What goes into a weekend photographing a Horse Trials (Covid edition!)
The bulk of the event prep takes place in the days leading up to the event (though technically months in advance when booking staff, and the weeks proceeding with constant buying supplies!). When the times come out, I’m able to message my freelancers giving them all the details and timings of the event. As our eventing photos are sorted into rider folders, all of the individual folders are created when the times come out.
If the event is an hour or further away I normally book accommodation, and usually do this fairly last minute (just in case the event had to cancel – weather/Covid!)
With the current Covid regulations and not being able to print onsite, this has relived me of around 90% of things I need to take to an event (trailer included!).
On the day before the event, I’ll get everything ready and load into the car; cameras, chargers, laptops, cards, card readers, spares of everything, etc. Batteries will be charged and off we go.
I arrive at the event on the afternoon before and have a first look at the course on foot, as well as putting out banners and signage. I note down every possible photo fence option, starring the definite ones. (I wrote a whole blog on choosing photo fences – check it out here). Some of the things I consider are the fence itself, the background, lighting, how far round the course the jump is and so on. I also take to my Instagram stories and ask opinions from those competing, as if I’m stuck between 2 fence choices, of course I want photo fences that will sell! We normally have 3 photographers on xc so hopefully this allows for a range of fences, including maybe a bogey fence (something the competitors will be pleased to get over but that not everyone will jump nicely) and a ‘safe’ fence (something that will ride well and is early in the course so in theory, most will get to if they don’t get round the whole course!).
I arrive on the morning of the event as early as possible and usually drive round the XC course, finalising any jump decisions (sometimes I need to double check in the morning as the sunlight is so different to the evening before!). I then meet my showjumping photographer, talk through the course with them, give them cards and instructions for the day and leave them to it!
I then meet my XC photographers and take them to their designated fences on course. Again, I provide them with cards and other kit they need – including a whiteboard to write each riders number on!
I then head out to my XC position and shoot away! Between classes, I drive round to my photographers to collect their cards and from my XC position, will start uploading the photos to rider folders. Depending on 4g connection, I can usually then start loading them to the website from my phone Hotspot!
Especially now we aren’t offering onsite printing (due to Covid), it’s really important that I can get the images online as quickly as possible. This normally is a couple of hours per class as they’re uploaded in high resolution (couple of reasons behind this – but mainly as I offer instant downloads so people don’t have to wait to be emailed their photos if they want them immediately!)
I repeat this after each class and finally collect the cards at the end of the day before heading home or back to my hotel. Back home and the work continues as I ensure everything is uploading ok and email out any orders that have come in.
Monday is where the fun starts! Usually with onsite printing, 90% of our orders are dealt with onsite. However with current regulations, it means every order is done at home, plus with packaging and a daily post office trip to add to the mix.
By Wednesday, most of the orders have come in, I’m usually up to date on printing, montages, queries, invoices paid, and I can think about a midweek day off!