I’ll do my best to post the questions we get the most here with answers.
What gear do you use?
Esther: I shoot on a Canon 5Ds, Canon 5DmkIII, and a Canon 1Dx. My main lenses for shooting a fight are the 70-200mm F2.8, 24-70 F2.8, and I have a Sigma 24mm and 85mm prime for portraits. I edit in Adobe Lightroom. As for settings, it changes with each event depending on lighting. Generally I try to make sure I’m shooting over a 1/640th of a second, for a UFC, there’s enough light to shoot 1/1000th, f3.2
Casey: We shoot video on that Canon 5DmkIII mentioned above and a Canon C300. Edit on Adobe Premiere Pro.
What camera should I buy?
Well I guess it depends how serious you are but if you really intend to shoot fights, please stop buying Rebels and buy a used professional body. Nikon or Canon doesn’t matter but functionality matters. You’ll learn more if you can change settings without looking at a silly menu. However if you’re asking for a camera for anything other than sport, I think any smaller Micro 4/3 type system is a better bet. Sony & Fuji all make amazing, smaller cameras.
How did you get started?
This is a long story. Short version: worked in production (pre, during, and post), graphics, all kinds of odd jobs, and took stills on the weekends of music video shoots, bad indie films, sometimes bands. Then, I shot fights in a local gym and first time out, I managed to get decent shots and loved it. Rest is just working with ProElite, EliteXC, getting downsized, going to local fights, selling photos to Fighters Only Magazine and anyone else who would buy a shot or two, chasing after invoices, until finally Showtime noticed my work and brought me to shoot Strikeforce.
Can I work for you?
Maybe? I can sometimes use assistants for ingest or lighting bigger shoots, but I work for a sports news site so there’s no budget for any kind of helping hands. Generally, I shoot and ingest and upload right there under the cage between fights.
How do you shoot through the cage?
Longer lenses help the cage disappear but honestly, it’s always still there a little because I’m not shooting at 200mm the whole time or shooting with a 300mm when there’s so much movement. Focusing is always difficult but cameras are very advanced and I generally keep my hand on the manual focus ring anyway.