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'Private' Horse Show Photographer

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  • #41
    Originally posted by atilthia View Post
    Thank you so much for the advice. I will check out those sources you listed. Although I never stated I wanted to become an office show photographer, I was just hoping to take private shoots on occasion. Portraits are more what I'm aiming at. But some of these comments make photographing sound like such a terrible job! I'd rather be doing this then some office hours. I'd like to see myself a functioning professional in the future. I've been a hobbyist for years and would like to invest in my work.

    And I e-mailed the said show manager of the show several clients asked me to photograph at and they said no. So that's that.
    Atilthia - all those things I listed off are things that anyone who is a BUSINESS OWNER needs to keep track of and consider, regardless of profession really. That's great if you want your focus to be portraits. Portrait photography is still a business. Any time you go for a photo shoot even at the barn where you board, you should still be tracking all of those things.

    Make sure you have a contract in place for your portrait sessions too. You will need a signed release to post/share/use any photos you take of any portrait clients.

    And yeah, liability insurance and equipment insurance is a MUST HAVE for equine photographers. Think about your most expensive vet bill and multiply it times 100 or 1000. You could be liable if a horse is spooked or injured for any reason at one of your photo shoots. Please understand that even if your friend and their parents don't sue you, their insurance company sure will!! We tend to forget how dangerous horses can be and how easily they can hurt themselves or the people handling them -- or innocent bystanders. I hope nothing ever happens while you are photographing a horse, but you want to be covered in case it does.

    Portraits are more what I'm aiming at. But some of these comments make photographing sound like such a terrible job!
    I'm glad that this thread has opened your eyes (and maybe some other people's eyes as well) to the realities of being a photographer and working for yourself. Its still a job. Its still a business. Equine Photographers get into it because we love photography and horses. However, there are a LOT more things that go into it than just buying an entry level DSLR and starting a FB page that says you're now offering photographic services.
    www.LatkaPhoto.com

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    • #42
      oooh, Amy - ain't THAT the truth!

      Carol
      www.ayliprod.com
      Equine Photography in the Northeast

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      • #43
        Originally posted by Redline Guy View Post
        In our case, I have a trailer with viewing stations onsite at the shows. Our time to post images is minutes, not hours or days. We no longer post photos online due to the rampant image theft that was occurring.
        And this is why we rarely buy your pictures. The shows we attend where you are the OP tend to drag on forever and the last thing I want to do when we are finished is to go up to your trailer to look at photos. We are throwing the pony on the trailer and getting the hell out of Dodge. Sometimes it's hard even to remember to check out with the office, given the degree of heat stroke from which we are suffering. It's one thing at a multi-day show where you have some extra time to check out the photographer's booth but another when you're trailering in for the day.

        It is much more pleasant to be able to make decisions about which photos to purchase from the comfort (and air conditioning) of home. When you were charging people a fee for this convenience, that was definitely a deal breaker.

        And this is coming from someone who ALWAYS buys good shots of her horses or kids and never steals them.

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        • #44
          Originally posted by atilthia View Post
          Although I never stated I wanted to become an office show photographer, I was just hoping to take private shoots on occasion. Portraits are more what I'm aiming at. But some of these comments make photographing sound like such a terrible job! I'd rather be doing this then some office hours. I'd like to see myself a functioning professional in the future. I've been a hobbyist for years and would like to invest in my work.
          To be a professional photographer shooting on spec is very, very difficult. It is a completely different proposition than being a hobbyist. The hours are long, the pay is unpredictable and you have any number of people offering a version of your product for free. Once you're done with the show, there's a lot of marketing, printing, and fulfillment that must be done.

          If you think this is what you want to do, your best bet is to try to get hired by one of the established pros and work for them for a couple of months. The re-evaluate.

          Most people decide not to leave their day job.

          If you want to take portraits, don't do it at shows. Go to some barns and start taking portraits there. Start with your friends and try to build up a business where you get some referrals. That way you can build your hobby into maybe a business without stepping on the toes of the pros who paid to be at the venues.

          Many years ago I wanted to be a professional photographer. I even worked a few horse shows. It was fun . . . but exhausting. And it was hard to make enough money to live on every month.

          Now I take nice photos for our Hunt Club. I still have a decent eye and I've gotten some nice photos -- since I manage our website, I get the satisfaction of sharing my pics there and I contribute to our annual calendar. We don't have pros taking photos so other than a few other members, what we get is what I shoot. I love taking the pics, I enjoy the appreciation I get from our members, and I make my money doing something a bit more reliable.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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          • #45
            As a show organizer I have some concerns so I did a search and found this thread. If I didn't have a photographer I would welcome someone contacting me and offering their services.

            I have a show photographer for my show and several others have contacted me wanting to do the photography. I have expressed that I have a show photographer and some others have still wanted to come and take pictures "just for fun" and again I have said no. I don't think that is fair to the other photographer and how do I know that they are "just for fun" and not for resale?

            It causes too much stress for the organizer and the photographer. It has nothing to do with worrying about if someone elses photo's are better it has to do with what is fair to the show and photographer that has the rights to do the show.
            They travel and commit to the weekend not just waltz in and take some photos at a convenient time and go home. I have a feeling that some are going to come to the show and I will need to ask them to leave and I have many more important things to do.

            It can costs thousands of dollars to put on a show and the shows wishes should be respected.
            Last edited by China Doll; Apr. 7, 2013, 10:43 AM. Reason: spelling

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            • #46
              China Doll, are you planning to ask anyone you see with a camera to leave? How will you know who is there shooting to sell and who is taking photos of family and friends? If your show doesn't allow anyone but the official show photographer to take pictures, your customers may choose to go to another show next time. The official photographer gets the right to shoot in the rings and sell the photos at the show and/or online. Trying to shut down all photography is not the custom at shows, and will likely offend your customers and drive you crazy. You might want to look at the work of the various photographers who want to shoot at your shows, as your roll should be to offer the best photographer available to your customers to document the great things they did at your show. Poor quality or "meh" quality photos don't help you market your show - make sure the photographer you use can provide the best produce possible. I've been to plenty of shows with "professionals" who either shoot crap or don't bother to shoot at all, so I end up with no photos. Not a plus when I'm deciding which show to go to. I'd really be p!$$@& if my friends weren't allowed to try to get some photos for me.

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              • #47
                Kestrel- I wondered the same things..
                Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by Kestrel View Post
                  China Doll, are you planning to ask anyone you see with a camera to leave? How will you know who is there shooting to sell and who is taking photos of family and friends? If your show doesn't allow anyone but the official show photographer to take pictures, your customers may choose to go to another show next time. The official photographer gets the right to shoot in the rings and sell the photos at the show and/or online. Trying to shut down all photography is not the custom at shows, and will likely offend your customers and drive you crazy. You might want to look at the work of the various photographers who want to shoot at your shows, as your roll should be to offer the best photographer available to your customers to document the great things they did at your show. Poor quality or "meh" quality photos don't help you market your show - make sure the photographer you use can provide the best produce possible. I've been to plenty of shows with "professionals" who either shoot crap or don't bother to shoot at all, so I end up with no photos. Not a plus when I'm deciding which show to go to. I'd really be p!$$@& if my friends weren't allowed to try to get some photos for me.
                  It is pretty easy to tell who is a professional and who is taking photo's for friends. I don't recall saying anything about shutting down all photography. People at these shows would not hire someone to specifically come in and shoot their horse. This is a show where every one knows every one so I will know who doesn't belong there and who has special camera equipment VS. just a nice camera taking your own pictures.
                  I did look at the photography of several professionals and took that into consideration when choosing one.

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                  • #49
                    You all need to look at that little green box

                    lower left corner of your screen. Read it.

                    You can't please everyone.

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                    • #50
                      Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                      lower left corner of your screen. Read it.

                      You can't please everyone.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        I would love to hire a professional photographer to come to a horse show with me! I don't even remember the last time I purchased a horse show photographer's photo, most of the photographers at the AA shows I attend (with the exception of one) shoot a bunch of crap shots, either horse leaving the ground too early or shoot too late when the horse is starting to unfold. No wonder some of them don't make any money, no one really wants to purchase a bad shot for $45. The best thing to do is to find a friend with a great camera and get them to take some shots of you over fences, at least it is free!

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                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Alternative1 View Post
                          I would love to hire a professional photographer to come to a horse show with me! I don't even remember the last time I purchased a horse show photographer's photo, most of the photographers at the AA shows I attend (with the exception of one) shoot a bunch of crap shots, either horse leaving the ground too early or shoot too late when the horse is starting to unfold. No wonder some of them don't make any money, no one really wants to purchase a bad shot for $45. The best thing to do is to find a friend with a great camera and get them to take some shots of you over fences, at least it is free!
                          Ok, that is what I thought when I read the article on the COTH regarding horse show photographers. Not one good picture from Devon in the years I have shown. Thank gosh I have friends with awesome cameras.
                          Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                          • #53
                            Originally posted by alto View Post
                            Glad I am not the only one confused.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              I will agree with the posters above who say that even professional photos at horse shows are now not even, "meh" quality. At the last show I went to (attended by a very well-known professional photographer) the photos were very expensive ($60 for a print, for a photo on a CD think $100+) and were terrible. My friend got better ones with a point-and-shoot.

                              Also, I would love to have the option of having a private photographer come to a show and do some portraits/win photos. Some of the show parks we go to have lovely landscaping on the grounds, and I would enjoy having a well-done portrait of my horse against a pretty backdrop. When I asked the show photographer about this once, I was looked at like I grew two heads (even though it was a sure sale for them- well-worth the time!!).

                              I want to feel bad for the struggling photographers, I really do, but seriously?! In my area they need to up their game before they complain. At every show I go to the photo trailer looking for a half-way decent photo of my horse, and every time come away with nada. Then a friend posts absolute stunners on Dropbox, so it's not like my mare is extremely un-photogenic or something .

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by bluebuckets View Post
                                I will agree with the posters above who say that even professional photos at horse shows are now not even, "meh" quality. At the last show I went to (attended by a very well-known professional photographer) the photos were very expensive ($60 for a print, for a photo on a CD think $100+) and were terrible. My friend got better ones with a point-and-shoot.
                                [...]
                                I want to feel bad for the struggling photographers, I really do, but seriously?! In my area they need to up their game before they complain. At every show I go to the photo trailer looking for a half-way decent photo of my horse, and every time come away with nada. Then a friend posts absolute stunners on Dropbox, so it's not like my mare is extremely un-photogenic or something .
                                Oh gosh, yes. Completely agree. I do like to buy photographs from shows and events and always use the official photographer. But.
                                Last year I took my youngster to the BEF Futurity and was excited to see the VERY EXPENSIVE photos online, as I fully planned to buy the whole lot of them on the CD as the day was a big deal for me.
                                I ended up not buying a single one to remember the day as they were dreadful. Really really awful. I looked through the other horses photos too to see if my horse was really that unphotogenic and they were all dire.
                                I'm talking bad timing, bad angles, and missing bits of the horse out of the frame. Obviously lots of investment in equipment and everything but that didn't give the man an eye for photographing animals...I wished I'd taken my own photographer.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Perhaps read through this article to see some of the reasons that many of the best show photographers are giving up the business:

                                  http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...-facing-crisis

                                  The article was written in 2011, but it is even more relevant today.

                                  Edited to add: BTW, for those of you who complain about "butt shots": the reason h/j photogs take a photo or two of your back is so that they can see your number.... but I'm sure you knew that. (I'm not saying that you need a dozen photos from behind though!)
                                  Last edited by tm; Apr. 9, 2013, 12:47 PM.
                                  www.TerriMiller.com
                                  Photos & Commissioned Paintings

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