Capturing the special bond between livestock and exhibitors…
I had the opportunity recently to practice being a livestock show ring photographer at the Marion County fair lamb show. With this being said here is a list of things you become aware of when you are a ring photographer.
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE ONES WITH BETTER SHOWMANSHIP SKILLS EASIER…
One word: Fidgeting. Exhibitors who fidget constantly are harder to capture with a clear crisp image. With this being said you start to notice showmen who can remain calm and fidget less, it is almost like your camera is drawn to these individuals.
2. REMEMBER THAT YOUR MAIN PRIORITY IS TO BE A CHAMELEON.
You do not want to be the reason the judge or even a parent cannot watch the livestock show properly. Instead try to move around and find places in the ring where you will be less likely to block the judges and spectators view of the show.
3. HAVING A ZOOM LENS IS ALMOST A MUST.
Now, even though I still cannot afford my dream lens of 70-200 MM lens that is also great in lowlight setting (perfect for show rings, might I add), my zoom “kit lens” helps do the trick for now. Zoom lens allows you to be able to capture exhibitor’s facial expressions, along with even just trying to zoom in and capture just one exhibitor instead of a group. This also helps allow you then to remain a Chameleon as stated above.
4. DO NOT JUST CAPTURE THE WINS.
What I mean is do not just capture the showmen that is constantly catching your eye, or constantly shaking the judge’s hand. Remember to capture the exhibitors that may not always be at the top of the class, but may constantly have a smile on there face, or capture the moment of a couple of friends sneaking in a few jokes after the judge has placed their animals. Try to capture light and fun moments instead of just serious faces that are ready to compete and hate to lose. Both types of moments exhibitors and families will love to cherish.
In the end, I had a great time capturing moments of the sheep exhibitors at the Marion County fair. It allowed me to remember that a couple years ago it was me out there in that ring on the other side of the lens.
To see more pictures from the Marion County Lamb Show checkout the album here.