52 Fridays – #19 When It’s Time To Hire A Pro Photographer


52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday. New EMAIL blog subscribers receive a ’52 Fridays’ PDF when they sign up; existing subscribers and new RSS FEED & WORDPRESS subscribers can send a request for their own PDF here.

Images of horses are crucial in our world. Whether you’re selling a horse, a feed supplement, a saddle, a horse trailer, or a new barn, nothing grabs a horseperson’s attention like a beautiful, majestic equine. I don’t know about you, but I even notice horse statues or paintings in TV commercials and home decor magazines!

Last week I offered up some tips on how you can improve your DIY photos of horses…this time, I went to some of my favorite commercial equestrian photographers to see what they had to say about ‘when it’s time to hire a pro photographer’ and what doing so could mean for your horsebiz. I hope you enjoy their thoughts on the subject.

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As a horse owner, a rider, and prospective consumer of training services and horse purchases, photos that make an otherwise professional equine business look very unprofessional cause me to turn away from their advertisements, including:

  • Photos of horses which are distorted, such as a huge head with tiny legs and body;
  • Horse photos taken at the incorrect point of stride, causing the horse to look lame; or
  • Photos that have motion blur, are too light or too dark so that I cannot see the horse.
Hire an equine pro IF you want your business to look professional. Who is an equine pro? That’s hard to discern with so many people owning a pro camera and handing out business cards. Look at the person’s work, ask for references, and ask if quality of work is guaranteed. Expect professional prices; you do get what you pay for. You can also expect the sessions to go more quickly, without the horse becoming annoyed from having to repeat a task too many times; that the pro equine photographer can show you how to set up your horse for photos by taking your horse in hand and doing so; and for your photos to be fully edited and made ready for Internet as well as print advertising.
Sharon Packer
Horse Sports Photography

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You really need a pro photographer when you want to advertise a black horse. Black is notoriously difficult to capture as it absorbs light and tricks most automatic cameras. A pro photographer is able to show off your black horse in diverse lighting situations and with detail!

Leslie Heemsbergen
Leslie Heemsbergen * Equestrian Photographers

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The difference between a ‘pro’ and a good amateur is less about equipment and technique than it is about knowledge, experience, and consistency. A ‘pro’ knows the subject, and how to present horses in the best possible way. That’s one reason why you should hire a professional horse photographer, not a professional wedding photographer.

The pro also has the experience to maximize the capabilities of her equipment, and address any lighting issues that may exist due to the venue, weather, or time of day. A pro can also help the owner / business operator select the image(s) that will best portray the message they want to convey.

Ceci Flanagan-Snow
Images by Ceci

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I’ve been working on a book, and it’s been pretty weird that after a couple of the shoots the people we interviewed lost one of their beloved pets. Not amazing of itself but they were so grateful that, as luck would have it, they had ‘pro’ images to remember their family member by. I’d say, don’t depend on luck, and don’t put off taking the time to find and hire a pro to create something lovely of your animals/family/event. When the time comes, you’ll either look back and wish you had, or just plain regret that you have nothing nice in pictures.

 Sharon Fibelkorn Chapman
Sharon Fibelkorn Chapman Photography+

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The amateur photographer may get that occasional good shot, but the professional has invested their time, energy, and money to perfect his craft by understanding the little nuances that make photos stand out. It could be the lighting, or the detail in the image or the composition. On top of that they have spent the money to purchase equipment that can enhance the photo and give it zing. For instance, if they are shooting tight shots they may be using a macro lens; for equine sports in big fields, they might have a longer lens that will allow them to get as tight to the image as possible. You can have very basic camera equipment and get the job done, but better equipment can get the good results more consistently every time, especially for those once-in-a-lifetime shots you don’t want to miss. We need to support horse people, including equine photographers, who work hard to hone their craft, because we don’t want to lose all that wonderful knowledge gained over years of experience.

Diana De Rosa
Diana De Rosa Photography

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In closing, I’d add that you should definitely hire an equine photographer when you have once-in-a-lifetime shots that you can’t afford to miss, and when your focus needs to be elsewhere, such as if you’re running an event. For those situations, you’re not just hiring a professional, you’re buying peace of mind.

How do you determine when you need to hire a pro horse photographer for your horsebiz? Share your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #20!

Read other posts about Facebook by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Facebook category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #18.

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3 Comments

Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, Photography, Uncategorized

3 responses to “52 Fridays – #19 When It’s Time To Hire A Pro Photographer

  1. Wonderful post! I find the remarks about the black horse especially interesting. Never knew that they could be harder to photograph well.

    • Yes, wasn’t that interesting! It makes such sense, though.

      The pro photographers I know do great work and work hard, especially at events – they have to be out schlepping heavy equipment in all kinds of weather, fighting off the summer insects, photographing all different colors of horses under variable light conditions, and getting great shots every time. It’s a wonder how they do it all! LK

  2. Timely Topic: Just yesterday, while talking with my client, I saw another gal with a nice camera and very small lens …. a 50 by the look, try to juggle her horse, lead rope, and a good look for a photo. I thought this at the time – “Besides knowing which lens to use, which lighting works best, and the myriad other things that an equestrian photographer knows from experience, it is so important to know how to get the best pose and keep animation/attention or the look for the photo desired. Your professional photographer knows how to do this.”

    Pamela Burton
    Burton Graphics & Photojournalism

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