The reality of most sports fans is that when you go to a game, if you are going to take photos, you’ll have to think outside the box.
Not having the credentials, connections or ability to get right in on the action makes one have to look at how to take photos and what to focus on when capturing the event.
Remember, just because you don’t get all the action doesn’t mean you can’t tell a story with your images.
As a fan of professional wrestling, going to live events is an extreme blast. I really like it because it gives me a different outlet to shoot images. However, not being up next to the ring makes action shots harder. Not that one can’t do it, but you get the ropes in the way and shadows created by the ropes by lighting or a flash can make things harder.
A few of us went to an event last weekend and were close to the ring, which made it even better.
It was a place to capture more close ups and to see some emotion.
We’ve seen this federation — 2CW — before. It’s a good company with solid workers who know how to play to the crowd and utilize their roles. No matter how you look at professional wrestling, realize this — it’s entertainment. It’s a show and when done well, it’s highly athletic entertainment. That gives a photographer a chance to really hone in on several skills — action shots, closeups, emotion and reactions. You have the best of many worlds when you shoot pro wrestling.
If you’re lucky, you can capture everything in one shot.
So how to go about it?
Use a zoom lens. I used my 70-200 F4 with a flash. I was probably 20-25 feet from the ring and standing, so I had a pretty good vantage point. With a white ceiling, I was able to, at times, bounce the flash a little bit to get some better lighting. I’ve noticed in the times shooting wrestling that shooting the flash directly at the ring can be too much lighting, so play around with your flash and adjust as needed.
Though the way I shoot isn’t for everyone, it works well for me. Some of my techniques include:
- Closing in on the action so I can see the focus of the wrestler(s). It makes for a tighter crop on the photo and brings out details in what’s going on.
- Capturing people/personalities in down situations. You get to see different reactions and such by doing so.
- Keeping an eye on turnbuckles or action coming toward you.
- Watch your surroundings — you never know when something else or someone else could add to your photo.
This isn’t the only way I shoot wrestling, however. I use a wide-angle lens at times to try and capture the feel of the venue or what’s going on overall.
The best part of independent professional wrestling?
It’s usually a cheap ticket. So for 10 or 12 bucks, you can usually get 2-4 hours of interesting entertainment and a bundle of photograph opportunities. Many times, these independent federations will also bring in one or more older stars — those from yesteryear who are no longer affiliated with the WWE or some other big place. It’s cool to see them, too, for the most part because they can be very personable.
Bring several memory cards, your camera, a flash and a lens or two and snap away.
Here are some more of the shots I took at the last event I went to:
If you decide that you’d like to try shooting a wrestling event, check out this calendar. Though it doesn’t list everything possible, it’s pretty close and it’s one of the most comprehensive calendars for pro wrestling.
It’s a fun event to shoot though. Get out there and give it a try. You might get some wild images!
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