Dog Show Photography Is Regional and Professional!
Not all dog shows do the same thing when it comes to photographers...and a lot of that is regional...find out more below! Announcements at the end of the blog. We are getting ready for our busy season and will be seeing you at shows soon! Please feel free to give us questions for the blog at shows, but due to time constraints please write them down, we are literally answering everything asked in this format BECAUSE it gives us time to do so without being rude! Email and Facebook are always a great way to get in touch!
Why do some shows have multiple photographers listed and what does this mean for an exhibitor?
It depends on the area. The west coast is it's own entity. I have no idea why they work the way they do. Nor do I know how the photographers actually make a living. Many probably have more than one job or photograph more than one type of event.
If you notice a couple different photographers listed in areas other than the west coast. Then, more than likely, the show giving club feels it needs to have more than one company to be adequately covered; or their photographer is "sharing the load" by inviting others in, as they do not have the personnel available to cover the entire event themselves.
The arrangements made and why there are multiple listed will create different experiences for the exhibitor. It should mean more options for the exhibitor and better coverage for the club. I have only ever been to two shows with multiple photographers both as an exhibitor, and both were confusing, but that probably has more to do with me than them, others who had been there before, seemed used to it. My recommendation is to talk to other exhibitors in your area or even the photographers themselves to find out more.
Personally, I will not take a show I cannot service fully. I will hire or contract any needed photographers and all the equipment needed to work it (computers and desk personnel, tables, extra cameras, etc.). I believe that working with multiple companies creates delays in the exhibitor finding their image and makes it more difficult to find who took the image for you if there is an issue. Life is already chaotic enough without adding to it! 😃 That is just me, and multiple companies seems to work well for the clubs using them, and apparently the photographers doing it or, they would not continue!
Are there differences in how photographers are contracted around the country?
We all used to be the same, as to what we did, how we serviced a club, and what we provided, the differences being only in what we charged and what we provided to the exhibitor, some of us did two 8 x 10s automatically with others doing just one. What we did for the clubs was pretty standard.
This has changed over the years, about 30 yrs ago a photographer started giving a discount to "club members" the day of the show (you would be amazed at how many people suddenly belonged to every club). Then, about 20 years ago, a different photographer started actually paying clubs to work their shows. Some he just paid the show chair "under the table"others he paid the club itself. This led to clubs trying to get us to bid for the shows. FYI, there is limited money in any given show, especially since we pay our own expenses, and that of our help. So, adding the expense of $300-$500 or more for "privilege" to work the show itself? That just adds to the cost and makes some show unworkable. This still goes on today to a lesser extent as some photographers have begun donating to the trophy fund rather than paying for a show outright. The theory was the photographer would make it back in sales. This might have been true at one time. Now? Not so much. Consider that you get what you pay for, if you are getting paid you are probably not getting much. I do not pay to work unless I am a vendor at the show and I am only a vendor at the show when I do candids and not win photos. A vendor can take time off on their schedule not the shows, a win photographer does not have this luxury.
As to how we are contacted and thus contracted? That is pretty much the same across the country, the show chair contacts the photographer, and if they are available, takes the info to the club, or board. Although here too things are changing. When I started doing dog show photography in the 1980s it was considered "bad form" to solicit a club (contact them instead of them contacting us). Professional anything did not advertise, did not solicit, did not ask or "beg" for work. This was true of photographers, doctors, lawyers, etc. As I said, the world is changing, and there are now "photographers" out there that actually do solicit a strange thing for me and one I have a hard time adjusting to. After over 34 yrs, I still find it very hard to "ask" or solicit a show. Actually, I still have not done so outside of contacting vendor chairs for my weekends off to work candids. Contacting a show chair directly to say "Hey, I am available on your weekend, hire me" seems off, even if that show chair is a friend.
Speaking of Candids and Win Photos Winter Break is over (thank goodness) and work begins! This weekend I am doing something new (for me) and heading out to photograph Continental Whippet Alliance Racing for the ORCA in Vinita, Oklahoma if you see me there wave...I will be photographing every run and offering discounts if you purchase AT the event! Entries close Wednesday. You can find more information here. Update: This event has been cancelled due to weather. We will see you in May at the next scheduled CWA run!
Next weekend is the Heart of America Cluster and I will be doing win photos there for the whole weekend, we have some candid availability as well, contact me via email or on Facebook for more information or to book your spot. HOA is an Onofrio show and you can find more information including the judging schedule on their website.
Have questions? Ask them! Follow us on Facebook for more information. Interested in having us photograph your show? Contact us at either location! We have updated our website! See our calendar to know where we will be next!