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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. 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. 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.
Connect with the media. See attached image for an example. Excuse the gore, but there are droplets of blood, frozen in mid-air, while there is also some blur, giving the effect of motion. I have been to 4 boxing events so far in the last 3 months, of which I have had to shoot between 8, and 10, ISO — that was to capture shots at th of a second. Another issue you will no doubt encounter, will be the type of lighting used is typically tungsten or fluorescent, usually flickering so fast, you cannot tell, until you take a photograph… you then get a band of green or purple, cutting your image into a two-tone photograph.
You will need to adjust your shutterspeed accordingly to either be faster or slower than the flickering of the lights.
Worse case scenario is that you will be doing white balance adjustments to every good image you have taken, to make your set of images consistent. Yes, it gets VERY very exciting.
So exciting that if you do not pay attention — you will get your camera kicked into your face! I know, its happened to me. As for timing, you will need your camera on burst mode and you need to try and focus on the boxer, each of them, individually and try and learn their style. Hold down the shutter for 3 or 4 frames and then reassess for more shots.
Sometimes a boxer will just go for a flurry of punches, usually in the last couple of rounds — some can go earlier, depending on their style — big punchers tend to get more tired over longer rounds so they will try and knock out or damage their opponent to the point of winning through the referee calling off the fight. Others take their time, absorbing the hits until their opponent is tired then unleashes their own barrage of punches in the last round, hoping that they havent hurt themselves too much holding back and hoping that their opponent is too tired to defend.
Its a fantastic sport, quite a bit of thought is required by the boxer and more so from the photographer who is trying to effectively beat punches by both boxers in an effort to capture that perfect image. What NOT to do: The first thing I noticed on arriving and taking my ringside seat was how dark it was. With zero preplanning or thought, I was expecting a well lit venue - how wrong I was.
What I hadn't realised was the venues are well lit, house lights blazing, until the boxing actually starts. Then the house lights are turned off, to be replaced by flood or spotlights on just the ring. I was considering attaching my speedlight when the referee paused the fight, to severely reprimand an amateur photographer at ringside, who had just taken three images with flash.
It appears boxers don't appreciate flashguns hitting them in the eyes when they are trying their best to duck punches. Overall, it was a very disappointing night of photography. Having tried wide angle, medium telephoto and even longer telephoto from a balcony , I was left with a huge collection of dark, blurred images. It was clearly time to rethink. Firstly, check with the promoter and venue that you are allowed to shoot.
A lot of events have a dedicated photographer there to shoot and sell their images. This is one place you don't want to tread on anyone's toes. Get to the venue early and choose your spot.
Pick a spot preferably ringside around 6' to one side of the corner. This allows you to shoot the rounds and not have to move to grab that emotion filled image of the boxer taking instructions or constructive criticism! It's also very useful for grabbing images of the corner men during rounds.
By picking one spot, you also remove the risk of annoying others by having to move, or leaving your kit bag while you move to take that one shot. This is ideal for several reasons:.
These lenses will give you faster shutter speeds to catch the action, a shallow DoF to blur out audience distractions and a wide angle of coverage of the ring from so close. The speed, quality,sharpness and DoF of the lens seems made for boxing. I also use the Nikkor 50mm 1.