I discussed this item with Julie over the weekend but I wanted to post it here to get some additional feedback from you all (my attempt at Julie's Southern drawl). Starting at the Brooksville shows on the Florida Circuit, the Show Committee was requiring professional photographers who were shooting ringside candids to pay $40 a day and post a $1 million Liability Insurance rider indemnifying the club and the owner of the venue.
The Show Chair for the Ocala Shows next weekend has already contacted me to warn me that they are going to enforce the same conditions at their shows. These conditions appear to be aimed primarily at freelance photographers like Kenneth Reed and Chuck Currey who photograph and sell their images on spec. I can only assume that since I shoot on contract for individuals, I was not a target since nobody ever asked me for anything in Brooksville. But I did discuss the issue with Ken Reed and we both question the legality of it.
The Ocala Show Chair is a friend and was only notifying me so I wouldn't be surprised but it does present some major issues for those of us who are asked to take ring candids of advertising clients. If I'm at a show to shoot one or two dogs, the $40/day plus insurance, plus parking, plus travel is simply too much based on income potential.
The rationale I'm hearing from the Show Chairs is that they want to treat the freelance photographers like vendors without booths and let them buy their access to the venue. My question to them was, how about the handlers? They get paid to show the dogs but you don't charge them to be there and they don't have to insure themselves against liability. It is far more likely that a handler will strangle a judge than a photographer will beat the show chairman over the head with a 400mm lens
Clearly, the Show Chairs think they have the right to do this and the photographers think they are having their right to make a living compromised by this policy. I'm not sure where it will all play out but my clients are very angry about it and intend to notify the Ocala Show Chair that the policy unfairly restricts their ability to get decent photos of their show dogs in a show environment. And if that doesn't have the sound of a lawsuit, I don't know what does.
In any event, I'd be interested in your views on this subject.