As I said in a Facebook post the day after the biggest WBFF UK event to date, and quite possibly their biggest ever one day event with around 300 competitors on stage, it really is a huge privilege to be in the position of the only photographer allowed to shoot backstage.
After the attacks in Paris the night before, security around the O2 was as you'd expect that little bit more in-your-face than normal.
Despite the self titled "grumpy photographer" persona I do always try and be as helpful as I can at these events, whether that's getting the tv monitors turned on in the competitors changing area upstairs, helping one of the competitors get into the venue because her name wasn't on the list, recovering a mislaid phone, telling someone they should probably be changed into their themewear by now, to randomly photo bombing photos....! It's all part of the service.
It's a tough event to shoot, with so many people, scattered around different floors of the venue and a show that lasts over 6 hours. Just like the competitors however I'm always trying to improve on the service I provide. I ended up with nearly twice as many photos as for the previous WBFF UK event, which of course means an explosion of likes and comments on social media.
I normally take more photos of the women, not just for the more obvious reasons, but because I know they are much more likely to purchase the images after the event. This was something that Paul Dillett touched on in the athletes meeting - that the women are much more likely to do a photoshoot etc than the guys. He's so right. I've shot 5 WBFF events now, and as yet not one guy has bought any of the images. I took lots more of the guys at this event, so lets see if that statistic changes at all. So far though it's looking like status quo, and I'll revert back to photographing the girls more at the next event. This isn't me being grumpy, just a casual observation.
** Update - one of the guys has just purchased two images!
The backstage team, lead by James Conci-Mitchell really are quite brilliant at making the show as slick as it always is. I've seen how big shows can go badly wrong, with one in Canada not finishing until 3am, by which time everyone was like, just give the damn prizes to someone, we really don't care any more....!
Getting on the WBFF stage (arguably the best stage in the business) doesn't come cheap, so I both respect and thank everyone who does support what I do by purchasing my photos. You allow me to keep doing what I love.
To everyone else who shares my images, while cropping out my logo and
/ or not crediting me.... Not cool. Not cool at all. May your next
spray tan come up all blotchy!
My backstage images are all available to buy at just £15 each (£10 each if you want more than 5).
Having been called a "fun and bubbly person" by one of the competitors I'm clearly going to need to work harder at being "the grumpy photographer" more next year!
On that note I shall be trying very hard to get myself to the WBFF World Championships in Toronto towards the end of August. As well as having some good friends in the city and being that much closer to England, it's a much better choice for me because you can actually be outside without self-combusting from the extreme desert heat you normally get that time of year in Las Vegas. As I specialise in shooting outside, this is very good for me, and I look forward to doing lots of shoots on the beaches in Toronto this summer.
Thank you for reading, and thank you Team WBFF UK for letting play a small part in your amazing events.
Oh, all of the competitor shots can be found over on my Facebook page.