Action Photographers at Horse Shows

August 3, 2014 18:53 by Jaime
This phenomenon will add to the reasons that soon we won't have photographers at horse shows.

Recently I've been made aware of the most ridiculous phenomenon in horse show photography. Many of us are already aware of the numerous reasons that the modern day horse show photographer will soon go the way of the dinosaur. But this one...this is new to me.

Taken over 100 feet away without a flash with a 4 year old camera
Taken over 100 feet away without a flash with a 4 year old camera

Here's the scenario

Show management reaches out to a photographer and offers him the chance to be the "official" photographer at a show. In the contract, the photographer must agree to shoot action shots. For many shows, this could include multiple rings. The photographer hires other photographers to come and shoot the action, while typically the main photographer with the contract will stay at the sign, and shoot "win" pictures. But the photographer with the contract has to pay the action photographers, usually including expenses such as travel and hotel as well.

And here's where it gets dirty. Those action photographers, who are costing the contracted official photographer so much extra money, are many times being forced not to shoot. An exhibitor will complain of the flash (even though covered or indoor pens are nearly impossible to shoot quality in without extra light), and show management announces to stop flash photography. If pictures are shot at all, they are poor quality and nothing special...in fact many people with decent cameras these days can do just as well. Take a look at the gray horse pictured...would you pay for a photographer's shot when you, your friend, or the guy standing next to you with his "decent" camera could do just as well?

End result?

Official photographer loses money. This phenomenon will add to the reasons that soon we won't have photographers at horse shows. The only fix I see for this is for the photographer to get a guarantee to use his flashes at the show or for show management to tell the exhibitors the flashes will stay. At the present, neither is happening with any regularity.

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