This fall's Black Hills Photo Shootout attracted 152 participants and raised $3,000 for the Black Hills State University photography program.
The fourth annual Black Hills Photo Shootout, an event which attracts professional and novice photographers from all over the world, brought in $3,000 from this year’s Shootout held last month at Black Hills State University.  The funds raised will be distributed between the BHSU photography program and the Outdoor Photo Workshops, the two entities who organize the popular photography event.

This is the second year that BHSU and the Outdoor Photo Workshops have partnered in organizing and putting on the event. The state Department of Tourism started the photo shootout as a way to showcase the beauty of the Black Hills.

The idea was always to put money back into the University’s photography program once the weekend-long event began to make a profit, according to Steve Babbitt, BHSU professor of photography.

The Photo Shootout is also a great way to showcase the BHSU photography program as well as the entire campus, Babbitt said.

“There are a lot of things in Spearfish that people don’t realize we have. The idea is to get people here to photograph all our beautiful things,” Babbitt said.

Much of the Photo Shootout’s success came from Dr. Rod Custer, BHSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, who supported BHSU’s partnership with Outdoor Photo Workshops and remained enthusiastic about the project, Babbitt said.

According to Belle Fourche resident Les Voorhis, co-owner of Outdoor Photo Workshops, this year’s event attracted 152 participants, with people from 27 different states and two different countries.

“There was a Canadian that came merely for this workshop, and someone from Russia who puts this outdoor workshop on his travel plans while he travels the United States,” Voorhis said. “People love this Photo Shootout. We had a 45-50 percent re-attendance rate. Spearfish is a gem for nature photography.”

The Photo Shootout also provides a mentor program where high school students that are interested in photography are matched with a BHSU photography major who helps make sure the high school student gets the most of their experience, Babbitt said.

Both Babbitt and Voorhis hope to continue expanding the annual event. They plan on holding some activities in Rapid City next fall so photographers have a chance to capture other beautiful areas of the Black Hills including the Wild Horse Sanctuary and the Needles Highway.  

For more information on the Black Hills Photo Shootout go to thephotoshootout.com