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[RC] Ride Photographers - Tx Trigger

I used to do horse photography as my main income. Loved shooting the rides. This was pre- digital, and I was one of the odd ones that would sell the 4x6, or sometimes 5x7, and include the negative. For the basic rides, not elite rides like Tevis, most folks are happy with just the proof or a 5x7, and reorders are not a huge money maker, and I will admit, I hated to deal with reorders, mailing etc.  But, with the digital world, one can set up to have a company do all your reorders and ship them, all you do is download your imagines to the web.  If I was doing ride photography now, I would consider doing it that way.
 I have found, generally, you get what you pay for. Send an amateur out on the trail who is not familiar with taking photos of riders, and it will often show in the images. Tiny little speck in the center of the photos that is you and your horse, and lots and lots and lots of background. Poor timing, or shooting horses at a section of trail where they do not look their best...like doing down hill. Those who really understand the sport will look at the location, keep telephone poles from looking like they run out of the top of your head, get the right lighting, time the shot so your horses stride and hoof placement makes you looked like you are moving out and balanced, not "falling". I always put a sign up ahead of time, so riders could spread out, or get next to their friend or family member for both to be in a shot, and be looking up and ready. My camera without a lens was about $1500, and my current lens is about the same. I just had a $300 repair/cleaning bill from the factory. Cameras used around horses take a LOT of abuse.  We don't even have to talk about fuel for the photographer to get to the rides, as we all know how expensive that is.  We either camp, or get a room for the night. I know I was usually heading to the first location on the trail as the riders were mounting up in the early morning, and would be the last one to leave the after ride dinner, after spending a non stop day getting around to spots on the trail, and if I was having proofs made, getting them printed at the 1 hour photo, and then organized, and back to camp, before riders started to head home if they finished early.  What I'm saying is, yes, you can get folks out on the trail snapping photos for fun, and you can get those of us who were very serious about it, and looked to do the very best job possible, using the best equipment possible.
Now, as a rider, I try to buy photos from each ride.  First, I want to support the ride photographer, as I know what it takes to be out there. Next, I like to have a little something from each ride.  If it is really a nice, nice photo, I'll buy an 8x10. We have framed photos of the horses on our hall way wall.  But if it is just a crappy snap shot, I'll usually pass.