In 2017 my wife Jessica came home and proclaimed she was going to start running 5Ks, something that she had never done before. Her first race was in December and was the Holiday Hustle in Dexter, Michigan. As fate would have it, the racecourse went through my studio’s parking lot.
Not knowing anything about races but being a bored husband who would see her run by for a few seconds as part of an hour-long race, I grabbed my camera, a lawn chair and sat in my parking lot snapping photos of the runners as they passed.
Fast forward two years. Tens of thousands of race photos later and Robert Bowden Photography was a proud supporter and partner of RF Events. RF Events puts on some of the best races from 1Ks to half marathons in Michigan.
Race photography is hard. It is really really hard! Even with the top equipment on the market, it is a physically demanding job, the weather is a major factor, from freezing cold in 6 inches of snow to a flood and rain so hard it broke a camera.
The real work starts after I get home from a race. A typical race will have around 3,000 runners. This results in over 10,000 images being taken in a one-hour time span. My goal is to capture every runner, which is physically impossible due to a wide course with multiple runners passing me at the same time.
The 10,000 images are first reviewed to select the best image or two of each person, then processed in Lightroom to ensure the color pops and the image is bright. Then the hard part starts, I hand tag every bib number. Bib tagging was the number one request I received after my first year photographing races, but wow, does it take a lot of time. On an average race, I would spend 5x the race length just to tag the photos.
With the changing market, a wife who wants me home more and new projects coming up. I am scaling back my race photography. It is with mixed emotions since I have become friends with the staff and I see the joy that the images bring people. I, however, refuse to compromise the quality of my products. Yes, I could upload every image I took that day, but there are many that are not flattering that if someone posted of my wife I would be upset.
To all of my loyal customers over the past 3 years, thank you. To my new customers welcome. I look forward to being able to fill your photography needs in other areas including weddings, business portraits, high school senior portraits and more.
As a thank you to everyone who gives it your all every race:
Use RACE2020 to take 20% off all race photography digital downloads and print orders until 1 April 2020