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Getting His Shots

Paul Zimmer was destined for a career in medicine – until destiny said, drop the stethoscope and grab your camera. One of the world’s leading sports photographers tells us the fascinating story of how he got into the business.



Paul Zimmer is one of the world’s leading sports photographers. His incredible images of professional tennis matches have got us thinking. How do we take pictures like that?

If you’ve ever seen HEAD tennis, official photographer, Paul Zimmer at work, you’ll definitely notice one thing, he doesn’t take photographs with his phone. But, could he if he wanted to?


‘It depends on the type of picture you want to create’, said Paul. ‘A smart phone is optimised to take fabulous pictures in a social setting. So, if you’re out with friends, or on holiday or just want to grab a few selfies, it’s perfect. Every image will be in sharp focus, perfectly exposed and look awesome. But taking pictures at a tennis match, that’s a whole different game.’


It’s all about having the right tools for the job. This doesn’t mean you can’t take really good pictures on your phone, while you watch a match. You can certainly capture the atmosphere and get a sense of the scale of the court. And most smart phones allow you to take bursts of photographs for action shots, so you can select the absolute perfect picture. But the moment you start pinching the screen to zoom in, the quality of your image will deteriorate and the pics will just sort of – suck.



The thing about any sport is, we really want to see the players, particularly their faces. We need to get close up and personal. And that’s where posh cameras come in.



‘Sports photographers use a DSLR or good quality mirrorless camera to help get them right into the heart of the action,’ Paul explains. ‘A good camera with interchangeable lenses allows you to fit a zoom lens to capture the really greatshots.’ ‘It doesn’t have to be a top-of-the-range camera or lens, even a modestly priced camera is going to give much better-quality images than your smart phone.’



Paul’s top tips are, an entry level dslr or mirrorless camera plus a zoom lens. ‘Something like a 50 to 200mm zoom with a wide aperture (say f2 or 2.8), and you’re ready to go.’


Could you be your clubs next Paul Zimmer. Only one way to find out.


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