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Night Football games in bad light


Canon 7d - 70-200mm f/2.8 non is, monopod av mode 4000 iso, night football bad light, want better shots any help would be appreciated! I get some good shots but want better. Some are over exposed and some blurry. I'll take blame on blurry shots! Would like to stop the action better. Thank you.



What other settings are you using? Full manual or Shutter Priority (Tv) & what are the shutter speeds from the overexposed shots and the better blury ones?

Is the AF set to AI Servo? Using Center point or expanded? There are a lot of variables & we need to know which way you shoot.


"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Center point expanded, Al Servo the shutter speeds vary from 1/60 - 1/500 in AV mode. The slower shutter speeds are the ones over exposed. I have shot in TV mode they tend to be darker but stop the action. I don't use it as much because sometimes they're just too dark. In TV mode I set it at 1/500.

Do you know how to use Exposure Compensation? It's most likely the final ingredient to better photos. You find a shutter speed & ISO that allow fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the action (working with the available light) & use Exposure compensation to fine tune the exposure value the camera has chosen as the aperture needed for your ISO & SS setting. I'm guessing that different areas of the field have different qualities of light which is why EC becomes a necessity.


"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Sounds like a good idea! I will give it a try! Thank you for your help. and yes the lighting is very uneven across the field. When I go to fields that have proper lighting I get better shots no problem. But on our field we bring in portable lights run by generators just so the kids can play a night game!

The answer is most probably "post processing". Using software such as Photoshop, you can make some pretty dramatic changes in marginal pictures.

I shoot lots of football games but I am shooting the half time show. Try to get your exposure as close as you can. Even bracket shots if you are able to. I would suggest using AV not TV, however. Typically you are not after DOF so the widest aperture your lens has will be fine.

When you are through, post process them in Photoshop or your favorite post editor, maybe PS Elements. There are even some freeware editors you can try if you don't already have one.

Believe me, post is the answer.


This photo is not the football team but it was very dark. resize-Edit.jpg

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

There you go. 2 totally different approaches & since I wouldn't try using Av mode for action I suggest you try it both ways to see which works better in your situation.


"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Thank you for the advice! Here is a sample of what I captured. Canon 7D - EF 70-200mm f/2.8L non is on monopod at 145mm, shutter priority, shutter speed 1/500, iso 4000 exposure compensation +1.0



Next time you go, try AV and set you lens to f2.8. With your current set-up what was the aperture?

Even try M. With that lens I still think forcing it to stay open is best.

I am guessing you want the young man with the ball as the most important subject?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Aperture was f2.8. I have tried AV mode, I get sharper pictures inTv mode. I still have to fine tune what I'm doing but that is the allure - always trying to improve!

click here to view the gallery