Why you will soon see NO dedicated and competent Official Photographers at your horse events:
Where do I begin.
Yes, I love being the Official Photographer at horse events. It’s a lot harder than you think. I get there for the first rider, I leave after the last rider. I don’t sit down, I eat ringside between dressage test or whilst walking. I run to the loo and back at full pace (if I HAVE to) to make sure I don’t miss anyone. If you’re a “tricky” combination I may take 100+ shots during your 5 minute test to get those 3 great ones, I will work my butt off to make sure I get them, whether you’ll look them up or not.
I have no way of knowing who are the 10% of riders who will actually place an order at any event – that’s a little frustrating and inefficient let me tell you! And yes, I said 10%.
Horse events are on weekends, so when I’m “the official” I’m not having fun with my children, or making the most of weekend family time – but that’s ok, that’s when mum works. And when I get home my husband will cook dinner etc as I will be straight on to the computer. I like to be fast so I after shooting for 7hrs, bedtime will be about 2am, but I wont get through all 4000 shots by then. I’ll get up early to complete the upload to the website.
Throughout the week some orders will come through (I LOVE you people!!!!), I will see plenty of stolen pics come up on my facebook stream – not my friends, but friends of friends…facebook is good like that…I often wonder if these people steal from shops too…probably.
I am fine with all of this (except for that last part about stealing, that is NOT cool),…I like my job, I LOVE getting a great shot of you and your pony even though we’ve never met.
Here’s the bit I’m NOT COOL WITH:
The Shadow Shooter Newbie.
The Shadow Shooter has decided to try their hand at event photography, looks easy (that’s fine, that’s great!!). So here is how they kill this industry, the “official” and themselves all in one go:
They set up a facebook page (also great J),…take some photos of friends, and spread their hobby abound (cool),..then they promo what event they are going to on the weekend “tell your friends, send me your rider numbers,..I’ll try to get everyone”.
The official arrives early, thousands of dollars of equipment, years of obsessive practice and refinement, hopes their family is having fun without them. The Shadow Shooter turns up when she’s good and ready, often stands directly opposite the “official” ruining the nice background. She snaps away taking average shots with average gear for most of the day, except when she’s having lunch, chatting, hangin’ out. Bangs her photos up on her facebook page that night (no need for much editing..), maybe a watermark but maybe not.
Promos herself on Vichorse “Check out my pics from….!!!”, tags everyone she knows in the shots (that’s fine, you should take shots of your FRIENDS…) and the facebook grapevine ensures the word is spread to most of the riders.
She prints her photos at Kmart/Officeworks (like big bubble jet printers, & the reason the colour will always be ‘off’ and the photo will eventually fade off the paper) so charges next to nothing – but hey, this is still just a hobby and whilst building the “brand” lets keep it super cheap! She’s also happy to just email you the shot for nothing,…(at the moment),…she’s so thrilled that you like it.
Meanwhile you (the rider) checked out the “Official” shots, they’re GREAT, you love them, you plan to buy one,…maybe a 5x7 for $16….but you never bother because you got those 8 shots for $2 from Shadow Shooter and they’re not great – she chopped off your helmet on one and his hooves in the other, but they’ll do!!
Next month, the “official” has seen shadow shooters freebie photos everywhere,…again. A couple of clubs call to book her services, she declines, deciding to hang with her family instead and do a couple of private shoots. Shadow shooter has decided to finally have a good crack at this job, buys the lens she really needs (lets say $1700), the 4 extra memory cards she needs now that she learned to shoot RAW (they’re $90ea), and she puts her prices where they have to be to print her photos properly and actually make enough to pay for her petrol, lunch and $10ph rate… She pays to finally get proper software to edit her shots and a half ok website so people can buy them,…she gets up early,..gets sunburnt,..rained on,..runs from ring to ring,….and then who turns up but a new Freebie-Photo-Shadow-Shooter who makes her day, expense, & effort a total waste of time…... Do you see what I mean? KJ