Ok, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but I’m going to get my rant on today. It’s not something I do very often, but I feel that this is really important!

Here’s my question, to those of you who compete with your horses…
Is having a professional photographer, capturing those special moments, something you’d consider a basic requirement of any well run event? I’d probably say so.

If your answer was yes, then please, please, please, please (x infinity) stop stealing images from these hard working, event photographers.

 

I didn’t attend Horse of the Year Show, back in October, for the first time in years. But a couple of days after the event, I could tell that the HOYS photographer had just put the photographs online. No doubt they’d worked long and hard to get thousands of photos edited, curated and onto their website, for the competitors’ viewing pleasure, so quickly.

And the reason I knew they’d gone online, without having to look, is because my Facebook feed was FULL of stolen images. The ones with the big copyright symbol smack-bang in the middle!

And it makes me so sad!! Actually, it embarrasses me. Because it’s so freakin’ tacky!

Because it’ll be the competitors who are gutted when there are no photographers at any of the big shows next year and nobody, other than your friend with their camera-phone, catches you winning that prestigious class or your youngster at his first show.

Honestly, how sad will that be?!

 

And I’m sure some of you are going to come back with a comment about how event photographers charge too much, etc. etc. etc. and of course, I’m going to defend them, because I’m a photographer, right?

But seriously. Are you aware of what goes into getting images of you at a show?

They don’t just turn up with a sub-par point and shoot camera and print the pics off of a £30 inkjet printer, like the one you have at home.

Firstly, if it’s a substantial size show, it’s likely that they’re paying an initial fee to be there. Then there’s the camera, the specialised dye-sub printer, the printing media, whatever mobile studio they’re working out of, the food, drink and accommodation for the whole team, travel expenses, the time of each and every single photographer or member of staff, the time it takes when they get home, to get thousands of photos processed and uploaded to their website… Just off the top of my head.

And that’s not even taking into consideration the time and learning that it’s taken for those photographers to know how to use their camera well enough to get a decent image of you, because yes, that’s a skill, and yes, that’s valuable.

 

My job is entirely different to event photography. I used to photograph events, but I gave it up to focus on what I do currently. I work with private, commissioned clients, so I’m lucky that I don’t tend to have this problem. This also means that I have no ulterior motive for writing this post. I just find it so disappointing when my news feed is full of ripped off images. And I feel so sorry for these hard working event photographers, who stand in the middle of the ring, all day long, in the boiling heat or the pouring rain, to get photographs of you and your horse.

And another thing, that I don’t think people realise… Even if you’ve purchased the print, it’s still not ok to steal the watermarked image from the photographers website. Most photographers offer a digital download. If you want to put the image online, buy that! And if you don’t want to fork out for that, then I’m sorry, but you can’t put the photo on Facebook!

 

I’m not trying to preach, here. Really I’m not. I just genuinely don’t think people realise how much goes into event photography. These guys are trying to make a living. They have bills to pay, families to feed… and what the hell is the point, if they just can’t stop people from stealing their product? We should be supporting these guys, not stealing from them!

We should have some respect and we should value their efforts and their place in this industry.

The advances in social media have been monumental in recent years, when it comes to helping small businesses promote themselves for very little or no cost. But it’s also becoming monumental in the demise of the event photography industry. And if it doesn’t change, I’m telling you now… There. Won’t. Be. Any. Event. Photographers!

 

So next time you go to press that screen-shot button, please, please, think twice!

If it’s worth having, it’s worth paying for.

Specialist equine portrait photographer, blogger & vlogger. Essex based, travelling throughout the UK.