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View Full Version : Spin off re: pictures/photographers. What about a levy? or up front charge of some s



Backstage
Nov. 24, 2009, 05:44 PM
I'm just curious - would any of you view a photography levy of $3-5 differently than charging to view proofs, or some sort of upfront fee/payment for photos as reasonable?

I've shot a couple of shows in the past, but did none last year. A big part of that was the inconsistent returns. I can't afford to spend 10+ hours at the show shooting + countless hours of post-processing and only make a handful of sales yet be able to casually peruse facebook for competitors' names and find COUNTLESS stolen photos, regardless of whether they are watermarked or not, or the right-click has been disabled.

I respect a competitor's right to not purchase a photo. I purchased very few when I was actively competing as I preferred investing my money in entry fees. And if I were a professional photographer, I would probably view the ups and downs as part of the 'game'. But, I take pictures because I enjoy it, but I'd rather be do something else if I'm not going to make at least some money.

I know of a few shows in my area that went without a photographer last year and wondered if you had the option whether you'd prefer no photographer or to put yourself on a list of 'to be photographed' in exchange for a small fee? Alternatively, pay a fixed price for a CD with all images of a particular horse/rider combination (to be refunded largely at my discretion i.e. if I don't capture enough images or I am not happy with the quality). I have done the later on a small scale (friends, acquaintances) and wondered whether expanding it would be a way to enjoy my hobby and make some money. If there isn't enough interest on the day of, I could pack up and have the rest of my day to enjoy (an announcement would be made, of course).

jn4jenny
Nov. 24, 2009, 05:54 PM
Let's clarify. Which of these are you proposing?

1. A photography levy in which all competitors would be assessed a fee for the photographer's presence

2. A photography levy up front, payable in advance, ONLY for competitors who expressed an interest in being photographed. If a critical mass was reached, you would photograph only those competitors. And if that critical mass was not reached, you would...give a refund? Keep the money and run?

If you really want to know what I want at an event (and would pay for), I would want something similar to what a wedding photographer offers. I want shots not only of me and my horse competing, but also candid shots of us tacking up, giving the high-five to a friend as we walk out of the arena, etc. Even my amateur photography friends who bring their DSLR's aren't always able to capture those moments--they're too busy actually watching my round, or actually high-fiving me, or shopping in the tack tent, etc. You know what my favorite picture of my horse is from an event? A shot of the vet doing his random drug test next to our trailer after I'd untacked him from dressage. Perhaps your photography levy system, which would allow you to concentrate much more intensely on just a few folks, would help you get more of those priceless candid shots.

Backstage
Nov. 24, 2009, 11:28 PM
That should teach me not to post and run, I could definitely have been clearer. Basically, I'm interested in feedback on two scenarios:

1) Levy of approx $3-5. Essentially this guarantees that I will take photographs of you throughout the day/show. Then you can purchase individual images or packages. If you don't sign up/pay the levy, then it is unlikely there will be images for you to purchase (but possible). I would imagine that to be fair, there would have to be an extra charge for those that get lucky but didn't sign up? This seems to me to be administratively cumbersome, but at least gives me an idea of who is *seriously* interested in purchasing images.

2) For a set fee, you more or less commit to purchasing a CD of all your images. There can be extenuating circumstances (i.e. no good pictures), but for the most part you will receive a CD with NUMEROUS pictures, including candids. First come, first serve basis (i.e. if a previous competitor has signed up and there is a conflict, I will let you know that I may miss phase X or Y and you can make a decision accordingly). This would allow me to have as few as 10-15 clients and I can focus on getting great shots (including candids). I can also take into account an individual's preferences.

Basically, I'm trying to come up with some workable non-traditional options. If these aren't workable options, I may just choose to not do horse shows and stick to the occasional clinic or private photo shoot. I don't do this for a living, so that is feasible. That said, I like horse shows and I know of some in my area that weren't able to find a photog in the last few years (and I've also heard competitors complain about it!).

As for situations with lack of interest, any money collected would be refunded.

Is that clearer?

Ajierene
Nov. 24, 2009, 11:43 PM
I have had people soliciting for video of cross country rounds. You pay up front, at the show. Many people come, money in hand, ready to buy the videos.

If someone were to charge me a similar fee (usually it is about $70, if I remember correctly), and I would get, say at least 10 candid shots, 10 dressage shots, 10 stadium shots, 10 cross country shots, but a total of say 50 pictures, sent to me on a CD, I would do it. GRC offers a 'digital album of all photos with a custom slide show' for $98. I picked a rider at random - 51 pictures.

To me, that is worth it because I can then print what I want to give to friends and family and have the rest FOREVER.

Lone
Nov. 24, 2009, 11:45 PM
I would be interested in something like the second option you proposed. As jn4Jenny was saying, most of my favorite pictures are the candid ones- not the ones in the show ring. Some sort of option to get more of those would be great

Nancy!
Nov. 27, 2009, 01:15 PM
I like when there is a photographer but often don't find something that I'm willing to spend the money on. I did however buy 2 CDs that had the photos of my two horses in that competition. It was great as there were MANY shots. Some great and some not so great but well worth the $50 a cd.

Nancy!

luise
Nov. 27, 2009, 02:33 PM
Sorry, but seeing as how with today's technology there is very little overhead, I would not pay a "levy" for pics. What I mean is everything is digital, so in actuality it costs nothing to take the pics and upload them. The only overhead today is time. The cost to actually print a pic? Probably about $.30-$1 at most depending on size. I could understand it if the photographer was spending lots of money on film and printing up proofs, but that is not the case.

Hilary
Nov. 27, 2009, 04:55 PM
Since for the past several years we have been able to look at proofs for free and decide after the fact whether or not the day was worthy of being immortalized on my mantlepiece I don't like either of your options for regular events. I just want to look at the proofs and buy if I had a good day.

I have on occasion signed up and paid for for a video, but only after I successfully completed all three phase. The company (Palmer, I think) shoots everyone, and you decide whether or not you wanted to relive the day. Not up front.

I don't spend a lot on photos - I buy maybe 5 per year. but I buy more now than I ever did with the old "microscopic proof in the mail" system of years ago because I am able to look at all of them and compare and there are usually some from each event I like.

findeight
Nov. 27, 2009, 05:16 PM
Back when I was a kid at the old West Coast AHSA Open circuit, the photographer (Judy Fallaw? IIRC) had you sign up if you wanted pictures-didn't cost anything to sign up. If you signed up, you got a little orange sticker to put on a stirrup or your number or someplace else inconspicuous. You could not see it unless you were looking for it.

I don't see why you couldn't do something like that. They STILL may not buy anything but, at least, you won't waste shots on those who have plenty of pics already or brought their own-as in Mom with a camera. Save a little trouble.

I would not pay a levy or sign up fee as I have taken more then my share of bad pics and don't want to be forced to buy the least sucky just because I had to pay to even get the attempt made.

The best shots I have were when I spoke directly to the photographer and said I would buy if it was good so they did take extra care.

magnolia73
Nov. 27, 2009, 09:05 PM
Sorry, but seeing as how with today's technology there is very little overhead, I would not pay a "levy" for pics. What I mean is everything is digital, so in actuality it costs nothing to take the pics and upload them. The only overhead today is time. The cost to actually print a pic? Probably about $.30-$1 at most depending on size. I could understand it if the photographer was spending lots of money on film and printing up proofs, but that is not the case.


Are you joking? Those cameras that can take those photos run well over $1000 with lenses well over $1000. My boyfriends set up is $5000 worth of camera and lenses, plus a back up set if one fails. Then you have the computers for proofs- to store all the photos my SO has multiple hard drives, a laptop with several thousand in "upgrades" and software. Then add in the hours for spending time taking the photos- a long weekend spent at the show (and no- this does make a full time living). Gas to get there. The trailer that the bigger operations set up. At events, multiple photographers being paid a day rate, plus mileage and hotel. Someone to take orders and show you proofs.

If you don't buy at the show and they do a website- uploading photos and managing sales probably takes a good 8-10 hours if the bad photos are weeded out.

Honestly- the price of technology probably equals the cost of film and processing.

Professional photography is not cheap- the guy who does photography for work charges over $2000 for a day of shooting houses.

luise
Nov. 27, 2009, 09:26 PM
Are you joking? Those cameras that can take those photos run well over $1000 with lenses well over $1000. My boyfriends set up is $5000 worth of camera and lenses, plus a back up set if one fails. Then you have the computers for proofs- to store all the photos my SO has multiple hard drives, a laptop with several thousand in "upgrades" and software. Then add in the hours for spending time taking the photos- a long weekend spent at the show (and no- this does make a full time living). Gas to get there. The trailer that the bigger operations set up. At events, multiple photographers being paid a day rate, plus mileage and hotel. Someone to take orders and show you proofs.

If you don't buy at the show and they do a website- uploading photos and managing sales probably takes a good 8-10 hours if the bad photos are weeded out.

Honestly- the price of technology probably equals the cost of film and processing.

Professional photography is not cheap- the guy who does photography for work charges over $2000 for a day of shooting houses.

No I'm not joking. Yeah, cameras and computers are pricey, but they're not buying new ones for every show. What I meant is that the photographers are not buying and processing dozens and dozens of rolls of film, which is certainly more costly than the maintenance of the cameras, computers, etc. Anyway, I still wouldn't pay $5 to have some one photograph me since I've been to many events where the pics sucked. (I've been to many where the pics were great and I've purchased them.)

Thames Pirate
Nov. 28, 2009, 08:59 AM
I would pay $3 to ensure the photographer got pics of me. It was very frustrating at the last show to have the numerous pictures of my hiney-over-teakettle tumble in the SJ on the mare--as well as several XC pics--but not a single one of the baby gelding, who was doing his first event and who jumped the jumps where the photographer was in brilliant style (not so much some of the others, but that's hardly the point, is it?). The gelding's owner lives quite far away and she would have LOVED being able to view proofs online and maybe even make a purchase. I'm one of those competitors who rarely likes photos of myself, but I WILL buy them if they're good. The problem is usually that there are only a few of me while there are TONS of every other competitor. Very aggravating.

two sticks
Nov. 28, 2009, 01:30 PM
If you know that you want pictures (and by want I mean are going to purchase, not just look at) of a certain horse, if you can find a few minutes to talk to the photographer and say I'm interested in picture of my horse, give a description of the horse and an approx. ride time or a class #, most photographers will be accommodating and try and get pictures of you and your horse, especially if they know you will be interested in these photos.



I would pay $3 to ensure the photographer got pics of me. It was very frustrating at the last show to have the numerous pictures of my hiney-over-teakettle tumble in the SJ on the mare--as well as several XC pics--but not a single one of the baby gelding, who was doing his first event and who jumped the jumps where the photographer was in brilliant style (not so much some of the others, but that's hardly the point, is it?). The gelding's owner lives quite far away and she would have LOVED being able to view proofs online and maybe even make a purchase. I'm one of those competitors who rarely likes photos of myself, but I WILL buy them if they're good. The problem is usually that there are only a few of me while there are TONS of every other competitor. Very aggravating.

Backstage
Nov. 28, 2009, 04:23 PM
I'm glad to see there are some responses, and the negative ones are as valuable as the positive ones.;) I'm not even sure how I, as a competitor, would feel about either proposal (but would prefer the second). But given that this photography thing is my hobby, I'm trying to find a way to make it work and at least cover my time.


I would be interested in something like the second option you proposed. As jn4Jenny was saying, most of my favorite pictures are the candid ones- not the ones in the show ring. Some sort of option to get more of those would be great

As a photographer, doing the candids and coming up with interesting perspectives is more interesting/fun than taking a picture of the brown table x 50 competitors, so its nice to know that competitors want the candids. To be honest, some of my favourite photos (that I've taken) are of riders and their horses as they are exiting the ring, happy with their ride.


I like when there is a photographer but often don't find something that I'm willing to spend the money on. I did however buy 2 CDs that had the photos of my two horses in that competition. It was great as there were MANY shots. Some great and some not so great but well worth the $50 a cd.

That, to me, is one of the advantages of getting all your images at a fixed price. Are you really going to spend good money on that funny picture that shows you almost falling off? Probably not, but a CD will let you have the good images and the funny/embarrassing ones.


Sorry, but seeing as how with today's technology there is very little overhead, I would not pay a "levy" for pics. What I mean is everything is digital, so in actuality it costs nothing to take the pics and upload them. The only overhead today is time. The cost to actually print a pic? Probably about $.30-$1 at most depending on size. I could understand it if the photographer was spending lots of money on film and printing up proofs, but that is not the case.

I appreciate your input. I'm leaning toward abandoning the idea of a levy...BUT it is inaccurate to suggest it costs nothing to take the pics and upload them. Equipment is expensive (see Magnolia's post, she has summarized it quite well) and TIME IS MONEY. Hosting the images is also expensive. I understand your position re: levy and I would understand if you said that you PERSONALLY simply don't see the value in purchasing a photo for $X amount but it is ridiculous to suggest that taking and uploading photos doesn't cost anything or that the only overhead is time.


Back when I was a kid at the old West Coast AHSA Open circuit, the photographer (Judy Fallaw? IIRC) had you sign up if you wanted pictures-didn't cost anything to sign up. If you signed up, you got a little orange sticker to put on a stirrup or your number or someplace else inconspicuous. You could not see it unless you were looking for it.

I don't see why you couldn't do something like that. They STILL may not buy anything but, at least, you won't waste shots on those who have plenty of pics already or brought their own-as in Mom with a camera. Save a little trouble.

I would not pay a levy or sign up fee as I have taken more then my share of bad pics and don't want to be forced to buy the least sucky just because I had to pay to even get the attempt made.

The best shots I have were when I spoke directly to the photographer and said I would buy if it was good so they did take extra care.

The levy idea is certainly tricky, and so many people would be leery that I don't think its something I will pursue, esp given the input on this thread (which is appreciated, and not unexpected!). And its true, you may not end up with any good photos at the end of the day. And that may not even be the photographers fault...the amount of photos I have taken where the timing/lighting is perfect only to have the rider do something wonky with their position or have the horse jump in poor form...well, lets just say it happens a lot. That said, photographers mess up too ;)


I suppose an additional crinkle is that I'm very reasonable (I think) but those signing up don't know that. I would never tell a rider they were obligated to pay for a CD of all images if I didn't think the rider would be happy with the images or the rider was eliminated in dressage. But if I am going to sell CDs of images, I prefer the upfront commitment. That way I can ensure more images of each combo. I'd rather photograph 15-20 riders prepared to buy a CD in all 3 phases than try and get limited pictures of 100 riders in 1 or 2 phases.

luise
Nov. 28, 2009, 06:13 PM
I know that time is money. And I have bought many pics that cost me anywhere from $10-$40 if I liked them.
Still, it is not much added expense for the photographer to shoot say an additional 20 pics of someone. I'm not ignorant as to the expenses for equipment--my husband will take pics of myself and others at my barn at events. And he has some good, pricey equipment. And when I asked him what it would mean to him to shoot a few extra people at an event, he said not much. In his case uploading the pics means hooking up his camera to the computer and walking away. And in many cases his pics are better than the professionals!
Why not just have a sign up? Some events near me do this, and it doesn't cost extra. I'm sure there are always some riders who don't want any pics of themselves, so at least the photographer wouldn't waste time shooting them. I just can't tell you how many pics I've had taken that were terrible, and I would have been really annoyed if I had paid a "levy."

LexInVA
Nov. 28, 2009, 06:22 PM
I think they should charge something but at the same time, there's gotta be a quid-pro-quo scenario. As I've seen myself from discussions with people on this very forum, some people are anal retentive about the photos they buy due to their own perceived shortcomings as riders. So much so that it can easily result in no photos being bought at all regardless of the relative quality. I've also seen that a lot of people have unrealistic expectations about what they might be able to get but that's also just a fact of life. In all honesty, I'm amazed anyone really sticks with photographing equestrian events as a business given all the trouble and drama but for a lot of them the draw just seems to be the fact that they can be around horses.

archieflies
Nov. 28, 2009, 08:54 PM
Luise, I think you're confusing "overhead" with "marginal cost."

Trixie
Nov. 28, 2009, 10:36 PM
Time is definitely not the only overhead. 20 pictures here, 20 pictures there, for each hour I'm standing outside in the dirt my back hurts and my expensive equipment is eroded due to the elements. This means I need to replace it frequently, spend a fortune on software that needs to be updated frequently (thank you very much, Adobe), pay for more memory for my machine to keep archives, etc. Mags explains it well.

Me? I'd go with either. I'd prefer the option of if there were a levy, to have some of it discounted when I actually bought prints. But I wouldn't hesitate to pay for a guarantee of photos, because at least in our local series, showing in the last few classes of the day often guarantees that fewer photographers will bother sticking around after shooting the larger classes earlier in the day... or missing my round entirely... or whatever... I'd pay to ensure someone qualified was there and shooting pictures of my horse.

I actually like the CD option - I recently went to a show where someone offered a CD of up to 150 photos for $60. Like you said, some were good, some weren't. They did, however, shoot copious amounts of them. Because of that, I was able to see some of my mistakes and also take home a few beautiful shots of the jumper I'm riding. I had no qualms about shelling out the $60.

chestnutwithchrome
Nov. 28, 2009, 11:26 PM
As a person who loves photos of her and her horse, and has bought literally hundreds of dollars worth of photos at events just this year, I have to say I love buying a CD. I feel like I get more bang for my buck, can post them on facebook and make prints for my album. I always sign up for photos when there is a list, because I know if the pics are good or unusual and interesting, there is a likelyhood I will buy them.

I actually wouldn't be too offended by a levy as well, especially if that price was discounted from any photos you buy. If you pay $5 for the right to have pics taken, and then $5 is taken off any photos you buy, I wouldn't mind at all.

Thames Pirate
Nov. 29, 2009, 01:30 AM
If you know that you want pictures (and by want I mean are going to purchase, not just look at) of a certain horse, if you can find a few minutes to talk to the photographer and say I'm interested in picture of my horse, give a description of the horse and an approx. ride time or a class #, most photographers will be accommodating and try and get pictures of you and your horse, especially if they know you will be interested in these photos.

In this particular instance it was a photographer known for quality and quantity. I also had friends--unfortunately they either missed the ride (moving from place to place) or only had crummy (blurry, distance) pics. It never occurred to me that there would be ZERO pics of the horse from the photographer when he got the rider before me and the rider after me. In hindsight I should have spoken to him, but I'm also one of those anal people who only buys photos in which I'm not a total screw up (and I'm perpetually broke and would likely only buy one), so I'm loathe to ask for that when I am unlikely to buy more than one, if any.

That's one reason I like the idea of $3 or so for a guaranteed variety of shots in all phases (including some candids whenever possible) which can be applied to the price of any purchase. It's how our local videographer does it--$5 to video your ride(s), and that is applied to the purchase. I did that once, had a blazing round, and bought the video. Had the options only been "pay up front or don't get taped" I would not have bought anything for fear of getting a nice video of the big E! I realize there is a difference between video and pics, but the principle is the same, and I wouldn't mind the $3. The question would then become is that $3 per horse or per rider? If I'm riding multiple horses and choose to buy a mix of pictures from all horses, how does that work?

meupatdoes
Nov. 29, 2009, 02:06 AM
I would pre-pay for a CD of my rounds, IF internet and advertising rights are included.

Once I buy that CD I want to be able to put those pics on a billboard in Times Square if I so choose.



Personally I think photographers would make more money if they priced all of their pictures to affordably include ad rights than if they tried to stick the three honest people on the planet who won't just use a scanner and be done with it like everyone else with a $100 (or $300, if we are talking Devon) bill for ad rights.

Those prices are why I have my own SLR and the patience to teach friends how to wield it. I don't understand why photographers seem to prefer making ZERO dollars from the honest people who won't pay the ad rights or the dishonest people who just scan the pics to making SOME dollars but what do I know.

Would I like to be able to just buy the picture instead of dealing with the hassle of trying to find someone who can hold a fully automatic camera up and depress the shutter (which sadly is more difficult that it should be)? Yes.

BUT:
Does the photographer EVER catch my rounds? No.
Not in 80% of the VHSA shows I attended, not at Monmouth, not at Middlesex..... the list goes on and on.

When s/he does, are the ad rights just CRAZY? Yes.


So, it actually is cheaper for me to buy my own SLR (that I can use at more places than just horseshows, btw, like for example for confo shots at home) and have somebody actually stand by the ring instead of missing me altogther when I have basically gone to this whole horseshow to put a mark on the horse's resume and get an eff pic for a sale ad.

So that is my feeling on horseshow photography from the customer's point of view.

enjoytheride
Nov. 29, 2009, 09:19 AM
So if you have paid for photos how long should you wait before you get them or theyare posted online for purchase? I made the leap and purchased photos on the 24th of October and I have not seen them yet.

Ajierene
Nov. 29, 2009, 05:19 PM
I am thinking about hiring a photographer for my show next summer. I am currently planning to breed my mare and will likely do two shows over the summer. One show is going to my 'destination' show of my horse's career. After she is bred, has a baby, recovers, she will not likely get back up to the level she will be at this summer.

That being said, I want to know I am getting what I want - I want all three phases, some candid shots. I want a cd of all the pictures so years from now I can just print what I want. I want copyrights (my brother tried to explain it to me, but I still don't get why the artistic industry gets rights to their work after it is completed and sold and no other industry does). I am willing to pay a certain amount for that - which will be much more than a few pictures from whoever is at the show - but it will be what I want.