How To Photograph Boxing

So, you're a photographer or amateur photographer, and you want to learn about how to photograph boxing to extend the range of your photographic work. To enter this difficult but highly rewarding sub-segment of the photography industry, you'll need a winning strategy. To develop a strong strategy you have to know your business and  your stakeholders in order to build the perception of your profession. To photograph boxing, become one with your equipment and photographic skill, but more importantly, you must connect with fighters, managers, venues and the press that will buy and publish photographs of the sweet science.   

  1. Take boxing classes. Understanding the sequencing of punches will help you understand what you are watching You can better analyze a fighter's moves and fighting style. To photograph boxing an understanding of how the movements feel can help you as you utilize your equipment. Boxers also like a photographer that can take a hit now and again.
  2. Watch live boxing or sparring. Learn to see the boxer's style. How does each boxer use his or her lead punch to set up other punches, and are there blocks they use again and again? To  learn how to photograph boxing requires a good eye and understanding of what the boxer might do next. You'll show your photographic subjects you are truly interested in their art, and you'll also know that when a fighter winds up for that powerful punch, that's when you've got to be ready to take the shot.
  3. Understand the timing of your camera. Develop an intuitive feel for how long it takes from the time you press the button to the time the shutter has completed it's cycle. If you want to capture one boxer's fist against another boxer's chin you need to fire off the shot before the hit occurs. This is important because you've got to show promoters and media outlets the value of photography, when they could just shoot the match with HD video and choose frame by frame shots from the match. Your skill must outpace their technology.
  4. Befriend the boxers and promoters. Like with any business, you've got to know your stakeholders. If the boxers feel like you are a voyeur or that you are not representing them well, they won't want you up in their grill with your damn camera. Building trust as you photograph boxing opens many doors.
  5. Follow the rules. A greedy photographer tries to get into areas the promoter has listed as off-limits during a match. Remember that ticket holders are paying to see the same dodge and weave, punch and smack you've come to photograph. Be a good representative of the photographic profession and you help to maintain photographer access to matches.
  6. Connect with the media. Media outlets have to know you will be a good representative of them at events and that you will be able to bring home the goods when you photograph boxing. Your professionalism and portfolio are your calling cards to be hired again and again to shoot top matches in your area.
  7. Get close to the action. Photojournalist credentials go a long way when you photograph boxing. You can get up close to the ring and can more easily gain access to the boxer's pre-fight warm-up backstage.

Developing a strategy for how to photograph boxing is a rewarding challenge for any professional or semi-professional photographer. It takes much more than being an amazing photographer, although that is the foundation for developing your artistic calling card. Use your artistic calling card well by building relationships across the industry to build the perception of your profession.


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