If you’ve never been to a rodeo you have to go at least once in your life. Intense, fast paced and 100% dangerous makes this event exciting and simply over the top. These cowboys and cowgirls make it seem simple and just another day at the office. From my view point it’s anything but.
Bronc riding and rodeo photography
Capturing the action at a rodeo challenges the best of us. As a rodeo photographer I know that the unpredictable will happen and the predictable will happen and everything else will happen. Yes everything that can will happen. So how do you prepare to capture a great photo?
I arrive early to the venue and just walk around. Knowing basic things about your location help to calm you down and familiarize yourself so that you can focus on taking great photos. Things I look for when I arrive at the venue.
Tips for photographing outdoor rodeos
- Bathrooms – yes this is number one in my books. There is nothing like having to go so bad that you leave your location. Find where all the bathrooms are, go even if you don’t feel you have to and remember where they are.
- Sun – When working at an outdoor event like a rodeo it’s critical to know where the sun is and what direction it’s moving. Most rodeos run for several hours, two to four typically. During this time the sun can move quite far and cause some new problems. The start time for the event these photos were taken at was pretty late in the day, 6:00 PM. Initially the sun was not a big issue but after the rodeo started in all changed. So watch for the sun and where it will travel.
- Wind – The wind is another big problem at an outdoor rodeo. The dirt is kicked up by everyone in the arena and on a windy day presents some serious issues. Namely your equipment. You have to ask yourself is my camera worth taking this photo? Usually not. Protecting your gear is an essential part of taking good photos. So position your self so that the wind (and sun) don’t interfere with your equipment.
These are just some of the key environmental issues you need to consider when photographing outdoor events like a rodeo.
Check out all the action from the Rawhide Rodeo in our photo gallery.