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Great Photos Are the Result of Teamwork

As a photographer, I am not the first person to admit that the job – which is also a passion – is not always a walk in the park.

The challenge of finding the perfect spot at the perfect time is only one part of getting the shot. To really capture that split second moment requires a kind of undefined teamwork.

The concept is simple. The photographer wants to take a great photo, and you, the exhibitor, want to see a really great photo of you and your dog. So it’s imperative that everyone works together as a team to get those shots!

Almost a perfect shot, just two seconds too late.

I use the term “works together” and “teamwork” loosely because, in fact, we have to make this happen without really knowing when or where it will take place. As the handler, you can do things to ensure that the picture perfect moments are caught on camera. Things like smiling, baiting your dog to the camera, and just being aware of your surroundings go a long way toward getting that photo that makes you and your dog look your very best.

This brings me to my biggest, and perhaps newest, pet peeve…

If you are honored enough to receive a Group placement, please, take a moment to show off your dog. This is a great time to let everyone (including the photographers) see your dog standing apart from the crowd. We already have enough photos of your butt!

Also, to any judge who wants to beat the record for how fast a Group can be judged, although photographers admire your speediness, we would love it even more if you gave a break of 10 seconds before actually putting your hands on the next dog to be examined.

Almost enough time to get a head shot, but not this time.

As we all know, each and every person who attends a dog show plays a different – yet important – role to help make the event come together. From the exhibitors and judges to the show crew and, yes, the photographers, everyone is vital to making sure the event runs smoothly and is a good experience for everyone involved.

So on behalf of everyone who knows what I’m talking about, I say, “thank you.”

Thank you to the exhibitors for every time you did not walk in front of your dog at the ideal photo moment. Thank you to the judges for taking a moment to allow the photographers to get the shot. And thank you to the dogs for providing photographers like me with the perfect subject to express my passion.

Dog photographers and Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • Karl December 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Hi Kayla,

    not only judges and exhibitors/handlers need to think of us. It starts already when the organization sets up the show. King TV is high priority and only little attention is paid to the photographers. I am fighting this problem since over 10 years in Europe but there is still a long way to go. Big happening like the Olympic Games know the power of the photos that lasts much longer than any TV show. It is time for the same emancipation in Dog Shows.
    You have my support.

  • Virginia O'Connor December 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Well said, Kayla! I would add a bit to show committees about setting up the group rings as well. Sometimes a simple change would make a big difference to both photographers and spectators!

  • Virginia O'Connor December 18, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I might add to judges that exhibitors would prefer you to stop for a few seconds before hands on as well. Some judges never ever let you get the dog set before they start, especially if one is the first one on the table or in the lineup. Everyone deserves a moment while being judged, one of the worst of all was the group judge at Eukanuba that waved each dog around after the down and back and never let them have a couple of seconds to stop and pose! I know they want to stay on time for the broadcast, but really, that was just too silly. It threw everyone off stride.

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