Last week, I wrote about some of the struggles I faced when I shot horse shows professionally. There was a lot of great discussion in the comments, some surprised and some understanding. As with anything though, there are two sides to the story. Today I hope to talk about the competitor’s needs and frustrations with equine photography as it stands today.
Believe it or not, just owning my fancy camera setup does not mean I get good quality photographs from horse shows. Like many of you, I usually rely on the official photographer to get great shots of my horse.
Disclaimer: This feedback is compiled from twelve years of horse showing across multiple states. This is not to pick on any specific photographer!
As a competitor, I have a few over arching requests of the equine photographer.
Get shots of me and my horse. Believe me, I understand from a photographer’s standpoint that shooting a multiple ring horse show is kind of a nightmare. With costs as high as they are and profits as low as they can be, the idea of hiring a second shooter is frightening. I understand that, but as a consumer? If there is a photographer there, I expect them to take a picture of me. I have been to multiple horse shows where I would have happily paid almost anything to have a picture of a special moment, only to find out that the photographer missed me entirely. Can’t support my photographer if there are no pictures of me.
Get shots better than my friends or relatives could have taken. This may sound snarky, and I apologize if it does. It is pretty disappointing to see video of your horse jumping around really well and then all the photographs are just… off.
Make them available in a variety of formats for reasonable prices. I understand “reasonable” is super subjective here. I will gladly pay $15-$25 for a web only digital download picture, but Sally may think that’s crazy. For me, this request is granted if the photographer has an arrangement of images and prices. In this day and age I would hope every photographer would have a reasonable “web image” for sale since most people are happy sharing photos on facebook and blogs. Bonus points for a “Buy the entire CD” package, but honestly a lot of old school photographers don’t like this business model and I understand why. As a consumer, I’d love to pay a flat fee if all the photos were great but prefer individually if there is just one or two I like.
Reward me for being a loyal customer. Maybe I’m being naive here, but in my opinion if I buy multiple photos from you from multiple horse shows… I’m a loyal customer. Now I don’t expect a parade or anything like that, but maybe try to make sure you get some pictures of me riding? Or take a few extra candids and throw them in my show album so I see them? Better yet, perhaps an email coupon to a list of your customers. Little touches like that go a long way for us riders feeling like we have a fair and happy business relationship with the equine photographer.
What are some of your frustrations or lack thereof with equine photography in your neck of the woods? Do you have any requests like I have listed out here?