I’m a big proponent of the “pics or it didn’t happen” philosophy. Even before the age of digital media I LOVED getting those little proofs in the mail and deciding which ones to get, filling out the order form, and then waiting a few months for the photos to arrive. Now that everything is digital (and so much easier – praise) and social media is so huge, pictures are even more important. I love having the memories and I love looking at other people’s pictures on social media. Not to mention that it’s pretty hard to be a blogger if you don’t have pictures. Boring.
These days, it seems like just about everyone has a fancy digital camera. Except for me, of course, because I’m not a very good photographer and don’t have the patience for it. Maybe that’s why I value good pictures so much? But I like that so many people are into it now, because the more people there are taking pictures of my horses, the happier I am.
To be clear, I will support the official photographer of a show every single time, 110%. If there’s someone on site taking pictures, standing out there all day, organizing and editing all that crap, you can bet I’ll buy at least one or two, guaranteed. Or literally all of them, like I did for both weeks of Chatt. #noregrets
But I always see other people, non-professionals usually, out there taking pictures too. Whether they’re just having fun with their camera, or practicing, or waiting for their wife/daughter/whatever to go by, there are cameras everywhere at shows. Sometimes the people shooting pics are teenagers that I know, and can seek out on Instagram. Sometimes it’s a show dad with nice equipment and a great eye (shoutout to Dusty!). Other times I have no idea who they are, and may or may not ever find out.
I’ve gotten several pictures from such photographers just because they happened to post a picture of me and someone who knew me happened to tag me in it (for real, how do y’all find these people? Tell me your secrets!). If it’s a good picture, I’ll buy that one too. No joke, I will buy every single picture that anyone takes of me, if it’s a good picture. I do not discriminate.
Granted, I know that this isn’t true of everyone, and this is why official photographers are generally none too pleased to have other people snapping pictures nearby. It’s a sticky situation, and I see both sides of things. Anything that threatens their livelihood is ultimately bad for anyone who doesn’t have their own personal paparazzi following them around. But the more pictures I have, the happier I am. Especially if the official photographers didn’t make the best choices about which jumps to stand by, or didn’t have the staff to cover very much of the course.
I’m always kind of torn on this, because on one hand I feel a duty to support and protect the official photographers, a dying breed. On the other hand, I want more pictures. Always more pictures. Sometimes they’re actually better pictures, too. I can’t help but feel kinda guilty about it though, despite the fact that I’m still giving money to the official photographers.
How do you guys feel about this? Will you buy All The Pictures, or do you limit yourself to just one or two? What are your feelings on unofficial photographers at events?