This is probably one of the greatest show ring pictures I have ever taken. It cost me $11,875 to produce, and it has been stolen over 1,000 times.
$100 in gas to go from home to Madison and back. $175 in hotel room charges while I was there. The camera I took this with cost $4,800. The lens was another $2,300. The flash I used to take this picture cost $800. When I got home, I uploaded it to a computer that cost me $2,800 and then the program I edit this photo in cost me $900.
So when other dairy magazines, sales managers, AI companies steal it or ask if they can use it for free or in exchange for credit or “exposure,” I politely decline the offer. The Bullvine is the most read daily dairy publication in the world…I have enough exposure already. Your companies have an advertising budget, and this is what it’s for. You obviously don’t expect your writers to work for free, or your secretary, or your boss. No one is going to publish it for free. Just because the picture is digital doesn’t mean it was free to make.
Now some of you might be rationalizing that this single photo didn’t cost me $11,875, but if you wanted to create it, from scratch, that is what is involved. So I consider that to be the replacement value if it’s stolen, or how much my lawyer will send you a bill for if it’s found being used without my permission.
Similarly, I understand that it takes more than the $30 entry fee to exhibit the animals at the shows that I am taking the pictures of. That is why I do make my photos free to those exhibitors and the breeders of the animal exhibited. I understand that there is a cost to clip, prep, feed, truck, etc. the animals that are in the ring. But that does not give permission to other exhibitors, sales managers, AI companies to steal the pictures. In addition we have now changed our policy that if you are sponsoring the coverage of that show with one of our competitors our pictures will no longer be free for your use.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
So next time you are snagging that picture from Facebook or creating that ad with pictures you “Found online,” I would like you to try this, next time you’re at dinner, tell your waiter you’ll tell all your friends how good the service was if he gives you dinner for free.