Tuesday, January 26, 2010


OK, we have not pulled out our soap box for a while, but we just heard something that hit us the wrong way. At last Friday’s Simi Valley Kennel Club show in Ventura CA, freelance photographers were told to put their cameras away or to leave the show grounds.

More and more clubs have become less and less friendly to exhibitors and the professionals that support the shows. We used to earn our living advising companies on how to retain their customers. It seems that clubs have forgotten that the exhibitors and spectators are their customers. Every time a club puts restraints on what a spectator or an exhibitor can do they reduce their gate. One would think that if you were trying to compete with Portland, you would be offering visitors coupons for a free back massage, not threatening them if they take photos.

We do not understand why clubs enter into exclusive agreements with vendors. Trust us, the way to break even is to increase your entries. The way to increase your entries is to make their show experience pleasant. Rationing chairs, charging more for RV setups than local hotel rooms, and being stingy with port-a-potties is not the way to ensure a repeat entry.

A friend just told us that we entered shows that regular exhibitor avoid. It’s true, we like to go to shows where the competition is exciting. However, we do avoid shows that are unpleasant to be at. We don’t drive/fly hundreds/thousands of miles and then walk miles from the parking lot to the show hall nor do we want to have nachos for lunch or be told to put our camera away. Maybe we are just old & difficult, but we suspect we are just ordinary. Let us know how you feel. Visit our rate the show site.


  1. Its best way to Irritate Exhibitions.Great

  2. Amen, billie! I just got back from the Florida cluster. I looked at the invitation before I left, to see if it said anything about prohibitions on photography. Zippo. So I went with my camera and took about 700 good shots, without incident. But then I learned that they were hitting people up for $450 to take pictures, harassing people who were just photographing their own dogs. As I am just getting started taking pictures professionally, there's no way I was going to pay $450.

    I got a bunch of good shots. Any proceeds I get will be donated to Haitian relief.

  3. Can someone please explain to this east coast exhibitor why I got 3 (count 'em, THREE) sets of photos from different photographers from our wins in Palm Springs? Never heard of such a thing! What is the thinking, competition increases quality? All I notice is that one poor guy didn't have a straight on shot - and everybody isn't looking into the lens.

    I come from a television news background and we had a very nasty term to describe shoots where we were all elbowing each other to get the best shot. But we signed on for that abuse, I cannot understand why these professionals should be subjected to it.

  4. Debbie,
    Having Moved to CT from cali. not to long ago. I know what you mean. I love the fact that there is only one Photogpher takeing group photos on the east coast. They are starting to do that in cali. they have 3-4 photogphers at a show and they all take the group one photo, You can send them back if you want. I would send rich bergmans back if it not good. I can't affored it when i win a group out there and get three sets of photos. they do it for the clubs. each photogpher sends the club a set of group shots for history,

    Kim L

  5. Can I add another way to irritate exhibitors? Have a show sight with very limited grooming space, then charging $15 for "reserved grooming". So many people signed up for reserved grooming that the show sight had barely any "free" grooming. This was a show in December near St. Louis, so it wasn't like you could set up outside somewhere to groom. Needless to say, I won't be going to that show sight ever again.

  6. as a free lance photographer - I understand a restriction on those who 'play without paying' - ONLY If there is a candid photographer who has paid vendor space.
    It's pretty easy to tell who is taking commerical photography and who is taking pictures for the folks back home.
    If there is not a candid /freelance vendor who has paid for the priviledge- then to ask people to stop or leave is a violation of their rights, and could be challenged in court.

  7. I've never been hassled about taking photos (not win shots, of course), and I've rarely seen an official photographer taking candids/movement shots. (I'm in California.)

    I'm not sure how I'd respond if I were asked to put my camera away. We'll see how it goes this weekend....

  8. If someone is paying a vendors' fee to have a booth to do photos of dogs, why should the club allow others to use their grounds without being compensated? It really isn't fair to the people who are paying for that privilege.

  9. Poor expensive parking, bad grooming areas and for God's sake charging for it, rude Supers, rude chairpersons, dirty showsites, the list goes on and on, Way to go Billie, you hit it right on the head. Who is the customers? You clubs are not doing us a favor WE are doing you one. It hard enough to get a decent win when you don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw at ads, then you deal with bad shows. No wonder entries are down up to 40% at some places. Soon dog shows will be a thing of the past. Ever wonder why Westminster has gone to mailing in entries? They wouldn't reach their limit doing it the old way.

  10. You go!!!

    If I want to take pictures of my dogs or my friends dogs I think I should be allowed! Don't I (and everyone else entered) support the club and etc.?????

    People loose their minds when it comes to WE NEED MONEY!

    What a shame.

  11. LET's SEE:
    1. Barely escaped another Great Depression;
    2. People out of work;
    3. Retirement 401K's tanked
    4. Gas prices up;
    5. Legislators assaulting "the fancy" trying to reduce freedom to breed your own dog;
    6. Entries at dog shows down;
    Hmmmm....I've got a great idea: lets do something to REALLY irritate the exhibitors who, despite all of the above, are still faithfully spending lots of cash to hire handlers, to pay for gas to get to shows, to remit entry fees and pay extra handler fees if your dog should happen to win something.
    BUT....what could we do? I KNOW....this will really make them nearly irate: let's not let them even take their own photos with their own camers of their own dogs in the shows they paid all their own money to enter. Yea...that's a great idea.

  12. I just posted to my own blog about how we are taking the Dog out of the Dog show and now clubs are trying to take the people away too.

  13. I hear ya! I have come to HATE the shows at the Portland Expo. There is no longer a break for paying for the entire weekend parking, it's a high per day rate. They cover all the handicapped parking and put RV's there. If you are handicapped they keep some spaces at the far end of the buildings, by the entrance. Pretty sure this is illegal.

    Ahh, then you are inside. You get the sphincter police who have made all the grooming spaces paid and you can't find a place close to the ring that you are in. It is so tight, between rings, that you can't walk through with your dog to get to your ring.
    I got into this sport, in 1979, to have fun! I am so strung out and tired when I get home that I wonder why am I paying such a pretty penny for such abuse?

    Well, no more. This year was my last and I will be boycotting this show in the future. It is just not worth it, especially at such a premium cost.