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Official Rodeo photographer

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Linda Finstad
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Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Linda Finstad on Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:27 am

Hi - I have a question that has been really puzzling me.
last week I went to a B curcit rodeo (one of a series of 12 in various towns) I was just interested in getting some action shots for my portfolio - so I went to introduce myself to who appeared to be the official shooter - But he told me it was not a problem there would be lots of pro shooters around the rail including the official - I didnt see any display or sign up area for the official pictures and I was wondering HOW do these guys make it work and earn a living selling rodeo pictures???????
The guy I first spoke to handed out his card to a couple of competitors and I also spotted the official photographer doing the same but by no means did they contact all the competitors. Am I missing something??
Like I said I was new to the rodeo scene - I work as official photographer at English style shows dressage/ eventing/ jumping etc.

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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Lee Woolery on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:17 pm

Linda:

I mainly do rodeo photography for the youth and high school level. Adult rodeos just never panned out...many times the 18 and over entrants have just enough money to cover their entry fees and nothing left over for photos. Barrels and Bulls shows sometimes work out since the barrel racers have the money for purchasing photos of themselves and a tag-along bull riding boyfriend.

I am what you would call the "official" photographer for these organizations or the only photographer recognized by the organization and board of directors to market and sell photos.

There is a link to my website on the association websites and the announcer reminds everyone to go there for purchasing photos.

There may be parents in attendance taking snapshots from the stands but I've never yet seen another pro at the events. The equipment required for photographing this sport is cost-prohibitive for most and there is a danger factor involved when photographing from inside the arena.

It's tough to get a good shooting angle from the stands and parents or unathorized individuals are not permitted inside the arena or near the bucking chutes for any high school rodeo events and only goat tying and dummy roping for the junior rodeo association.

I do bring a display and viewing stations for ordering at various times.

Much success,

Lee Woolery
Speedshot Photo
http://www.speedshotphoto.com
http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=8868

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Andrea Boody
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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Andrea Boody on Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:50 pm

Also, all sanctioned rodeos require you to be an association member before you're allowed in the arena, and you must present a western appearance - no shorts and tennis shoes! Shooting from the side is a decent way to practice, but I wouldn't recommend shooting rodeo if you haven't been involved with it for years. Broncs, bulls and cowboys are just too unpredictable.

Linda Finstad
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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Linda Finstad on Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:42 am

Hi Guys
Thank you for your imput - i really appreciate it - The rodeo I attended was a B curcit event but very well attended ( competitor wise) and organised - even the official photographer was not allowed in the ring and maybe she just didnt capitalise on the opportunity and present her product well - I work every weekend at some kind of equine event as the offficial and have printed cards for the announcer to read so he know exactly what to say over the PA system and a both a display table and large canvas pictures available from past events for people to buy.

It is very interesting what you say about who has both the buying power and the interest in pictures - it is kind of what I suspected

last April I covered a barrel racing comp and did very well with the girls - I find females more interested in pictures than guys

I shoot with a canon 1D so capturing the action is no problem as long as there is little bit of sunshine - I can gaurantee action shots
One other question - do the rodeos provide a competitor list of names and e-mail addresses?

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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Lee Woolery on Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:56 am

Linda:

PRCA events require you submit a portfolio and be approved before they allow you to photograph their rodeos. IPRA requires you to pay a fee to be a sanctioned rodeo photographer. I don't know about the other circuits but most do require you to be a member before allowing you in the arena or near the bucking chutes. Some of the smaller circuits are just thankful to have a photographer present to cover the action.

If the circuit events are attended by regular members, they have a list of the competitors and most have e-mails but not all. Some organizations will share that information and others will not.

Best way to market to these individuals is to pass out promo cards with your website or have a sign-up sheet for e-mails or pay someone to get their e-mails. Some folks just will not give out that information and unrecognized e-mails go to junk and may never be opened.

On-location viewing and ordering can work depending on the schedule of the competitors. Some will leave one rodeo and head out for another one down the road, that same night or day, or drive all night for one in another state so they may not have time to look at pictures on a computer and web sales may be the only option.

Rodeos are fun to photograph and some levels can be quite profitable if you shoot with the right cameras and lenses
and are afforded the luxury of being able to shoot from prime vantage points as the offical photographer.

Much success,

Lee Woolery
Speedshot Photo
http://www.speedshotphoto.com
http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=8868

Linda Finstad
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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Linda Finstad on Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:36 am

Hi Lee

I agree the rodeo was a lot of fun - I have another couple lined up to go to - just as a spectator and for portfolio shots.

I love the fact that each ride was filled with action and every ride was different - in sharp contrast to shooting dressage
I did talk to a couple of the opening acts - the trick riders and a 4H musical ride group and have some private bookings from that. I like small clubs of horsey girls as I find they are very interested in buying pictures and usually have a new influx of members each year. I was watching the official photographer and she didnt even raise her camera when these girls were doing their opening performance I guess she only saw the cowboys as her potential customers.

Oh I should mention -- I am based in Alberta, Canada

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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Lee Woolery on Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:22 am

Linda:

I used to photograph the Longhorn Rodeos when they came through Ohio and the trick riders and other specialty acts were clients...as well as the bullfighters and pick-up men.

Anymore...I photograph everyone who walks, crawls or rides into the arena...even the judges. The Grand Entry is big for some contestants because that's the only time you'll see them on horseback...moving slowly with a smile.

One thing I enjoy about photographing rodeos, contesting, figure skating and gymnastics is that it's one contestant at a time and they are announced or you can easily tell who they are from the program or media guide.

Much success,

Lee Woolery
Speedshot Photo
www.speedshotphoto.com

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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Josey Butler on Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:15 pm

As a rodeo contestant I can tell you that I very seldom want a picture unless it was a big win and even then I rarely have the time to come find the photographer so I will seek out their web address later. At jackpots and big barrel racing events I will buy pictures of my clients horses that I run for them and for our website. At jackpot barrel races people hang around all day much like a horse show which involves more time for buying things such as pictures if you look around at your rodeo's you will not see very many vendors catering to the contestants because they spend very little time there unless it's a very big rodeo they are competing at in several rounds and even still they are often off to other rodeo's between rounds. As a rule it's not a profitable deal unless you can get in with the PRCA in which I believe most of your sales come from publications wanting shots of the winners. Hope that give you an idea from a competitors point of view on what to work on.

Linda Finstad
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Re: Official Rodeo photographer

Postby Linda Finstad on Sun Dec 26, 2010 8:22 pm

Hi
Thank you for - replying your insights from a competitors point of view were very helpful
good luck for the up coming season


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