Show Photographers and the Internet

Before my husband and I started AboveLevel.com, I have to admit, I had NO real internet experience besides emailing and web surfing.  In fact I didn’t even know what a “Blog” really was.  I had heard of the “Blogosphere” but always considered it to be something only the computer geeks and political brainiacs could use.  However, in the last 7 1/2 months, I have learned to do more on the computer than I ever thought possible and found that it wasn’t all that hard (with the help of the husband!).

To offset the cost of running AboveLevel.com, we decided to offer inexpensive advertising.  It seemed like a simple concept, and I began using different “photo software” to learn how to design various ads.   When I decided I was ready to post a Photo Ad, it occurred to me that I should check on the copyright policy of the photographer that actually took to original.  Although I assumed that it would be free since I had already purchased a hardcopy of the photo, I emailed the photography studio anyway as a courteousy.  I was a little surprised when I was told that only one electronic transmission was included in the photo price.  Since I had used the photo in a Connection Ad, I had used my one free transmission and I would have to pay to have it emailed to me.  I had wrongly assumed that because the email was free and that no materials were needed to print an actual photograph, they would allow me to use it for my blog.   I admit I was a little “miffed” as I sent in my fee because I had already bought the print.  I also thought at this time that paying a fee would be status quo for all the show photographers.

Over the next couple of months, I hadn’t really thought about this issue until one of the viewers posted about a Photographer Controvery in the Saddlebred world.  The entry and the subsequent comments discusses the rights of the official Show Photographer versus the rights of others attending the show to take photos and possibly market them.  During the blog “discussion” individuals, including me, brought up the point that they would like the show photographers to be more progressive and consumer friendly in their business practices.   With the proliferation of interent advertising, websites and computer technology, many Morgan people need and/or would like to have digital copies of their photos (see “Speaking of Photos…”).   Although not all the show photographers agree with this opinion, I do know of one that does.

I had the opportunity to talk with Terry Young, of Terry Young Photography, the other day while placing an order for some photos.  Because I also wanted to use the photos on the blog and for my future webpage, and had already used them for a Connection Ad, I asked him if I could purchase electronic transmissions for use on my blog.  He told me that since I had already purchased the photos he would be happy to send them via email at no extra cost.   I was pleasantly surprised. We had a very nice talk and after I hung up the phone, I decided I wanted to write about my experience.  I emailed Terry to make sure he didn’t mind my making our discussion public.  Terry got right back to me and gave me his official policy on Photo Use:

A customer can use it anyway they want as long as it is an image that was purchased and not taken from a proof or off my web site and that the image is not used in a harmful manner.

I have to admit that knowing that Terry is so willing to work with his customers and is taking a progressive approach toward the new age of the internet, I am more apt to purchase actual pictures from him.   I told him so, and hope that I have the opportunity in the future to do business with him.  I don’t want people to get me wrong; I think the other photographers out there are very nice people and do a great job, but I think many of them need to rethink the way they do business and take a more proactive approach to needs of the consumer.  I honestly think it will pay off in the long run. After this experience, I am going to do a little research and find other photographers with the same policy.  I will let you know what I find out.

7 Responses to Show Photographers and the Internet

  1. Bananas says:

    Was the photographers “statement of fact” printed in the show brochure when you entered the show? Did you sign a release statement when
    you entered the show? Did the show receive a commission/kick-back on horse show pictures? There have been some lame A$$$ lingo on this subject matter…When does the owner the owner of the horse, pay to enter a class and relinquish all rights to said subject??? Perhaps Judge Judy should rule on this one too!

  2. denu220 says:

    I’m glad to know Terry’s policy :)

  3. JC says:

    I also have been very impressed with Terry Young Photography. He took scores of fantastic photos in each class at Mass. Morgan. I also found his use of the class schedule on his website as a link to photos to be very easy to navigate.
    I went out of my way to purchase extra pictures because professional excellence should be recognized and supported. -JC (who is NOT the same as person as lowercase “jc”)

  4. shortiedu says:

    hey all, as a photographer I wanted to jump in here. I too am along the line that when you purchase a photo, I allow it’s use for any personal display and advertising. Which includes magazines, personal website’s, flyers and brochures. Also like this site, I allow the use of my images for web banners and display ads of your training services or horses for sale. What I don’t allow is the commercial use of my images for mass production for profit, ie; putting them on t-shirts and selling a 1000 of them for profit, mass calendar distribution, or any other mass produced product with the intent of profit.

    What I do not agree with is nickel and diming someone for everything little thing. Depending on who you get as photographer, they charge you for each web instance, file transfer to a magazine (which takes 30 secs maybe?), and some photographers charge, or have considered charging but haven’t yet, an additional fee for any magazine use.

    Due to US anti-trust laws, we cannot come together and all agree on a set of agreed protocol. But then again that’s competition. Some will make it easier for customers, some will make it incredibly hard for customers and stick them with no other choice. And the tougher thing is, with the politics just within the equine photo industry, even just within our breed, consumers really might not end up with a say

    Debbie Uecker-Keough
    http://www.photobydebbie.com

  5. Black Eye Beth says:

    Hi Debbie
    Thanks for jumping into this discussion. You were one of the photographers that I was going to get in touch with. I thought that was your policy but wasn’t 100% certain.

    I certainly agree with photographers retaining copyright in the case of retail sales. If someone else is making money on your product you should be entitled to compensation. As also with you, I don’t agree with the policy of nickle and diming customers. I know it makes me less apt to spend more money than I need to in those situations. Unfortunately there are times when a customer is “over a barrel”.

    One blog viewer commented in an earlier post that because she often didn’t want a hard copy of a picture but just wanted a save version on her computer, she wished she had the option of just purchasing an electronic version of a photo. Is that a service that you offer or have ever considered? I just wondered since it is an interesting concept and probably one I, personally, would take advantage of (there are only so many pictures one can hang of one’s horses without the family staging a “revolt”!).

    In any event, I really appreciate your commenting on this subject. Thanks again!

  6. denu220 says:

    Debbie, you rock!!! I have tons of wonderful pictures in my house you’ve taken over the years!! I’m ALWAYS happy when I find out you’re the official show photographer :)

  7. Mocha Mom says:

    People were talking about this thread at the NY Morgan last week. My power is finally back on, so now I want to add my 2 cents. I would like to see photographers offer a price for the digital file. Maybe something in the range of 10 to 25 dollars. They might sell a lot more pictures that way. Once I posses the digital file, I would be free to use it for my personal use (not to sell t-shirts or calendars) in any way that I like (ads in both print and electronic media, prints, wallpaper on my computer.)

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