Since most photo show judges receive no pay or tangible rewards for their effort, the competitors should try to make it an enjoyable experience for all involved. One might wonder, what difference does it make if the judge finds the show fun or not? How is it going to make a difference with my entries? After all, judges are suppose to place the best models without bias towards any individual. However, there are rewards that are not as easily seen for the entrant when (s)he goes out of her/his way for the judge. A content judge will be much more willing to hold bigger, better shows in the future, to not put off judging (meaning you will see results sooner), and to properly place the entries.

To make the show more of a delight to judge, there are many things you can do. Here are some tips to accomplish this.

Back to Basics

  • Simply follow all the rules, guidelines, and directions! If all entrants did as the class list stated, there would be less headaches for the judge.
  • Use the correct amount of postage. A judge who receives a postage due notice will not be a happy person and might even return the envelope to you without being judged!
  • Specifically tell the judge how many stamps you are sending and where in the envelope they are located. Otherwise, stamps may accidentally be thrown away.
  • Write neatly or type all required information and always put your address on everything that will be returned to you.
  • Besides all the required information, write down any criteria a horse possesses that determines what class it goes in. For instance, if a show splits classes into OF (original finish) and CM (custom models) you should write which your horse is. If your horse is a custom, tell if is repainted only, repainted/haired, etc. Sometimes large classes may be split and if you have these things written on the photo back, the judge will know which section to put it in. Also, if a horse gets entered in the wrong class, a judge may be able to put it in the correct one if information is on the back.

For Even Happier Judges…

  • Place all address labels in the same spot on each photo back. Also, use the same type/color of address label. This makes sorting photos at the end of the show a lot faster and you will get them back sooner.
  • Send all photos in a plastic bag or envelope within the larger envelope. Write your name, address, and the number of photos you have sent on the outside of the bag. This will serve as a convenient organizational system for the judge and a record for you. These can be reused, so write in pencil.
  • Never send Polaroid or very blurry photos. They are generally very difficult to see and will not place well. The judge will be saved from a lot of squinting and you will save on postage expenses.
  • Put all photos in order by class number. This is another time-saver for the judge.
  • Light-colored tape or special labels are a great way to draw the judges attention as to where you have written the class numbers.
  • Always use some form of identifying mark. This may be similar labels, colored tape, a colored dot, sticker, drawing or simply the same arrangement of information for all photos. This will help in sorting.
  • Send only appropriate photos. Don’t waste the judge’s time and your postage by sending a photo of your rearing stallion in 2nd level dressage. It isn’t realistic, so forget it!
  • When entering parent/offspring classes, write who the photos should go with by the class number. Example: CLASSES: 1 – 5 – 23 – 31(with sire, Carved In Stone) – 34 – 42
  • For easy record keeping, make a list of which models’ photos you have sent and what classes they are in. Make two copies; one for yourself and one to send with the photos. This makes a great checklist for you and the judge.
  • Finally, check everything over before you send it in. Have you followed all the rules? Are your extra stamps and entry fee enclosed? Did you double check how many photos you are sending? Are all models in the correct classes? Is your correct address on everything it needs to be on? …and so on!