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Ringside Thoughts – Speaking Out

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124 – June, 2024

By Kerrin Winter-Churchill

This year’s 148th Westminster Kennel Club dog show saw many new changes. Most of them were fantastic, but one area left me wondering. Why did Westminster delete and replace its dedicated dog photography staff with subcontracted, generalist photographers? In my opinion, this was a huge mistake.

The business of photography is similar to the wild west. There are no rules. There is no degree that one must obtain to be a photographer. To go into business with a commercial storefront, you need a license. In years past, all that was required to be a freelance photographer who worked the dog shows were good manners and permission from the show club chairman. However, as professional dog photographers, whether you rise or fall has always depended on your eye for a dog.

Today, there are hundreds of professional dog photographers. They crop up like wildflowers in a fallow pasture. Some have worked hard at their craft and made a name for themselves. The best ones understand breed type and the mechanics of their equipment. They are today’s superstars. The prices to hire such a photographer vary greatly. You can get an exquisite shot of your dog from zero to eight hundred dollars while a few great photographers charge thousands. Pick out what you love and can afford, and hire someone. But make sure the photographer knows your breed or is willing to listen; and that you understand the rules by which photographers live.

These are simple guidelines, and if you abide by them, the photographer and those who hire such a professional should be happy. But since it’s a new era in dog photography, other pitfalls are evident to those with an eye for it.

Since the 148th Westminster Kennel Club show of 2024 concluded, I have received many phone calls, texts, and emails with the same sentiment: “Why did Westminster choose to use such a bad photograph of such a great dog?” I had already been asking myself that question, so I am searching for an answer.

A Little Background

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124 – June, 2024

Short URL: https://caninechronicle.com/?p=289364

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  • June 2024