Boxing and MMA Photography Tips and Techniques

Everyone loves a good success story. With a growing number of amateur photographers looking to make the transition to professional, this particular success story may be of interest. When Ed Mullholland, who studied economics at Rutgers, was invited to his first fight, he decided to bring along a camera and snap a few pictures for the hobby of it. On a whim, he sent those pictures to a popular fight magazine as nothing more than a fan of the fight. A few days later, he received an email from the magazine asking him to cover a fight in Jersey City. From there, things really started rolling for him. Watch an interview with Mulholland here:

A snapshot he took with a point and shoot during the press conference in Jersey City landed him in Sports Illustrated. Once HBO caught wind of the up-and-comer, they offered him a 3-month contract which has turned into regular work since 2006.

It’s mentioned in the video, but let’s briefly review Mulholland’s equipment list. His go to camera is a Canon 1D Mark IV. He usually outfits it with one of three lenses: a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8, or a 300mm f/2.8. Even though you’re pretty close to the action when shooting fights, Mulholland reveals that, in boxing, you want those tight close-up shots. The legs rarely matter in fight photography, so being able to get right up to the fighters’ faces with the longer lenses is crucial. The majority of fight photographs are waist-up.

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Mulholland says he owes his success in part to loving the sport. He watches a lot of boxing, studying the movements of the fighters, allowing him to understand the sport better. Recognizing patterns in fighters’ movements helps him know when to fire the shutter. He also sharpens his craft through experimenting with different types of equipment to see what works best in which situations. Those two things combined with a little luck, helped Mark realize a dream he didn’t even know was possible.

“I’m a sports nut. I love sports. I could probably make more money shooting weddings and babies, but its not what drives me. I love shooting boxing. I love shooting UFC. I truly love what I’m doing.”

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