There’s a lot more that goes into rodeo photography than one would imagine. I sat down with Ric Andersen to see what it takes to be a seasoned rodeo photographer.
Ric Andersen is known as a veteran rodeo photographer in the industry. He knows exactly how to set up so he gets the best shots of not only the human athletes but the animals ones as well. In addition, he knows the importance of taking photos that make up the bigger picture of a rodeo rather than just a moment in time. The team here at Cowboy Lifestyle Network has been working with Ric for years as he’s provided us with several photos to use for features throughout the years. This feature has been a long time coming and I’m excited to share it with you.
Q: Can you give our audience a little background on yourself and you got into photography?
A: It all started when I was a young boy playing with my grandfather’s cameras. I distinctly remember breaking one of his favorite cameras and he decided to buy me a camera to have for my very own. My grandfather took the time to teach me how to use the camera so we could capture wildlife photography together. He passed a few years later and I will never forget that gift he gave me.
Q: Has your style of photography changed at all since you started your business? If so, how would you describe your style then compared to now?
A: When I first started in 1998, I was a solo photographer working professional events. Now, I’m the co-owner of Andersen CbarC Photography with my beautiful lady Val Ford. Val and I have created one of the top event photography companies across the nation. Together we are honored to be working with some of the most sought-after competitions and finals in the country. Our brand Andersen CbarC has many photographers and booth professionals that we would like to thank as they are the biggest part of our success.
Q: What inspires you as a photographer?
A: There are a few things that inspire me! What probably stands out the most is, customers taking time out of their day to come up to our booth, thanking us for being there and telling us that they absolutely love their photos. It’s such a great feeling of achievement and it inspires me to be more creative, always pushing the envelope in our photography business.
Q: You’ve been in the rodeo industry for quite some time, do you think the style of rodeo photography has changed over the years? If so, how.
A: It has most definitely changed. I started with negatives in a darkroom mixing chemicals and a tabletop processor producing contact-proof sheets and print orders out of an old RV. Today’s life of a photographer is a digital world with mirrorless cameras, dry labs, and computers. To be the best at your game you must stay ahead of trends and always take time to study new equipment that may streamline your business for the better. Technology will always change and you must change with it.
Q: What’s your favorite rodeo event to shoot and why?
A: Not a fair question! I like to be innovative and try new things when possible at all events. I try to inspire this with our photography team. Our team of photographers is always looking at new angles at our events. BFI 2023 this year was a huge success for Andersen CbarC. Val came up with a few new shooting positions at the Lazy E Arena and it looked fantastic on camera. Not every arena gives you unique opportunities but we were blessed at this show. The content was well received by many media outlets as well as the producer.
Q: What is something you wish people knew about being a professional rodeo photographer?
A: You’re killing me on these tough questions. One thing I always advise upcoming photographers is to take a course on business. I’ve seen so many talented photographers who didn’t make it in the business because they didn’t understand the whole business aspect of becoming a long-term professional photographer. Taking great images is a small part, a business education is the largest part of success.
Ric’s Closing Thoughts
There are only a few men and women who get to live out their dreams. My dream was to be a successful sports photographer and I found my passion in rodeo. I had many ups and downs when I started this adventure in 1998 becoming a PRCA Photographer. I would most certainly do it all over again if I could. But truly, the one thing I take away from this dream of a career is all the people I became friends with over the years. The lifetime friendships and memories of the times we shared make my life complete and whole. Thank you rodeo for the lifestyle and the many friendships along the way, Ric Andersen.
All photos by and provided by Ric Andersen. You can learn more about his work at https://www.cbarcphotography.com/
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