Dustin Izatt Photography » Blog of Utah Wedding Photography and Photo Booth Rental

Salt Lake City Photography Decathlon 2015

So as some of you know, I participated in a photography decathlon this past weekend in Salt Lake City Utah and I have to tell you it was such an amazing experience. What is a photography decathlon you ask? Basically it’s what photographers would compete in if photography was a sport. Teams of 4 photographers are given a list of 10 different categories of photography to compete in, given specific locations and specific models that you must work with to create images within each of those categories as to keep a level playing field and you are given only two days to complete the task. Between the 4 photographers, we were only able to submit 3 images in each category for a total of 30 images.

I knew there was some fierce competition and I wasn’t sure any of my images would receive recognition but I ended up getting two images that placed third place. To view all the results from the advanced pro competition in each of the 10 different categories, click this link HERE

So to give you a rough estimate of my schedule (I say rough due to my sleep deprivation and fried memory and the fact that the whole weekend blurred together haha) last week between the shooting and editing, it went as follows for me


Thursday night 7PM photography decathlon meeting kickoff. Ended around 9PMish after which my team and I went down to Chili’s to grab some dinner and strategize our plan for the competition.

9 PMish-11 PM dinner and planning locations and who would shoot where and figuring out logistically the best times and places to be at each location and which locations we needed for each category.

11 PM-1:30 AM go to our first location to take our first set of images up above the utah state capitol


2 AM arrive home and charge batteries for the next two days of non stop photography and free up memory cards


6 AM-8:30 AM getting kids ready for school and off to school

8:30 AM-12 PM finishing up some client requests that were due for a deadline, load up photo booth for an event I had booked that night

11 AM-12 PM Drive out to meet my team at Provo Center Street for some photography and grab lunch

12 PM-2 PM Shooting

2 PM-10:30 PM drive to photo booth event, set up photo booth, wedding photo booth fun, break down

10:30 PM-11:30 PM drive to draper to meet up with team to carpool to that nights photo shoot

11:30 PM-1 AM drive to our destination up little cottonwood canyon in albion basin to hike up to secret lake


1 AM-1:15 AM get lost trying to locate the hiking trail for our location in the pitch black

1:15 AM-2:30 AM hike 1.6 miles in the dark to secret lake carrying my huge camera bag weighing at least 50 lbs in my wedding outfit from the photo booth I just completed

2:30 AM-3:45 AM arrive at secret lake and take pictures

3:45 AM-4:45 AM hike back to our car

4:45 AM-5:30 AM driving out of the canyon and back to where we left our cars in draper combined with a few bathroom stops

5:30 AM-6:00 AM drive from draper to utah state capitol for more pictures

6:00 AM-7:30 AM arrive at capitol, get filmed by the photography decathlon team, do our photos

7:30 AM-7:45 AM drive down to find parking for the comic con hero 5k race that starts at 8 AM

8:00 AM-9:00 AM photograph some pictures for one of the categories

9:00 AM receive phone call from tiffany realizing she needs the van that I have in slc which is loaded with the photo booth

9:00 AM-11:00 AM drive from slc to my house in layton to unload photo booth since tiff needs empty van to fit lots of kids in the car, then drive over to gym where she is at with the other car in Kaysville, switch keys, her car is empty to off to Maverick to fill up on gas, then straight from there I race out to my next location Guardsman Pass

11:00 AM-1:00 PM driving to and photographing Guardsman Pass

1:00 PM-1:45 PM Drive back to layton to begin downloading some of my pictures to edit and upload since all images are due by midnight on Saturday

1:45 PM-2:30 PM arrive home and drop memory cards to computer, edit a couple of my favorites while trying not to doze off

2:30 PM-3:15 PM nap time

3:15 PM wake up for my next shoot in slc which starts at 5 pm but I want to be early so I have to leave

3:15 PM-3:45 PM drive to slc

3:45 PM-4:20 PM drive all around city creek parking looking for a single parking stall along with 200 other cars thanks to comic con 😛 finally find parking and grab all my gear to take to my session

4:30 PM-5:00 PM get to the shooting spot, start setting up my equipment and then begin my shoot

5:00 PM-5:30 PM shoot with a model for the people category

5:30 PM-9:00 PM meet up with team at starbucks to start going through all of our images to narrow down and edit the final 30 that we will submit.

9:00 PM-1:30 AM starbucks closes so we head over the the photography decathlon headquarters to finish up our selections and get everything submitted for the 12 Midnight deadline. eat some pizza, then after midnight, hang around talking to the awesome Jarvie before heading back to our warm cozy beds

1:30 AM-2:00 AM drive home

2:00 AM sleep at last.


So in a nutshell, I shot over 826 images, drove over 445 miles, slept 3 hours 45 minutes from Thursday til the end of the competition Saturday night, hiked over 3.5 miles, and had the most awesome, exhausting time of my life.

I will definitely be doing the Utah decathlon again in 2016 and will definitely be making a road trip and putting a team together for the February 2016 Phoenix Arizona Photography Decathlon.

We just found out the results tonight and I had the following two images place third place in the product category and photojournalism category.

Third Place – Products

SLC Photography Decathlon 2015PIN

Third Place – Photojournalism

SLC Photography Decathlon 2015PIN

And here are some of the other images that I submitted but didn’t receive any recognition for…..

SLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PINSLC Photography Decathlon 2015PIN