Welcome to my blog, don't expect too much, it merely covers the work of a photographer specialising in equestrian events. It will be updated at irregular intervals
Who would have believed that I would allow nearly a year to go by between posts, well it would appear that I have. It has been very busy with events virtually every weekend, normally both days.
I hadn't realized how long it's been since my last post. Well it's been busy, sometimes profitable, sometimes interesting and sometimes both. I regret to say that there have been a few jobs which have been actual losses. A few of the losses were my fault, but in each case I have learned and thus I will be turning a few jobs away this coming year. Certainly I will not be covering any childrens' 5 a side football tournaments this year. Parwood Equestrian Centre is a new venue for us. We have worked there before but only when there has been an external hire, now we are working there a bit more and certainly the comments made by both the riders and the centre management are very complimentary. We were there yesterday, I thought is was exceedingly cold, but since it was bright, the images look great as can be seen from that above.
Well it has certainly been busy during the summer and yes it is now getting quiet, but there are still a few jobs out there to do.
Merrist Wood is a venue that that we covered for Bookham Riding Club at the beginning of the year. On Wednesday James said that he wanted to practice with a new lens thus would I like to go down there (and supply transport). To cut a long story short we ended up covering a clear round event which started at 17:00 and did not finish until 21:00, we did not set up printers instead I stood at the entrance and handed every competitor a card. I have to say that orders have been very good. James and I are back there next month to cover Bookham Riding Club again.
Normally James works for me, but during October I did a job for him down at Munstead. It was a hunter trial, they had over 200 entrants. It did get very busy and I ended up running around the field delivering memory cards to two photographers whilst James looked after the printing.
Readers may recall that I was looking at video, this is still a thought, certainly for dressage it would be useful for the rider to look at exactly what they did during a test. I have bid on a few cameras unsuccessfully, but it is the additional items that add up. As a colleague said to me both he and I demand too high a standard, I would not be happy unless I used a decent fluid head tripod and where there is music, a feed from the CD player rather than using a microphone, Of course the BBC and other media companies use a high viewpoint looking down into an arena thus a scaffold tower or "cherry picker" would be useful to give me the height. Finally of course I would want two cameras so that two different angles are covered, Having completed the filming, each test would need to be edited. I did put out a question to see what people would pay for such a service, the response was not exactly brilliant, my recollection is that only 4 people came back.
Been busy throughout the summer, and it is only now that things are slowing down. I still seem to live at Pachesham which is no bad thing since it's local, and the people are nice.
We have done a few events away from Pachesham. The Alresford Agricultural Show is our biggest event, last year we had 5 photographers, a computer operator and a runner, this year due to staff changes, holidays and sickness we were down to 4 photographers and a computer operator, but having learned from last year, I think that we did a better job although the weather was certainly not as good.
Ewelme is a show that I was offered at short notice last year due a photographer deciding not to turn up, we could not do it then due to a prior booking but this year Sophie, Craig and I went. although the facilities were basic, we were under a gazebo and power came from an extension lead run from a nearby house, we did well and orders were actually bigger than at Alresford
Lands End Equestrian Centre Summer show was one that I was particularly looking forward to since their show in May had been such a success, unfortunately despite good advertising and careful selection of the date - schools back, but early enough for good weather, entries were considerably down. thus of course earnings were down, but it is a nice show with friendly people both organizing and competing.
Sparsholt ran a three day show jumping event which we covered, the first two days went well but Sunday we arrived in rain and I have to say that it rained for much of the day thus of course people went home as soon as possible rather than staying and looking at pictures.
One area which does distress me is the increase in theft. As I am sure readers will have noted when you view an image it has a copyright symbol and the website address, I am finding that a few people seem to think that is is reasonable to copy the image and upload it onto their Facebook or other social media site. One girl had the cheek to suggest that the image was not good enough to buy and another that she was going to buy it and inserted a wink symbol, sorry but under the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 this is THEFT!
I WILL take action!
I WILL send you an invoice!
I WILL put a comment that you have stolen it!
With summer here work is getting busy. Unfortunately I've had a few problems with people going on holiday. Lucy the girl who first joined my back in 2013, finished school with no holidays booked and just a week or so later found herself travelling over much of the UK and Europe for the summer, thus she is not around when I want her. Georgie has left due to finding work in a local gastro pub/hotel prior to starting a foundation course down in Cornwall. Fortunately James has been around a fair bit and proved very useful since he is not only able to take shots but found the network easy to use.
So what have we done? Chipstead Riding Club organised 145 rounds of dressage in four arenas at Pachesham. Pachesham also had their own show-jumping event on simultaneously. Unfortunately one of my photographers went sick and thus since we were not actually booked to cover the jumping, we prioritised the dressage. The next day Juliet and I were on Thorney Island for jumping, that was a very small show finishing at 14:45. It was a nice day but since the ground was so hard the event was held indoors which was a shame. We've been down to Plumpton College 4 times covering horsey camps (and are due there again next week). Pachesham also held a one day event, these are always great to cover, the show jumping is not normally of a very high standard but is quite reasonable, but it's the cross country which produces the shots. Finally whilst James was away I covered a small show at Gasston Stables
Last Friday was at least partly a training session for John. Unfortunately people seem to think that with modern digital cameras one does not have to think, that may be true for snapshots taken by amateurs, but as a professional I think about what I am shooting and adjust my technique to match both the subject and the prevailing conditions, even then I am occasionally caught out, but fortunately that's very rare and since I can now see the image recorded on the back of the camera I can now remedy any problems before they become critical. It took much of the day but I think that it was worth the effort.
Sunday was at Warlingham & District Horse Club. This show had been rescheduled due to bad weather, unfortunately that had an adverse effect on the entries, but despite that the standard was excellent with the puissance going up to 1.65m. Is should say that the horse and rider combination looked like they could have gone even higher.
Well it's been a busy time, Pachesham Equestrian Centre is virtually my second home as I seem to be there at least once a week. It's not always the most profitable as some of the midweek events are very small with the same people attending each time, but it is close to home which reduces travelling expenses and Linda and Rosanna who run the office are very friendly, thus while I can, I will continue to cover their events.
The only fly in the ointment since my last posting has been a two day event I was called on the do at relatively short notice. It was a move outside my normal field of equestrian events to 5-a- side football. It was a massive event with 6 pitches being played simultaneously and matches starting every 5 minutes continuously throughout the day. On Saturday there were 3 of us, Sophie and I taking shots and Carrie a new person being dropped in the deep end running the computer. Carrie had never used Lightroom before, but had downloaded a trial version and looked at it. She did very well loading images. Sophie did her usual and produced a nice set of images. On Sunday John joined us so that the photographers only had 2 pitches to cover instead of 3. Unfortunately despite our best efforts and over 8000 images, the people were not interested in the photos. As we left on Sunday I was considerably down, subsequent orders meant that I recovered the losses but I'm not sure whether £32.36 for 21 hours work is a good hourly rate, how does that compare to the minimum wage? Unfortunately the minimum wage does not apply to business owners, only their staff.
Fortunately most jobs are not like that, some are good and some are bad, a lot depends upon the weather, what rider wants to hang around and look at photos when they've been out competing getting cold and possibly very wet? They know that they've got the get their mount home, turn it out feed it, muck out the stable all before they can get a hot shower and into dry clothing.
On Carrie's second job I let her take all the shots, it was dressage at Pachesham, Carrie is a rider and thus knows what she as a rider will buy, with me operating the computer and running off prints we did very well. Another event where I ran the computers was over at Warlingham. This was again a fairly short notice booking, the event was actually sponsored by a rival, who could not attend for the entire day. Despite running the printer from a table placed under a tree, we again did very well and we are back there later this month. As I said earlier I ran the printer, this time with Sophie, Carrie and John taking shots.
The other event of note was Wimbledon Village Fair Horse Show. Since there is no power or shelter we are limited to merely taking shots and giving out cards for online orders. I do not normally like operating this way as the income is much lower, but this event seems to buck the trend and indeed orders are very good.