A few years ago myself and Kent Kerschner with a few others tried to start an Association to help rodeo photographers. We shuttered it because rodeo shooters couldn’t be bothered.
My reasoning behind it was to start the rodeo equivalent of Sports Shooters. I was new to the craft after having done video for years and wanted to learn.
Others wanted to start the association because of issues similar to what is being brought up here. People taking us for granted and or stealing from us. Granted not as bad as it is today but you could see the writing on the walls as to what the future would bring.
Too many people treat the business like they did in the old days when they thought a handshake was good. Well that sure isn’t working out today is it? Rodeo has become a business, if you treat it the same way you did 15+ years ago you will not be respected. If the people you are dealing with want it all for free then just tell them you are a professional and only shoot professional events, thank them and walk away.
In my opinion, if someone is stealing from you say nothing to them. Or to the association or to their friends. Sue them, that is why there are Federal and often state laws to protect us as professionals and as artist. If you know someone who is plastering their stuff all over Facebook then they are not a professional. The wedding pro’s I follow put teaser shots up, especially on Instagram, then little else. We as rodeo folks should follow suit. Don’t try to change the want to be. Let them ride on.
I don’t say much, and wont. I wish you all luck, but a reminder to all. At the end of the day this is a business, treat it as such.