Tag Archives: equine photography

52 Fridays – #23 Today’s Small Video Cameras Can Give You Big Results

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.

It hasn’t been that long ago that video carmeras were large, bulky, expensive propositions. But today, not only do most digital cameras and smartphones offer decent video options, HD (high definition) quality video cameras can easily slip into a pocket. It opens up worlds of opportunity for using video to market your horsebiz.

Why Use Video?

It’s often said that 60-70% of the world are visual learners. That’s one of the reasons that a picture is worth a thousand words; most people simply prefer to see things rather than just hear about them.

When it comes to remembering, people recall approximately 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, but 50% of what they both hear AND see, such as in a video. Add to that the ‘motion’ aspects of the horse world, and video becomes an option that’s worth using in some cases, and nearly essential in others.

  • Are you selling a horse? A good video of the horse in motion, at all gaits and in both directions, can help move a prospective buyer to the next step.
  • Is breeding your business? Videos of your stallion, and his offspring, become a living, breathing sales brochure.
  • Do you have product to sell? Video can be used for educational demos, or sharing testimonials from other customers.
  • Is your business new or innovative? Customers can develop comfort and familiarity with it through video.

With the accessability of low-cost options, there are now even more ways to use video, such as for a video news release or a book trailer. That’s right, movies aren’t the only creative medium using moving pictures for promotion; book trailers are now being incorporated into book launch campaigns!

But What About The Cameras?

Image courtesy TheFlip.com

A while back I got a Flip video camera; I’ve written in this blog about the pros and cons of the Flip, with my number one complaint being that the sound quality can be dicey, and there’s no external jack for a microphone. But the video is super, especially for a small camera, and I have the option of using either the rechargeable battery pack, or a couple of AAs in a pinch. Since then, Cisco (which bought Flip originator Pure Digital) announced plans to kill off the Flip, because smartphone video has been such a strong competitor. But, there are still options, at all price points; here are some sites with a variety of thorough camcorder reviews:

Next week the focus will be on the actual video, but it’s important to consider your equipment needs first. I found an excellent Camcorder Buying Guide from cnet.com to help with your purchase decisions. Personally, I tend to buy a bit more than what I think I’ll need and then grow into it, but these days it doesn’t cost much at all to give video a try.

What video camera(s) do you use and like for creating video about your horsebiz? Share your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #24!

Read other posts about video by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Video category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #22.

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52 Fridays – #22 Creating Your Own Photo Opportunities

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.

The flipside of using images in your horsebiz marketing is actually taking those images; while the change to digital has made the process much easier and quicker (no film to develop! instant feedback on what the images look like!), the camera still needs someone to hold, point, and click it.

In order to have a selection of images to use, think ahead through your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule to find your own photo opps; here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create mini-shoots: At a horse farm where I handled marketing and PR, the way the farm had previously managed photo requests on sale horses was to go out to the field when the request came in, knock a little dirt off the horse, snap a few shots, and send them off by email or even snail mail. What?! That meant a prospective customer wouldn’t get images for quite some time, and it’s time they might have spent shopping for someone else’s horse. A better solution is to create regular opportunities for ‘mini-shoots’ so you’ll have an archive of images ready to go when you need them.
  • Have a camera at the ready…all the time: Great photos can happen when you least expect them. The magic of sunshine peeking through a cloudy day, or the ‘awwww’ of foals frolicking in a pasture rich with dewdrops…if you’ve got a small digital pocket camera always with you, or even your smartphone, you can capture a few images to share with your customers and fans. It’s OK if they’re just ‘candid’ quality…that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for.

Want to capture your own ‘Kodak moments’ for your horsebiz? The keys include planning ahead, looking for things to take pictures of, and having easy-to-use equipment ready to go.

How and when do you take images for your horsebiz? Do you use a smartphone, or a small digital camera? Do you share them on any social media tools? Share your photo opp tactics via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #23, and a whole new tip category!

Read other posts about photography by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Photography category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #21.

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52 Fridays – #21 When Photographs Aren’t Free

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.

With the technology we have available today, it’s super-simple to copy, scan, or even lift images right off the Internet. The problem is, what might be thought of as a free photo really isn’t, and it’s due to one thing: copyright.

In the U.S., copyright law says that the creator of an artistic work owns that creation, whether it’s a song, a painting, a book, a movie, or a photograph. It’s a law recognized internationally, with some variations according to the individual country. Exceptions include work that is created either by an employee or a contractor (called ‘work for hire’), or if the creator grants usage rights to someone else in writing.

In the olden days, before technology became our friend and our taskmaster, photographers would provide a proof sheet, you’d select the images you wanted, and they’d give you actual prints. Easy and clear-cut. But things can get sticky online, where images can circle the globe with a few mouseclicks, and everyone’s eager to share things on their favorite social media outlet.

Nowadays, if you’ve paid a photographer a shoot fee, that’s just for them to come out and take photos; it doesn’t include any prints or usage rights – those cost extra. Even capturing an image from an online proof gallery to use on your Facebook page is a copyright violation, if you haven’t paid for that use and the photographer didn’t authorize it.

Why does that matter if it’s ‘just one photo?’ Here’s a little story told to me by a pro photographer a few years back:

When little Davey went to his first horse show, he posed on his pony for the show photographer. When the proofs went up at the photographer’s website, little Davey’s mom copied one of them (even though the website said not to), thinking ‘what could it hurt?’ She wanted to email it to his Aunt Mary, who thought it was SO cute she printed it out and showed it to all her neighbors. Sure, it was a little fuzzy and pixilated, but ‘what could it hurt?’ The photo went on Aunt Mary’s fridge, and little Davey’s mom never did get around to ordering a print from the photographer since, after all, they had the one she copied for free.

Six months later, Aunt Mary’s friend Sally was looking for a photographer to take pictures of her horses. She remembered the fuzzy picture of little Davey, and since Aunt Mary told everyone who the photographer was, Sally vowed not to hire that one, since she was sure to get fuzzy, pixilated photos!

That’s just one example of how a copyright violation can hurt a business, through harming its professional reputation. And, since a pro photographer has invested both time and money, in the form of education, experience, technology, and business overhead, using photos without authorization and without paying for them is like dipping directly into their bank account.

So how can you avoid violating someone’s copyright? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ask about copyright and usage fees upfront: Discuss with any photographer you’re planning to hire what their policy is around usage and copyright, and the fees for each. It’s also good to ask about ‘personal’ and ‘commercial’ usage, and keep in mind that commercial usage costs more, since you’re using it to make money.
  • Understand the difference between a personal use, and a commercial one: If you’re using an image to make money (e.g., advertising your stallion for stud services, or including an image on your horsebiz website), then keep in mind the photographer needs to get a slice of that pie, and know when you’re crossing the line. For example, if you’ve had photos taken of your beloved hunter/jumper for your living room wall, that’s initially personal. If later that year you decide to sell and upgrade to a new horse and want to use the photographer’s image to advertise your mount, that’s crossed the line into commercial use; you’ll need to contact the photographer to get permission and find out if there are any additional fees involved.

Sometimes you can find images to use in marketing that would fall under what’s called Creative Commons:

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation. (from the Creative Commons website)

There are a bunch of variations in Creative Commons usage rights, from full copyright to none at all. Here’s a great cartoon that clearly explains the Creative Commons license options; be sure to click through all four pages.

When in doubt about copyright, it’s always good to ask. While the best things in life might be free, professional photographs usually aren’t.

Many thanks to pro photographers Sharon Fibelkorn and Ceci Flanagan-Snow, both of whom I interviewed in 2009 for an article titled ‘But I Paid The Photographer! What Do You Mean I Don’t Own The Photo?‘ That article received an award at the 2010 American Horse Publications annual conference in 2010, and lots of chuckles from the audience when the title was announced. Thanks, ladies, for sharing your thoughts and knowledge with me!

 

Also – My apologies to the photog who told me a version of the ‘little Davey’ story above – if you read this and it’s you who told me, pls remind me and I’ll include a link to your site, too! 

Have you seen copyright violations in the horse world? Share your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #22!

Read other posts about photography by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Photography category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #20.

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52 Fridays – #20 Look For Ways To Reduce Pro Photographer Fees

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.

You might be saying ‘sure, I can reduce my pro photographer fees – I just won’t hire one!’ However, there are definitely times when you want to hire a pro. Here are some ideas for ways you might hire a professional equine photographer, but minimize the hit to your pocketbook.

  • Share the shoot fee: If you’re asking a photographer to come to your farm, stable, or place of horsebiz-ness, they’ll typically charge you a shoot fee. Ask him or her what that includes; sometimes you can share the shoot fee costs by inviting a friend, or even some of your customers, to take part in the shoot. Remember to ask the photographer about this when you’re making the appointment, and if they have any limits on number of horses, people, dogs, etc. being photographed for that fee.
  • Look for photographers wanting to build their portfolios: Talented beginners, or even experienced photographers adding equine work to their repetoire, will sometimes agree to a lower fee or even a swap if they’re looking to build their portfolio. Also look for photographers who do stock photography and are continually looking for new images. It helps if you have a gorgeous setting, spectacular or unusual horses, or something otherwise intriguing to that photographer so they’re interested in what you have to offer.
  • Ask about a shoot at a show or event: If you’re attending a show or some other event with your horse, ask the event’s official photographer if they’d be available for a shoot during the event, since they’re already there with equipment.

If you want to build a relationship with a photographer you like, ask them how you can get started with professional images without breaking the bank, and whether they have any suggestions.

And please, remember to treat photographers with the same courtesy you extend to any equine professional. Their job is to make you look good, so help them help your horsebiz:

  • Have the setting, horses, people, etc., groomed and ready to go for your appointment
  • Make sure you have assistants and ‘go-fers’ for the shoot – people who can do a last once-over of boots and horse noses with a towel, shuttle horses back and forth, or get a horse’s ears up with a crinkly plastic bag
  • Discuss financials upfront, and have payment ready at the time of the shoot
  • Respect copyrights and usage arrangements

Photographers have to pay their bills, too, and as we all know, both gasoline and camera equipment are expensive. While it doesn’t hurt to consider ways to economize, ultimately photography falls into the ‘you often get what you pay for’ category.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, each image representing your horsebiz speaks volumes to potential customers.

Do you have ideas for saving money on photography fees? Share your tips via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #21!

Read other posts about photography by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting the Photography category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #19.

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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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