, laid back, professional. A good way to start the shoot.

The featured match up…

Last, the group shots.

After a few minutes of “intimidating” poses, the guys were getting a bit restless. They were talking tennis stuff, about their new sticks, string types, nagging injuries. So rather than kill the spontaneity, I positioned towards the camera so they could still talk and I could still shoot.

Some camera geek info – Five Profoto 7A heads, three 7A packs (1200 ws). Two umbrellas on the background, two umbrellas behind the players as rim lights, one beauty dish to slight camera left. Shot with D3, 24-70 2.8 lens at 1/250 @F11. You can also check out how we converted the Empire Hotel conference room into a studio here.

We’ll be blogging regularly once we hit the road in September, so stay tuned for more Champions Series Tennis.