Photography Pointers From an Amateur Boxer: 3 Tips

Many don’t know that, in addition to taking beautiful pictures in my spare time, I am also a amateur boxer. No not a scary “I’m going to hurt you” kind of boxer. But just more of a laid back artistic fighter type.

I’ve noticed some interesting things with how boxing correlates to photography.

First and probably most importantly is that you really only get 1 chance in the ring…So be prepared. You must prepare and be ready because by the time comes for the perfect picture, if you’re not prepared, it’s going to be too late. In boxing, if you’re not prepared, you will get knocked the heck out (or at least lose handily). Similarly in photography, if you don’t have your batteries charged at all times, have your lenses prepared, and have everything in alignment, you will miss that perfect picture, as you are fumbling for the right piece of equipment.

Second, nothing is more important in photography, and boxing, than experience. I’ve seen tough young guys get beaten up pretty bad by some gentle, older, brittle, but more experienced men. Enthusiasm and zeal will only get you so far. Experience from screwing up potentially good pictures cannot be taught through words or pictures. Experience in missing the shot of a lifetime due to poor shadows or poor lighting cannot be gained from reading a book. Similarly, a boxing coach can tell a boxer to “keep his hands up” at all times. But it is only after getting knocked out once (or 4 or 5 times in my case) that a boxer really learns the importance of keeping their hands up. Youth is great in photography and boxing, but experience is much better.

The third similarity is that speed beats power in both photography and boxing. Assuming all else is equal, a fast and less powerful boxer will easily beat a stronger and slower boxer. In part because it is easier for the quicker boxer to score points. But it is also because the fast boxer can adjust to changes in his environment easier. Similarly, part of the success of a photographer depends on how fast her camera can shoot, reset, and shoot again. A camera that is even a microsecond slower than another one can cause even the best photographer to miss a priceless facial expression or a one-of-a-kind gesture.

I’m not saying that boxing and photography require the same skill-set or can even be categorized under the same hobby “family”. But if you look hard enough, you can find some interesting similarities. And photographers who do utilize these three pointers above, can be sure to shoot some amazing…ahem, ahem…knockout shots.