Pro Wrestling

Low Light Venues and Slow Lenses

I haven’t blogged about the last few wrestling shows that I’ve shot, mainly because I’m posting them on Facebook and Twitter and don’t want to be too redundant with the photos.  To add a little interest I’ll write about the photography side and my lens choices. I’ve never been much of a wide angle shooter so I haven’t invested in a good wide angle lens but with wrestling you are so close you have to go wide.  I shot the April Funky Munky show with my Tamron 19-35 f3.5-4.5.  It would be categorized as a “slow” lens because of it’s 3.5-4.5 maximum aperture.  One of the downsides of a slow lens is that it doesn’t allow a lot of light in which makes the camera work harder to focus.  The Latin American club in Sterling has decent light so although I did have some trouble with focus I was happy with the number of good shots I got.  Here are two of my favorites below.

Funky Munky

Bucky Collins and Christian Rose


Funky Munky

Tyler Priegel and Judd the Janitor

In May, I went to Donahue, IA for Mississippi Valley Wrestling.  The venue was much darker and the slow lens was a bigger problem.  I did the best I could but missed a lot of good shots because of the focus problems.  Overall I wasn’t happy with my performance.  Here are a couple from that night below.


Markus Crane and Jason Pemberton


Knight Wagner and Moondog Bernard

The following night it was back to Funky Munky but this time they were in Kewanee and the light was poor.  I shot the first match with my 19-35 but then decided I didn’t want to fight the focus any more and switched to my 50mm f1.8.  Having a maximum aperture of 1.8 allows enough light in so the camera can focus.  The downside is that it’s a straight 50mm which is often too tight for the close quarters.  Despite missing shots because I couldn’t zoom out, I was much happier with the overall result.  When the tight shots work, I really like them.  Here are a couple examples below.

Funky Munky

Dan the Man and Aaron Xavier

Funky Munky

Tyler Priegel and Judd the Janitor

My solution is to finally purchase some good wide angle glass and get a 24-70 f2.8.  I’ll be able to focus in low light and zoom out when needed.


Which version do you like best?


#1 Out of camera color photo


#2 Color photo with Photoshop edit


#3 Original in black and white


#4 Photoshop edit in black and white


Independant Wrestling

Marek Brave

The wrestling bug has really bitten me.  Since photographing Funky Munky three weeks ago I have discovered that there are independent wrestling promotions all over.  I contacted SCW (Scott County Wrestling) and was able to photograph their event on Saturday night.  The thing I like most about these shows is that it’s all about the matches.  There is very little talking, unlike the current WWE where it seems all they do is talk.  The matches are high quality too, this isn’t just some kids messing around in the back yard.  I never would have believed you could see someone jump off the top rope through a table in small town Walcott, Iowa. (see the first photo).  To top it all off, after Shane Hollister beat Matt Cage for the heavyweight title he called his girlfriend to the ring and proposed.  If you like wrestling at all, I highly recommend getting out to support indy wrestling.








Funky Munky Wrestling


Mason Beck gets the win over “American Voodoo” Mojo McQueen

Last night I photographed Funky Munky Wrestling at the Latin American Social Club in Sterling, IL.  It was my first time shooting pro wrestling and I found it quite difficult.  In most sports I know where to position myself for certain types of action.  Basketball players are going to head toward the basket, batters in baseball have an actual box outlined in the dirt where they are going to stand and football players move in a general direction toward the goal but wrestling is totally unpredictable.  I constantly felt like I was in the wrong position but as soon as I would move, the action would change and I would wish I was back where I started.  On the occasions when I was in the right spot the images were great.  I’m looking forward to doing this again.



Mojo McQueen uses a voodoo doll on Mason Beck


Judd the Janitor takes Tyler Priegel for a ride.


Bucky Collins interacts with the fans before his match.