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How To Take Powerful Boxing Photography Shots

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Boxing is a unique sport that requires a specific knowledge of cameras and lighting.

You can make your boxing pictures both striking and powerful.  You need to get to know your models, be quick on your feet, and have thick skin.

Here are some more tips for taking powerful boxing photos.

Practice Before the Match to Get a Feel for Boxing

two men training for a boxing match

To make your boxing pictures powerful, you have to understand and appreciate the sport itself. You can do this by practicing. That’s right, take some time to practice boxing so you can understand your subjects.

This won’t actually help you take great photos. But it will make you more empathetic and sensitive to interesting stories. You might also end up loving boxing on your own because of it!

You can also practice by photographing boxers during a training session. This is the perfect time to get to know your camera settings. Experiment with features like Burst Mode, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

Prepare Yourself for Criticism so You Can Effortlessly Focus on Your Photos During the Match

montone boxing picture of two fighters in the ring

Unlike other sports photography genres, boxing comes with social problems.

A lot of professional boxing photographers get criticized for distracting viewers from the match. Some of the people very close to the ring might find you annoying and useless.

This might lead to insults or snarky comments. All of these will have nothing to do with you.

In addition to taking great photos, it’s your job to ignore these comments. Focus on your work as much as possible. As long as you’re not taking over anyone else’s space, you have nothing to worry about.

Know Your Camera Settings to Take Amazing Boxing Shots

Atmospheric boxing picture of a fighter walking into the ring

Boxing matches rarely happen in places made for professional studio photography. Oftentimes, the lighting is harsh and direct to match the tension in the room. As inconvenient as this is, you can still use it to your advantage.

Keep in mind that using a flash is not allowed during a boxing match.

First, your shutter speed has to be very fast (e.g. 1/400) to capture as many details as possible.

To compensate for the low light, increase your ISO. Avoid very large numbers, but don’t be afraid of going a little higher than what you’re used to.

Grainy boxing photos can be just as beautiful as smooth ones. You can remove unwanted grain in an editing program.

To make the boxers stand out, use a large aperture such as f/2.8 or f/4.0. The smaller the number, the blurrier the background will be.

Finally, make sure you’re using the best lens possible:

Prime lenses like the 50mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 are some of the most affordable lenses out there.

Shoot From a Very Low Angle to Emphasise the Boxers’ Strength

Atmospheric boxing picture of a fighter in the ring during a match

Boxing is all about power and strategy. To emphasize this, shoot from a very low angle. This will work best if you’re as close to the ring as possible.

Low angles are powerful because they create a sense of power and superiority. Your subject will look taller because of it, and the light hitting them will highlight their muscles.

If the lights are directly above the ring, you’ll also be able to take incredible silhouettes. These will show sweat, blood, and other details that aren’t as evident when seen from other angles.

Use a Lens Hood to Adjust to Different Light Settings

two camera lenses with lens hoods

Shooting from a very low angle might result in lens flare, an effect that may or may not stand out to you.

If it bothers you, use a lens hood to block out excess light.

Also, make sure you use as many camera tools and accessories as possible. That’s how you make the most of the lighting. It’s likely that it will change as the match progresses. You’ll have to adjust accordingly every time.

The more tools you have to make up for unflattering or harsh light, the less stressed you’ll be.

Take Both Wide Photos and Close-Ups to Enhance Your Portfolio

Atmospheric high angle boxing picture of fighters in the ring during a match

Most photography genres thrive off of diversity. In order to improve as a photographer, you need to experiment with different angles, techniques, and subjects. Boxing photography is no exception to this rule.

Take photos of details, the entire ring, the boxers’ reactions, and the audience. To make the most of it, you should have at least two different lenses. This will allow you to take sharp and creative photos at the same time.

I recommend using a zoom and a wide-angle lens. A zoom lens will let you take great photos of faces and details without getting too close to the ring. A wide-angle lens will let you take atmospheric and slightly distorted photos.

Take Photos of Boxers Before the Match to Give Your Photos a Story

Atmospheric boxing photography of a fighter leaning against the ropes in a gym

If you can, get to know the boxers before the match. You don’t need to meet them directly before the match. In fact, the best time to meet is long before then so you can both communicate in a relaxed setting.

Get to know why they enjoy boxing. You can even take pre-match photos of them to find their best angles and boxing techniques. This is a great way to make new connections as a photographer in the boxing industry.

If you can’t meet up with them, you can connect with them online. Many boxers have websites or Instagram profiles that clearly explain why they love boxing and highlight their achievements.

Get Into Candid Photography to Create a Sense of Humanity

Atmospheric boxing pictures of a fighter talking with a trainer during a boxing match

Powerful photos are often vulnerable. By showing your subject’s humanity, you’ll be able to add a whole new level of meaning to your images.

To achieve this, take photos of the boxers during breaks or right after one of them wins. Capture emotional reactions as they fight.

Take candid photos of them. Show them talking to their trainers or interacting with the audience. Take photos of the audience during crucial moments.

This will not only improve your boxing photos but give you a better understanding of candid photography.

Shoot Through the Boxing Ring Ropes to Create Depth

Atmospheric boxing pictures of a fighter and trainer shot through the boxing ring ropes to create depth

Using a large aperture such as f/1.8, shoot through a gap in the boxing ring ropes.

This will create texture, add interesting elements to your composition, and create depth. All of these things will contribute to the power of your boxing shots.

You can use this technique to focus on a specific part of the frame or to enhance the effect of candid photos.

Conclusion

Boxing is a powerful sport that provides photographers with unique ways to express themselves.

Even though it’s fast-paced and aggressive, it’s perfect for improving your knowledge of cameras, lighting, and the power of stories.

For more great tips, why not check our posts on shooting baseball, ice-skating or chess photography next!

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