Everyone likes to have a photo of their dog with the judge after winning a ribbon. There’s always a show photographer at every AKC show I’ve been to who memorializes every moment. These folks can do literally hundreds of dog pictures per show.
Predictably, there are some mistakes, and I’ve been on the receiving end of some of them. When Kunga got his first point, the photographer didn’t adjust his camera for a dark-colored dog in a dark arena, and the photo came out both blurry and badly exposed. (I ordered a version with me cropped out anyway–hey, it was my first show dog’s first point!) When Kunga finished with a major at a huge show, the photographer was nearly incoherent with the number of photos he had to do, and managed to mess it up big time: he didn’t put up the board saying “new champion,” and managed to capture a moment when Kunga began to sag back into a sit, making my poor dog look like he was collapsing in back.
These are not the worst stories I’ve heard: one friend got a picture with her mouth open in a yawn as she stood behind her group-placing dog; another friend’s dog was placed so that her front feet were obscured by the fake flowers. The tales of picture woes go on and on.
I have some sympathy with the photographers, who are often harried from ring to ring, trying to get the pictures in at breaks in the action, dealing with recalcitrant pups, and hoping that both dog and handler manage to smile at the same time. Most of the time it’s no big deal if something goes wrong with the picture, but I admit that having a messed-up championship photo rankles me.