Despite the fact that I have the best horse show husband who snaps literally hundreds of photos of me at every single show just so I can find ten I like (true story) I really want to support the good show photographers. They’re a dying breed and the good ones are worth every penny, even at the beginning levels.
Because here’s the thing, Eric is a good photographer but he’s an amateur. The actual show photographers have better equipment, better training, and they are allowed to go anywhere which means they often just have better access to a good shot. And you better believe I will pay for that.
The most recent schooling show at Poplar had a show photographer which doesn’t always happen at schooling shows. I was excited to see what she had gotten! Dressage was just your basics and I already had fabulous shots from Eric so I skipped them and unfortunately in stadium, Gus still looks a bit like a flying unicorn so no go there either. However, there was a great picture from XC! Not only did she have a great angle, Gus was actually jumping cute. I immediately bought a small digital copy for personal use for $25.
I thought that was reasonable and made sure I read over her use fee just so I knew what I could or couldn’t do with the photo but I honestly didn’t look too closely at the size of the photo. I don’t understand those things anyway, Eric just gives me photos and I put them on my blog/Facebook/Instagram and they look fabulous or not depending on how hard Gus and I are derping in a particular shot.
Plus, I’ve bought personal use photos from photographers before. In fact, here’s the one I bought of Dandy’s first run around Rebecca Farms.
It’s a wonderful photo. More artsy than I usually purchase but truthfully Dandy wasn’t really respecting the other novice fences that were photographed and this one was fun. I was pretty sure this photo had cost me the same amount until I actually looked it up for this post and found that it actually only cost me $15. Now to be fair, Shannon Brinkman is a very well known photographer around the big events and she probably gets a lot of orders and is able to price her stuff accordingly but gosh, this is a real deal! And the quality for personal media use is wonderful. I will definitely be willing to support Shannon in the future. I’m half tempted to go buy more photos of Dandy’s Rebecca Farms excursions.
The $25 small digital copy I purchased of Gus? Well, I should have listened when she said small. I’m not expecting to be able to blow it up and print 8x10s with it, I didn’t even want to do that. I just wanted to post that photo here and say “Look how amazing my boy is!” But I was shocked. I can’t even put it on Instagram with how blurry it is. Well I could but I don’t want to put low quality photos on my account.
And this is my problem with show photography. I understand you have to pay the bills. I understand that equipment is expensive and that you are shooting all day under a hot sun with no guarantee that you’re going to make any money at all. But when this is what I get for a $25 digital personal use photo? Well, it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.
With prices like this, it’s no wonder that show photographers are a dying breed. Even people like me who are willing to support the good ones eventually get tired of feeling like we’re being cheated. As much as I want these special moment to be captured and as much as I love having the memories, I have no incentive to purchase. Actually, because of Eric I have less incentive than most people so why are show photographers making it even less enticing for people like me to purchase? I’m the kind of person you want to get on to your website because I’m a blog writing adult amateur who loves showing off. I will purchase all the photos if they’re good! Especially now that I have a good job and the money to do so.
I honestly don’t know what the answer is to the problems with show photography. And I’m not surprised that I see an official photographer at my shows less and less these days. As an adult amateur, even one with a good job and money to spend on show photos, I still need to be careful where I spend my money so I guess I just keep supporting the good photographers and stay away from those I’m not happy with. Money talks. But I do wish there was a way for us all to be satisfied with the experience.