Insight in CrossFit Photography

I feel lucky that I first started photographing people in a crazy way, such as CrossFit. Talk about being thrust into the mouth of madness! I was at the box {aka gym} that I workout at and I had just learned the theory behind shooting in manual, the light triangle, and it was a no-holds-barred type of situation. At the entrance and exit of the box there is bright light and in the middle of the box it is so dark that you have to completely change your settings. Plus all these athletes were moving really fast, so compromising my shutter speed was not option, so I had to increase my ISO, which on my Canon T5i, meant that there was a lot of grain in the picture. It was a great way for me to learn the fine balance my camera worked in, and it took me 6 months or more to master all those elements. You can see from the pictures below where I started:

C Wright Sports Crossfit1 C Wright Sports Crossfit2

You can see the grain in the pictures, and at this point I was not shooting in RAW, so what I was able to process afterwards was minimal. At the time I didn’t know the benefits to shooting in RAW. I also was learning where to position myself for a dynamic shot, where you could see the intensity of the athlete, where you stop motion at the right time and all the elements come together. When I shoot crossfit, I go for a feeling in the picture, I looked to be moved by the picture. This means that I am angling my body to get the best angle, to get the best shot of the athlete’s face. There is a lot that goes into one picture, but I love it when I nail it!

The following year, 2014, I took another crack at capturing the open at my box, after a year of practice, and the difference noticeable:

C Wright Sports Photography Crossfit Open 14_1

What I like about this picture is that she is caught in the air and that she is framed by the box’s logo, making her look like she has wings. It’s pretty neat! What I learned? I needed to shoot this at a higher shutter speed, and you can see subtle movement around the head and feet. Further I cut a tiny bit of her head off at the top.

C Wright Sports Crossfit 14_2

With this picture I am getting great face from my subject, and you can visibly see the crowd cheering people on, so there are two sets of emotions coming through in this picture. What did I learn? I need to get more aggressive/creative where I take pictures–what if I had been in from of him but shooting him from underneath? With that face, that would have been a great shot.

So I practiced and worked on my angles, looking for the right moment to capture the action and emotion. The next set of pictures are from competitions that I have taken chronologically since the 2014 CrossFit Open.

Pound for Pound

C Wright Sports Pound4Pound1 C Wright Sports Pound4Pound2

My Mommy is Stronger then Your Mommy

C Wright Sports Mommy1 C Wright Sports Mommy2

Bring the Heat


C Wright Sports Bring the Heat 5 Panda

Oktoberfest Obliteration

C Wright Sports OO1 C Wright Sports OO2 C Wright Sports OO3

Fall Classic

L TexasFC FB Page n Blog-13 L TexasFC FB Page n Blog-19

Clutch Classic

C Wright Sports Clutch1 C Wright Sports Clutch2

Over 2014 I varied my lenses, rent quite a few, invested in a few others and worked on being more aware as I went into a competition. Who is reacting when a heavy lift goal is met? Where is the emotion? Who is going for a heavy PR? Which team is fighting to win and is giving it their all? This is what I look for these days. I will end this post with a picture collage from the latest competition I photographed 2.5 weeks ago, one of the pictures was posted by the official CrossFit Instagram to boot!

C Wright Sports BtH6_1

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Kathy Matthews

    Wonderful journey through your CrossFit evolution. I love your photos, but looking back on your learning process makes me appreciate your current shots even more. Beautiful work.

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