Breaking the MMA Lens: Josh Hedges photography whitepaper: Part Two
Last time we talked mostly about the technical issues of his MMA photography. Camera settings, gear, and the like. That was the beginning of our conversation. Then the discussion got into style and technique along with some history and personal aspects.
Josh will take about 3200 photos at any given event. The problems are that many of the photos are eliminated because of focus, framing, action, subject matter etc. Of the 3200 he shoots, about 500 are actually usable.
After choosing the right photos comes post-processing. They use Adobe Photoshop as their post-processing software. Josh says they never retouch a photograph. He only crops and may make small adjustments to exposure. They also do some text captioning and use the program Photomechanic to organize the photos. They never digitally remove distractions or retouch anything.
There is a staff that works the UFC events. Everybody has a job and there is a lot going on in terms of photography at each fight. There is a staff of three to six photographers, and up to six editors, with some freelancers mixed in. So, the area surrounding the cage has a lot going on. Each photographer has a job, such as pre-fight, post-fight etc.
Although they have set up lights for open fighter workouts, they usually don’t have to do this for an actual event. However, there have been a few cases where the lighting wasn’t quite right at an event and they had to bring in their own lights to help out.
We talked about what got Josh into photography. It stemmed from when he was real young. His grandfather always had a camera with him. He would always be taking pictures, showing them and talking about photography. Josh was mesmerized and before you knew it, he was hooked. He got his first camera when he was six-years old and he’s been a maniac ever since.
What does Josh like to photograph other than MMA and sports? Landscapes and travel fascinate him. I totally understand that. Landscapes are quiet and don’t move. Landscape photography is usually quite relaxing, the opposite of the fast pace of combat sports.
He does the travel and snapshot photography when he’s with his family. Josh and his wife have three-year old twins that really keep them on the go. He loves to get shots of them during their adventures.
It was a real pleasure to talk to Josh. The time we spent went by quickly. It was great to get some insights from this accomplished, professional photographer.