MMA and wrestling photography

edited September 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
Hey Gang!

I've been shooting for a little over a year now and would like to combine passions. I've wrestled and coached wrestling all my life and I train with some local MMA fighters. I'd like to start shooting these events. In both instances lighting is a crap shoot, there is a flurry of motion, and great vantage points may be hard to come by. What advice, tips, etc would you have for shooting? Thanks in advance!!


  • edited September 2015
    I think you're going to face a big challenge, but you might have some small advantage if your subjects are fairly close, as wrestling is less likely to occur as football does in the middle of a distant field.

    You're going to have to try to stop motion, but may find it impossible to stop all motion, and have to settle for some artistic blur of extremities. People are a bit more forgiving of digital noise than some other scenery, so you may find it possible to crank up the ISO.

    Depending on how close you can get to the action, it might be possible to do well with a fast prime lens rather than a zoom. A fast zoom would be nice, of course, but such things can be very expensive.

    If you can, I'd try some experimental shooting where you expect action to occur. If what you have now is a kit zoom lens, try using it as wide open as you can, getting the shutter speed up into the 1/250 range or so. See first of all what ISO you end up with, and second of all whether you can get near enough with the focal length you've got. If you can get decent range at 50 millimeters, a fast 50mm prime lens might be your best bet, as not only does it allow higher shutter speeds, but it is likely to focus fast. An f/1.8 prime lens is faster than almost any zoom made, and way way cheaper.

    For focusing, you probably will do best with C servo, and either dynamic area or 3D. If the wrestlers look much alike, 3D mode might jump from one to the other, but this may not matter if they are both in similar focal ranges.

    Ordinarily, I like to shoot in Raw mode, but if you are working a wrestling match you might find that you need more continuous shooting than Raw allows at a time. It varies with camera model and also with the speed of your memory card, but my D3200, though it loads up after about 8 shots in Raw mode, can blast away pretty freely in any JPG mode. You're best off if you can leave your files as large as possible, so that there's room to crop.

Sign In or Register to comment.