Many times I am being tagged in posts by friends who perhaps have another friend looking for a photographer. Sometimes the person who is looking for a photographer is looking for photographs of their horses, and I am super excited to see this. Other times the person is looking for perhaps a newborn, wedding, or family photographer.
When I first started to educate myself about photography, dive into classes, Facebook groups, etc, I was amazed to realize that there are so many genres of photographers out there! I did not realize that most people narrow down a genre, as being a photographer for everything, just doesn't seem to make sense. That ole adage, "Jack of all trades, master of none." comes to mind, as you truly have to know the subject you are photographing. Most photographers likely start out taking photographs of everything and anything to improve their craft. Then, slowly, we realize what lights our fire and what we get most excited about and what makes us excited to get home to edit the images!
For me, I had always seemed to be taking images of my dog and the others dogs during K-9 trainings for search and rescue. So I thought, pet photographer at first.
Then I attended my first Equine Photography Workshop in Georgia with Phyllis Burchett! After this workshop, I realized where my passion was and that was the same place that existed my whole life--horses!
So let's dive in! Why when you decide you want images of your horse, whether with you, your family, for a stud ad, for sale ads, or even for commercial use for your small business, you should choose a equine specific photographer.
1. A horse owner/lover.
Most professional photographers, know all about the proper manual settings on their camera and how to get those beautiful images in focus, composed properly, etc. But, not all photographers know horses nor are comfortable around horses. I have had horses in my life since I could probably walk, as my uncle had several that I would ride! My parents bought my first pony for me when I was 8 years old. So I know full well the bond that is between horses and their owner. I knew horses way before I knew photography. Photographers that know horses, know how to get those ears up, are comfortable handling horses, moving feet, being up close and personal with a horse, and know all the little things to get your horse looking it's best! I have lived and felt the unique beauty and love between myself and my horse, so I understand exactly how you feel about your equine partner and will capture these feelings for you to hold onto forever.
Not all horse photos are created equal. An equine photographer knows what looks good and what looks really really bad. I have the benefit of having several friends that own studs. Having a stud, means taking images of that stud that shows off his best attributes and the best attributes of his offspring! After all, if a stud can look excellent and his babies look excellent, more horse owners will want to breed to the stud. Therefore, capturing perfect images is the ultimate goal. Luckily, I have been taught by these friends what looks best! There is posing for humans (which I've made sure I've taken many courses on this as well. As most of my clients want images WITH their horses!) and there is best posing for horses. There are also better lenses to use for horses so that all things are in the right perspective. Using the wrong lens can cause confirmation issues in the images. (too big of a head, top/bottom line not proportionally correct, etc.)
3. Knowing horse behavior and how to read a horse. (or dog for that matter!)
Body language, most likely something that horse (or dog) owners don't even think about on a daily basis, as we do it without realizing. Chances are pretty good you understand what your horse is saying when he nickers as you bring him his feed. The meaning of a pinned ear and cocked hind hoof are also pretty obvious. It is important when photographing a horse, you understand and read ears, head carriage, forelegs, hind legs, muzzle, eyes, tail, and entire body in order to get those beauitful shots worthy of hanging on your walls.
4. Comfort level with other horse people.
One thing that most horse people know, is how quickly you can strike up a conversation with another horse owner. It's almost as if we could talk for days and become best friends over night. Being comfortable during your photoshoot is a must! You have your natural smile without being tense when you are relaxed. Your horse will read YOU if you are nervous and uncomfortable. Therefore, this added bonus of having another person taking your photographs that you are comfortable and relaxed around, is a must!
In closing, I hope this helps you in choosing the proper photographer for your needs. Determine the subject you want photographed, then search or ask friends for the specific type of photographer you'd like to hire. Doing this will ensure you receive the exact images you dream of with your sesssion.