Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Fine Art Equine Photographer's Rant

I am an ARTIST. I am not a commercial photographer. When I go to a horse show or venue, I am going to photograph. I am going to photograph horses. I am going to create my art with those photographs….and yes…..I am going to try to sell them! Am I going to try to sell them to the competitors at the show? No. Not directly. I am not going to give out my business card. I am not going to poach your customers and I am not going to undercut you. In fact….my prints sell for between $120 and $400+ dollars each. So you have no worries that anyone looking to purchase a photo of their horse at the show is going to purchase one of my photographs. But if someone who was at the show, sees and likes my work at some time down the line, am I going to prevent them from purchasing my work. Heck no! I need to make a living too. I know that the same cannot be said for others who come to the shows with their professional cameras and big lenses. I have been going to these venues for over 6 years and have never been harassed about my being there. Not until I bought a professional lens. Now I stand out in the crowd. Well you know what…I have a right to do my work there too. I am not competing with you. And…I hate to say it, but if Joe Blow uncle has a really nice camera and he is taking pictures of his niece and her horse, and they no longer buy photos from the OP…..well maybe, unfortunately, being an OP is an obsolete career. And nothing I am doing is affecting that reality. Cause you are not going to be able to keep Joe Blow uncle from taking beautiful pictures of his niece. Times, they are a changing. Making rules to prevent people with big lenses from coming onto the show grounds, or race tracks, is not going to protect the job of the OP. IPhones take beautiful photos too. I know what I am talking about. My husband has been out of work since last October. He is an architect and he does not work on the computer. He still draws at a drawing board. His job is obsolete. Does it suck? Damn right it does! Can he change it by preventing people with CAD skills from applying for the jobs he wants? Come on now…Of course he can’t. So I am glad to introduce myself to you when I am on the show grounds or racetrack. I am willing to tell you what I do. But, be forewarned…I am doing my work there. And I am selling it on my website and in my gallery. Although it will probably be a year before I market my images. Am I making a profit….get real, I am an artist. Would l love to…you bet. 


  1. My suggestion is to contact the OP *before the show*. Before they are scanning the crowd for those shooters who might be violating the contract the OP might have with that show, before they are sleep deprived, battered by the weather and hungry from the long hours. A little professional courtesy would go a long way. It's not that hard to find out ahead of time.

  2. Bravo Juliet! I agree with you and I can't tell you how many times I have had PP's harass me at shows thinking I am a scab when in fact I am trying to capture works like the above images. You go girl!
    Your friend,

  3. Agree with Lynne, just connect w/ the OP and let them know your intentions so it doesn't appear you are "sneaking" or poaching. Professional courtesy is primo. I agree with you; the OP profession is becoming obsolete. I am down to 4-5 shows a year due to poachers and Uncle Bobs. An OP needs to do themselves a favor in a couple of ways. Most importantly- be the best photographer on the grounds. Be enough better than Uncle Bob and the others that mom HAS to have your work. If your photography is not good enough to be considered "work", get out of the way and let someone else in whose is. The other is to build releationships so that regardless of who else is there, your clients won't feel like looking anywhere else.
    I defense of OP's, it is important to remember that we see poachers everywhere and there is an apparent need, especially on the part of the most insecure, to "defend one's turf". I have never tried to chase anyone off, although I have thrown out stacks of cards from obvious poachers. Anytimer I have tried to approach someone at a show just to ask about their intentions, the biglensperson has wandered off or left completely. THAT is not someone with honorable intentions. For my business model, I commit a couple of thousand dollars in staffing and equipment for a weekend show. For someone to show up hoping to siphon off even a couple of hundred, well, parasites are everywhere. See above for how I combat that. If you TALK to me first, we'll have a mutual respect and understanding. And that is MY rant!

  4. Juliet - Rant was appreciated and spot on !