Review Guest Speaker – Alexander Bogatyrev: From Father to Sports Photographer

Ever wondered what it takes entices photographers into world of sports photography?

We were lucky to hear fascinating insights into the world of sports photography from Alexander Bogatyrev (Alex), guest speaker at the MCC club night on 29 September.

Alex commenced his sports photography journey by photographing his daughter – a rhythmic gymnast (Commonwealth Games medallist at Birmingham). Arriving as a proud parent at a gymnastic final in Melbourne ready to photograph his daughter – Alex quickly found out that he wasn’t allowed to use his SLR camera with large lenses – he needed accreditation!

Getting his start with the local Port Phillip Leader portal –Alex had his first assignment (as an accredited photographer) – Netball 2018.
Alex then went onto be a finalist in the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards (WISPPA) with a brilliant photo (illustrated below) of his daughter (Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva – the Australian champion in rhythmic gymnastics in 2018 and 2019).

Photographing many other sports, Alex’s highlights include:

  • Wrestling Australia Cup 2019 held in Western Australia – requiring extremely fast shutter speeds (entry level cameras were not suitable) and light sensitivity to capture the moments
  • Australian Open – Rod Laver Arena – including a fantastic black and white shot of Daniil Medvedev with a green highlighted tennis ball sending out a cloud of fluff (view on Instagram)
  • World Games 2022 – a recent trip where Alex captured shots of weightlifters, karate, and indoor hockey
  • Ballroom Dancing photography is another passion – view Alex’s images of the Australian Dance Sports 2018.

Images from the above events can be viewed at Alexander Bogatyrev (

Alex emphasised how important it is to understand the sport or discipline (like ballroom dancing) – knowing what image to capture – that right moment.

Accreditation and Protocols

  • Media accreditation – contact local newspapers (it may be easier to gain accreditation with smaller media outlets as they typically do not have staff photographers). Also check with local sports clubs. Triathlons may require permission to photograph the event – contact the media contact on the event website
  • Permission to Photograph – gymnastic events often have strict rules (parents need to make it known to the organisation/ photographer if they do not want photos taken) – written permission to photograph is also often required. Identification will be required before photographing certain events – for example, an identifier wristband was required prior to gaining access to photograph an event taking place on the uneven bars).

Tips & Tricks

Some of Alex’s tips include:

  • Black backgrounds are better than white
  • ISO Setting (do not go over 2500 ISO for indoor)
  • Alex shoots in Raw – which is unusual for sports photography – most sport photographers use JPEG as it is fast
  • Uses Lightroom for post-production – only uses Photoshop for banners, etc
  • Uses a Prime 200 Lens at 2.0
  • Tries not to crop images too much – except for Triathlons (f2.5)
  • White balance is set to auto (balance in Raw format)
  • Uses Instagram for sharing images
  • Uses a mirrorless camera for street photography (for example capturing protests during Covid) Fuji XP2 – for travelling light – however the quality is not good enough for sport.


*Image: ‘Balancing Act’, Gymnastics. Photo by Alexander Bogatyrev (VIC) Source: Courtesy of Women Sport Australia and #WISPAA

By Kerry Hall

The video will available on the Members Video Library page