Professional Photos?

Having been a part of the competitive horse world for a while and more recently entering the world of dog agility and obedience, there is usually a professional photographer around the rings taking photos.

These guys are professionals – much more than ‘my friend with an SLR or the latest iPhone’. The professionals have invested thousands of pounds into their equipment, spent years learning their profession and fine tuning their skills to ensure the moments they capture are ones we want to treasure forever.

I have had the pleasure of speaking to Sean from Sean Cameron Photographic and Dean from Gemsdale Photography whilst they were ringside at some recent agility shows and clarified some information which you may or may not know!

Firstly I think it is so important to remember that people like Sean and Dean rely on the income of their photos to pay their mortgages and bills. No sales means no income which could have a huge impact on their lives. So when they spend the time and use their skills to take photos and then see these images being used either with watermarks or in some cases with watermarks (poorly) edited out it is no wonder they get a bit cross! After all you wouldn’t go to the supermarket and just take something – that’s stealing….. It’s the same with photographs.


Sean told me he once had someone copy 27 watermarked images from a show without even mentioning him – to this day that person still hasn’t bought any images from him.

The above images were taken by Gemsdale Photography – it is made 100% clear that the images are copyrighted and permission isn’t given to ‘copy’ them.

Buying a print on the day (some shows have photographers with the facility to print images on the day) does not give you the right to scan or make a copy of that image to share across Facebook or the web. The quality of the reproduced image won’t be as clear or as good quality as the original digital image  – this could make viewers of the image think the photographer isn’t really that great at their job and mark their reputation. You are much better off purchasing the digital image, printing off at home and IF the license permits share away to your hearts content online!

(Images from Sean Cameron Photographic)

What is a license? These are the terms that you buy the image with.

Gemsdale and SCP provide you with a personal license with each sale of a digital print. This means non-commercial use for personal websites, making prints or video copies for personal use. Basically you cannot use it in a way that results in a financial gain for yourself.

The legal owner will ALWAYS be the photographer – you are buying the use of the image not the copyright of the image itself. This may not be the case if the image is sold to an agency for commercial use, but then it will be sold for hundreds of pounds instead of the reasonable price you paid!

So why pay the professionals? They are skilled at their jobs and know where to get the best shots. They also spend days editing their images to present the best possible finish for you. They take into consideration the background and foreground of shots. Have you looked at photos friends have taken for you and the image is slightly blurred where it hasn’t been focused properly or their shutter speed isn’t fast enough or perhaps there are hordes of people in the background, an overflowing poo bin or the portaloos?


Left Image – my attempt at a ‘tunnel shot’  – Right Image – from SCP – much clearer, crisp and focused!

Sean and Dean will scope all this out, ensuring the background of your photos is as unobtrusive as possible and out of focus so your eye is drawn to the main event…YOUR DOG!

They know which equipment will get the clearest shots and the money invested into their fast shutter speed lenses will provide crisp shots of your hound as it thunders down the dog walk and does that perfect running contact or winds its way through the weave poles at 100mph!

(Left & Centre – Gemsdale Photography  ——- Right – Sean Cameron Photographic)

The images used in this blog are a mixture of professionally taken photos (marked underneath with who shot them) and some taken by me on my phone! It is CLEAR the difference in quality and I would much rather pay for professional photos that make my dog look awesome than have second rate ones with nothing focused as well as it could be or my dog looking like a blur as my camera isn’t quick enough to capture the moment!

Price may be an issue – I am the first to admit once several runs have been pre paid, cars filled up with fuel and perhaps camping booked and paid for, the costs of shows do start to add up. When your running more than one dog these can really start to escalate.

As a newbie to the agility world I am more likely to want images of my dog looking amazing than say perhaps a grade 4-7 handler that already has a computer full of similar images of their dogs sailing over jumps and perfecting their contacts. People like me need the professionals there for these moments!

(Left – Gemsdale Photography —- Centre & Right – Sean Cameron Photographic)

Sean has a deal for multiple images purchased and his galleries span back several months so if you can be patient then you could buy 5 images for example from 2-3 different shows and save a substantial sum of money. Gemsdale Photography don’t offer bulk discounts but their images are less expensive to start with!

So in conclusion, don’t steal or reproduce images – pay for them, help keep small businesses in business and when you do post that image of your dog clearing jump 20 which also happens to be the win it needed to get from G1 to 2 or maybe even G6-7 PLEASE mention the photographer – just a thankyou to them and a link to their facebook pages will go a very long way!

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