I’ve talked about professional horse show photographers on this blog before. What makes a good one, what makes a bad one, why it’s a total a-hole move to steal their pictures, etc. I am, to my very core, a big fan of good equine photography. Not so much the pictures of a human standing next to a horse in a pretty field, wearing a flowy top or a dress or something (they are super artistic and lovely in their own right, but I would literally rather die, that is just so not me), but good ACTION shots or even the occasional show candid (because if you take a picture of me petting or smooching my horse there is like a 100% chance I will buy it bc I LOVE HIM).
Although I am a lover of great photos, my show budget is very small, and my budget for superfluous show-related things is even smaller. As much as I would love to pre-order an All Images package at every single show – and video of every phase from the show videographer, while we’re at it – it is just not in the cards. At $30ish a pop (which I think is reasonable, all things considered) for a digital image from our rated show photogs, they add up fast, so usually I have to end up narrowing it down to my absolute favorites. I am always guaranteed to buy at least a couple though.
Mostly that’s because I really love pictures. Long after the day is done and the adrenaline rush of competition is over, you can look back on the photos and remember how much freaking fun it was. To me these photos are memories, which I find to be dang near priceless. I love having nice, professional quality shots of Henry’s progression as an event horse, and I love when I come across them while looking through a photo album or when they pop up on my facebook memories. It never fails that I find myself smiling all over again. Having tons of video stills or iphone photos are important too of course, for the sake of quantity/ease/blogging, but nothing can replace those beautiful high res professional shots of The World’s Best Horse (possibly biased, but probably not).
I also feel like, especially in the age where every teenager is holding a Nikon or a Canon (and no disrespect to them AT ALL, because some of my favorite photos were given to me by that crowd, and I treasure them greatly), it’s our responsibility to keep the show photographers in business. They are a dying breed, and I for one will be extremely sad if/when the day comes that they can no longer justify staying in business. They work hard, standing there all day in the heat or the rain, taking pictures of everyone and trying hard to capture that perfect moment. Not to mention all the time uploading, sorting, and editing. I might not be able to afford to buy them all, but you can bet I’ll buy whatever I can and I will thank them profusely (perhaps borderline creepily) when I do it. And possibly apologize, if they had to endure photographing a particularly shitty ride on my part.
What do you guys typically do when it comes to show photos? Do you have a friend or spouse to take pictures for you, or do you purchase from the official photographer? If so – all of them, or just a couple? Unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t really care much about the photos or can’t justify the money, in which case you’re killing me with sadness but I get it.