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Old 11th of May 2010 (Tue)   #1
Seanzky
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Default Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

I know this is a photo sharing section but I didn't know where else to ask.

I need tips from those who can give it, especially credentialed sports photographers. I'd really appreciate any help I can get, though.

Okay, so I might get my credentials to shoot the Cotto-Foreman fight at Yankee Stadium. I'm not nervous about it or anything though I've never done a boxing match before. According to the chief editor sending me to this fight there's a 90% chance I'm going. This would have been my second one had I gone to Dallas for the Pacquiao-Clottey fight but I had to put my family first and couldn't go.

I've shot sports and action in general but not in this scale so I don't know any rules. I know about shooting tight and cropping even tighter but in terms of lighting, what can I use? I've never seen any photographers have flash with them (on camera or off) and I don't think it's allowed. (Is it?) Do I just use a fast lens and a camera with high ISO capabilities? What shutter speed should I use without any strobes? I've been so reliant on strobes that I don't even know what shutter speed is enough to freeze the action.

(And don't bother checking my site found in my sig, guys. I haven't updated that in ages. LOL.)
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Old 11th of May 2010 (Tue)   #2
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Hmmm... I see the discussion link. Hehe. If the mods can move this to the appropriate forum, that'd be cool.
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Old 11th of May 2010 (Tue)   #3
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanzky View Post
Hmmm... I see the discussion link. Hehe. If the mods can move this to the appropriate forum, that'd be cool.
Have fun with it. I shot my first ever boxing match a while back (BC Golden Gloves)(See here) so as a first timer, I can let you know what I experienced. I am sure SnapLocally and Ed Muls may chip in some pro advice too!:

1. Assuming you get ring side creds You will likley be posted in a neutral corner or on a side next to ref
2. You will spend lots of time figuring out when to shoot under the bottom rope, between the bottom and next rope up, or just keeping ropes in frame for effect
3. The boxers will move way faster than you were expecting
4. You will get more referee back of leg and ass shots than you will shots of the boxers
5. You will shoot way more images than you were expecting, especially on bodies with 6 fps or higher
6. If you are in Yankee Stadium your light should be OK
7. You will spend lots of time figuring out (or trying to figure out) what boxer to focus on with center point. Best to wait until they both turn sideways to you, focus on one, quickly recompose and then snap away
8. Having said that you will still get lots of photos of one boxers back and because boxers keep their hands up to defend, lots of shots of boxer facing you with his face obscured by his gloves.
9. Timing...the flurries happen fast when they happen and I found I was a split second late many times on capturing the key flurries...key here is anticipating when the punch will be thrown which I think comes from experience.

I'm sure there are many more things I am forgetting, but I found it to be a real challenging evening. I shot nearly 1000 images and only 240 of them made the gallery that I linked to above. Lots of "spray and pray" and I got lucky on some nice shots. My lighting was horrible, but as noted, you should be OK so depending on your body and ISO capabilities, keep shutter as high as you can.

Cheers!

Chris
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Old 11th of May 2010 (Tue)   #4
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

I hardly use 8 fps on my body. I'm decent at catching fleeting, fast-paced action with single shots but I suspect you're going to be right about this. I have a feeling I will be using all my 32GB CF cards and extra batteries for this one because I will most likely have to use spray and pray to make sure I don't miss anything. Haha.

Any advice of spit, sweat and blood reaching me? And according to the Chief Editor, yes this will be ring side.

Thanks, Chris. I'll do my best and I'll post here if I do get this assignment.
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Old 11th of May 2010 (Tue)   #5
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanzky View Post
I hardly use 8 fps on my body. I'm decent at catching fleeting, fast-paced action with single shots but I suspect you're going to be right about this. I have a feeling I will be using all my 32GB CF cards and extra batteries for this one because I will most likely have to use spray and pray to make sure I don't miss anything. Haha.

Any advice of spit, sweat and blood reaching me? And according to the Chief Editor, yes this will be ring side.

Thanks, Chris. I'll do my best and I'll post here if I do get this assignment.
Re Blood, sweat, spit...possibly, especially for a pro level fight. I was shooting Golden Gloves and was pretty close to some blood drops / spray during a couple matches where bloody noses were in order. Nothing on me or the gear though but close.
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Old 13th of May 2010 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

i am goign to try to photograph an amateur boxing evening in 2 week's time. i would love any advice anyone has to give. will post the results here, good or bad
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Old 13th of May 2010 (Thu)   #7
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Sean,

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding shooting, I'll be at the Cotto fight as well. My contact info is on my site (edmulholland.com), feel free to call or email. I'm shooting a fight for HBO this weekend, so I'm a bit busy, so forgive if I'm a bit slow to answer, but will be in the car a bit tomorrow in the a.m. and free to talk...

Ed
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Old 13th of May 2010 (Thu)   #8
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Sean,

Couple quick things, if you are ringside, there will be about 16 photogs, split on two sides of the ring, it is crowded, pack what you need and not a lot else (although you can store gear under the ring)

Light will be very good (as far as boxing goes), it's an HBO show.

A heads up about the boxers, I've shot both fighters several times, Foreman is tough to shoot, he is a pure boxer with little power, he jabs and moves a lot, I mean a lot. Cotto will in all likelihood pressure and try and corner Foreman, he's a good boxer, but does punch hard, look for him to push the action.

Do not use center point focus, use either a left or right point on one of the fighters, or (god forbid) manually focus...

Enjoy the fight, wear t-shirt and jeans, blood does fly, no sense in ruining good clothes...dress comfortable, working space is tight...
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Old 14th of May 2010 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Watch a recorded boxing match and practice freezing it using the pause button. That's how I learned how to photograph surfing. As soon as you freeze the video you know whether it's a good shot or not. This works better for surfing than boxing because of where the cameras are located, but it helps a lot.
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Old 17th of May 2010 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

All good tips by the experts! Let me add:

1 - Be sure to have lens cleaning equipment with you ... as Ed says, blood, sweat and Vaseline do fly and you can't be worrying about keeping your lens clean during the action. I also suggest you don't keep a "protective" filter (UV) on while shooting as the lights are usually setup to maximize lens flare.

2 - As Ed says, use a non-center AF point and keep it on one of the boxers ... you can keep it on their legs or trunks rather than their face to help with composition.

3 - Be ready all the time! Don't chimp during the rounds. Be ready to get shots when they go down, either temporarily or longer!

4 - I rarely use high speed drive. In fact, for the undercard I only set single shot. Even 10 fps won't help you catch that perfect shot with face smashed and blood/sweat flying ... only timing will do that. It does help when there's a flurry of punches such as at the end of a round or when one guy smells that he is about to overwhelm the other guy.

5 - Remember to shoot the corners between rounds. Keep your eye out for interesting sidelights such as lost mouthpieces, bloody stuff/blood on mat, doctor's stool and equipment.

6 - Do not spend a microsecond worrying about the shot you missed or you'll miss the next one. Don't worry about the sounds of other tog's shutters when you don't see anything worth shooting. And don't ever shoot next to Ed Mulholland ... if he were to shoot ten frames in a fight every one would be the perfect "punch" style shot and he would make you look at it on his LCD just to show you what you should be capturing ... and he wouldn't miss anything while doing this. At the same time he will be working with his assistant and mentoring two or more newbie togs. It will all just destroy your ego, so stay away from him! LOL. But he is the nicest, most knowledgeable boxing/fight tog I know and he is a true 'Talent.'
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Old 21st of May 2010 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Thanks so much, guys!!! I've hadn't had time to check here in a while and Ed, I'll be contacting you.

I just got the e-mail regarding the credential today. If I get the overhead position (200' away according to the e-mail), can a 70-200 reach for a tight crop with a 1.5x crop body?

All great advice, guys! Thanks once again!
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Old 23rd of May 2010 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Hello guys ... im also credentialed for the cotto - forman fight.
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Old 24th of May 2010 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

About the fight, did you guys see the details on the parking? I was wondering if I could drive instead of taking the train.
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Old 25th of May 2010 (Tue)   #14
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Still no details on the parking, I'll let you know if I hear anything...
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Old 26th of May 2010 (Wed)   #15
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Default Re: Tips on how to photograph a boxing match

Thanks, Ed. I picked up the 300 2.8 and 24-70 2.8 just to make sure. If I have to go with both, then I will. I'll pack a TC, too, just in case 300mm won't cut it. About how much memory card do you think we'll need?
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