Little Downham Horse Trials is to run a new system of photography this year, aiming to “make it work for everyone”.
For all three of its British Eventing (BE) competitions this season (3-5 June, 23-24 July and 1-3 October) the venue is inviting a number of “non-official photographers”, rather than one official partner.
Organisers hope this will offer competitors a wider choice of pictures, while supporting the photographers.
Sarah Skillin, of Little Downham, Cambs, explained: “I do the sponsorship and PR for Little Downham but also run the #twittereventing Facebook group.
“Something that kept coming up, for loads of events, was people asking who the unofficial photographers were. They just weren’t happy with the official photographer.
“You generally get one or two official showjumping pictures and one cross-country, whereas other companies there might have two to three photographers out, which ours didn’t.
“I work closely with a couple of photographers for my own website and they said, ‘why don’t you just not have an official one?’ I thought, ‘why not give it a go’?”
The event is inviting applications from photographers, who will pay a set fee, and then be able to sell their pictures, whereas previously all but the official individual were not allowed to sell their work, or not for a set time.
“Let’s give different media outlets and freelancers the option to sell their photos,” said Miss Skillin.
“We thought this would make it more attractive to some web publications to cover us, which will support sponsorship more and give competitors the choice they want.
“We’ll advertise and market them, and there will be competition between the photographers so the quality should go up.”
Miss Skillin said other venues have noted the change in policy with interest.
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“Other events have said they’re keen to see how it goes so we’re being a bit of a guinea pig,” she said.
“There will be six to 10 photographer across three days actively selling and promoting pictures, as well as magazine photographers doing it for editorial.
“I had some very unpleasant comments online at first but also a lot of support.
“It’s a big difference but we want to make it work for everyone – us, the photographers and the competitors.”
Applications are invited from photographers who meet certain criteria and standards.
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