why I don't do photos 

Home selecting a seller geno verses pheno cons of lot photos

why you don't see lots photos on my stock page 

                
Although I may post photos of new strains/ color variations or new spawns available for sale, to give a general idea of what the "look" of the strain is, I do not post photos of each and every lot sold on BETTATALK. In case you are wondering why I don't, I created this page. I think it will greatly clarify things.

Before I get started though, I wanted to say that if you are a first time buyer and you feel truly nervous about buying from me without a photo to look at, you should  first look at my track record and reference section. If this still does not fix your anxiety attack, try Xanax LOL. Just kidding. I have been known to put bettas on the webcam as a favor to a new customer, so to show him/her there is nothing to be worried about LOL. So do ask if you must. Usually I am able to. The webcam, by the way, is much more accurate at showing a fish then a still shot is. With the cam, you can see your betta move around, swim, flare, court his mate, nap, pick his nose, etc :))... It's like it is already home with you :). I ask that you refrain from asking me to monopolize the webcam for the sole purpose of showing you fish for sale UNLESS YOU HAVE NEVER BOUGHT FROM ME BEFORE AND REALLY, TRULY, ARE NERVOUS ABOUT IT. This, out of consideration for all our other bettacam viewers and also to preserve my sanity (providing there is any left in the first place, that is LOL). Having said that, I will (if you are a first time buyer who suffers from severe anxiety disorder LOL)  put the fish on display on the webcam, if it will make you feel better. 

OK, now back to the lots photos topic.

You may feel that a seller is doing you a favor by posting photos of their lots for sale. However, you may be overlooking some very important facts:

bulletgreat breeding stock has been sold for 50 years (or more) without the help of photos: People have relied on the reputation and knowledge of seasoned breeders to provide them with quality stock for over 50 years now. Sales were conducted via telephone or through letters and never included any photos of stock. The customer relied on the credibility and reputation of the breeder. Internet betta sales themselves are relatively new. They started only about 6 to 8 years ago. I was privileged to be one of the first breeders to make internet betta purchases a viable and popular option for the public. None of us established breeders ever posted any photos of lots. Recently, many auction sites have popped up and a very large number of novices and inexperienced people use them to attempt to sell their stock. When dealing with an auction, it is useful to see the item you are to bid on. So photos were posted (and I agree that for auction purpose they should be). Hence a new photo fad started. Today everyone and anyone posts photos of fish to sell them. Ironically the very very top breeders do not. Gorgeous lines were developed in the past (for 100 years) using great stock purchased via mail and ordered via phone from reputable top breeders. The fact is that there were less record of low quality stock, defective stock and scamming then (without photos) than there is now (with photos LOL). Many novices now hook buyers by posting photos. Photos may 'look' nice, but if the lines are not established, gene pool not clean, the stock will throw nothing worth while. A photo can never replace the knowledge, hard work and reputation of a seasoned top breeder. It is the stock of such breeders we offer for sale here.
bulletrisk of infection: Most of you may not know that taking photos of a betta entails moving the betta to a "photo tank". Scratches, hard water deposits and lack of clarity and adequate lighting usually make all betta jars unsuitable to take photos. Hence when breeders take photos of their lots, they usually move the fishes to a tank used just for the purpose of taking shots. This will be a brand new tank with very good lighting, set aside for the sole purpose of taking shots. Due to lack of space (and oftentimes, finances), breeders rarely have more than one of those in their fishrooms. This means that all (or most) of the lots will end up sharing the same tank while being photographed.  This sharing of the same water greatly increases the chances of contamination, should one of the betta carry a disease ( a very likely chance). Then you purchase the lot and bring the disease into your fishroom. 
bulletphotos can be deceiving: Ever tried internet dating? You see a nice photo then you meet the person and go "OH my God he/she looks NOTHING like the photo". Needless to say, usually they look a lot WORSE then their photo LOL... Well, if I got a penny for each email I have received from people complaining the bettas they got from Joe Schmoe do not look anything like their photo, I would be a rich girl in deed :). Photos are rarely a good representation of a fish. They can either make the bettas look better or not give justice to the betta. Betta colors are especially hard to capture on film and most often do not translate well. Some breeders take a photo of one nice male, then send you a similar sibling (not the same fish though) of lesser caliber (and you'll never know for sure). This is easily done with solid colored fish who usually look all pretty much the same LOL color wise. Basing your decision to purchase on a photo is actually a lot less accurate method than basing your decision on the gene pool, purity of a line and knowledge, credibility and advice of a reputable seller. 
bulletyou can't SEE what you are truly buying. Remember, when you buy top lines bettas you buy GENES. More specifically you buy a gene POOL. In the pool are oftentimes many genes, some of which are recessive (genotype) meaning that they are carried by the betta but do not SHOW. So here a photo would be of no help. To best understand this VITAL concept (phenotypes and genotypes and their respective photo outcome) you really really should click here and read that page. You'll be soooo glad you did. 
bullet

Only fully mature bettas look flashy. If you see a betta with long showy fins on a photo, chances are the betta is already past its breeding prime. No 4 months old betta look like the one pictured below. If you see a large long finned betta such as one to the left, chances are it is over 8 months old and already past its breeding prime. Another risk is that the gorgeous male has been put up for sale by a breeder because it is actually what I refer to as a "reject". These are very nice fishes that the breeder selected to breed but that just wouldn't spawn. Or maybe it is a female killer. Most breeders will not mention it and simply put the nice photo up to hook the buyer. It is after all hard to resist a gorgeous fish. But a gorgeous fish that won't spawn for you or kill the female is as useless as a pet store betta.  It is a known fact that one should be very careful if a fish looks "too" good to be for sale. There is usually a reason why it is being 'dumped'. This does not imply that ALL gorgeous fish are 'duds', but unless the buyer has a top notch reputation I would be extra careful and weary. Especially if the breeder does not have a large number of lots for sale on a consistent basis. 

bulletThe ideal stock is very young and sometimes does not (yet) look like much: Your ideal stock is a very young (the younger the better) virgin pair (one that is not someone else's past failure) that is between 3 to 5 months old. If you purchase a betta that is older, it may look flashy but has already lost most of its breeding potential/lifespan. Bettas at a young age do not look like much at all and if you saw them you probably would not want to pay more than $5 for them LOL. Fins have not developed and oftentimes neither has pattern or color. Consider the lot below: 


photo of lot when male is 3 months old (looks like crap) 
worth in your head: $5


photo of same lot at 8 months old (looks gorgeous)
worth in your head: $500

This is the SAME betta!!!!  As the above example clearly demonstrates, taking photos of very young stock is a complete and alter waste of time. Photos will not be of any help to demonstrate and evaluate the REAL potential of the lot. Photos cannot replace the knowledge the breeder has of his/her line and the track record of the line itself (which will indicate the true potential of your lot's genes). Remember, when you buy bettas, you buy genes.

bulletTaking good photos of a betta is extremely time consuming. I am very experienced in taking betta photos and still I find it very challenging to get a good shot. Bettas don't pose for photos LOL. They don't stand still, are constantly moving around (fidgety) and it is hard to get a clear shot. Also they don't flare on command (trust me on that one, I TRIED!). Getting them to display and then being able to snap the shot just at the full display split second is real hard. A male that is not fully flaring will not look like much. Here is an example to illustrate this:

DVC00031.JPG (122973 bytes)

male in normal state

pastel flaring.JPG (54181 bytes)

SAME male in display state (note that lighting is now reflecting somewhat differently on his pigments making him look almost like a different fish color wise)

Which would YOU buy? Well, it is the SAME fish! I find that it takes on average about 15mn and about 20 shots to capture one good shot of ONE single betta (one that is representative of what the fish looks like when flaring). Then count on another 5 mn to download, process, reduce the image and upload it. = 20 min per fish. You do the math. Say a seller has about 30 pairs to sell that week then it will take him/her about 10 hours JUST to take photos of the males!!!!!!! Who has that kind of free time on their hands? Remember that all of us have day jobs (and a few of us have - or try to have - lives LOL)!! And while people are kept so busy snapping their photos, they no longer have the time to be busy caring for their bettas. That time wasted snapping photos would be best used caring for the bettas themselves and insuring that they have the cleanest, most sanitary living conditions. Water changes, health checks, daily feeding, cleaning of tanks, regimented sanitization of aquarium equipment is extremely time consuming but it is also ESSENTIAL. Wasting this precious time on snapping useless shots of young pairs seems a poor decision to me.

bulletsuccessful breeders do not need photos to sell bettas. They have worked hard at earning a great reputation and that reputation alone sells stock. A not so known/not so successful breeder may have lots of free time to snap photos because they do not have many fish to sell / much customers interested in buying their fishes. They have not yet paid their dues and do not have a track record. When a successful breeder is offering and selling 70-100 bettas a week, don't expect them to have time to snap photos of them all. Neither should they need to. The BETTATALK stock page offers one of the largest variety of strains available on any one page at any time of the year. Just take a look at our catalog and you will see. This is not an easy accomplishment. I feel I am doing more good to the betta community by locating and offering top stock in many many color variations, than by offering only 10 lots for sale a month with cute photos. 
bulletI recommend photos for auctioned lots. This is one situation where a photo is indispensable because there is no set price and a bidding war cannot be fought if you do not see what you are fighting for. How else would you know when to stop biding when the price is soaring into high altitudes? I am the one who started betta auctions on the internet, with the launching of my "bidding room" over 6 years ago, long before any of the current auction sites ever existed. I am the one who posted photos of the lots for auctions. Ironically I then came to the realization that auctions were nothing but trouble (people over bid and end up paying too much for bettas, because they so badly want to "win" they go over board LOL). So I ended up canning my bidding room and never offered another fish for auction again :). I prefer my current system: one price, no wars, no hassles. First come first serve, you order it first, it is yours.

For all the above reason I have never and never will post photos of the lots available weekly on the stock page. Remember that I remain the most active seller of top bettas in the US and that I have positive feedbacks coming out of my nostrils (see my refs section). however, should you be a first time buyer and really really nervous about trusting me, you are welcome to ask me to put the bettas on the webcam. That, I can do :).