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kalete 02-11-2010 12:33 AM

Equine Photography
Hi there,
I just had a question, I figured this was the best place to put it.

I've been taking pictures of dogs and people for friends of mine for a while now, but haven't yet made the leap to being paid for photography. Horses are my true passion, so my question to you guys is this...

Would you be interested in hiring a photographer to follow you around at a show? Just taking pictures of you and your horse, not like the official photographer who grabs one or two shots of everyone. My style of photography is 'photojournalistic', so it would end up being the story of your show day in pictures. My other idea was filming a lesson or something, so that you can see what exactly you're doing while on your horse.

I figured prices would be relatively low, say $50-$100 to follow you at a show all day, and you'd get a CD with images on it then.

Does this sound like something you'd be interested in? Why or why not?

Thanks very much!

nrhareiner 02-11-2010 12:44 AM

NO if you want to be a pro photographer you are better off working on prospective at a show. Contact the show promoter and see if they have a photographer. If the do not ask if you can do it. All you would need is a place to set up an assistant to take orders and some examples of your prints. I shoot on prospective at many many shows. I am the official photographer for many shows if you are good even at a schooling show you can come home with $500+ for a days shoot.

If the show has a official photographer you will not be allowed on the grounds normally. Also if you are going to spend all day at a show and only come home with a $100 stay home. I will not even leave my house for less then a $100 sitting fee. Now this can be a good way to get going. However in reality get with a schooling show and become their official photographer. You will learn so much more about what clients want if you have never taken any classes for photography. There is so much more then just pointing and shooting.

CecilliaB 02-11-2010 07:56 AM

Honestly $50-$100 is not worth your time. If you edit at all then thats just crazy talk. I charge $500 for a CD of high res files from my portraits sessions and thats roughly 30 fully edited images...and thats on top of my session fee. But I can spend a good 5+ hours editing a single session.

I totally agree with what nrhareiner said. Start little and work your way up. It's legal for you to practice at public shows. There will usually be a noticed posted. There are also larger photography companies that travel to horse shows and higher photographers and provide equipment.

I wanted to get into equine event photography but when I realized the travel time and expense not to mention the ordering system I would have to set up with client it just wasn't workable with my two small children and a husband who deploys or has to leave for training. I am going to work on expanding my business into private portrait work for horse owners! That might be a way for you to start :)

Honestly the photography part of a business is fairly straight forward. You will spend about 70% or more of your time marketing yourself till you get established!

kalete 02-11-2010 10:58 AM

Thanks for the responses!

I have a really, really crappy job, and I only make about $200 a week, so $100 for me is about the same as 20 hours of work. I totally understand where you guys are coming from, though, and the last thing I want to do is undercut another photographer who only has that to support themselves.

I think I am going to get in contact with a local barn to see what schooling shows are in the area. I was considering doing that with some sort of online ordering system.

Thanks again for your time.

gogirl46 02-11-2010 11:35 AM

I would not pay you. You said you have experience with people and dogs. I would want you to have experience with horses too. If you want, follow a friend to a show and take pictures. But I would need examples with horses before I even thought of hiring you. So get experience shooting horses first.

I am the unofficial photographer for my farm's jumper shows. I take pictures for fun and put them on FB then people get tagged by my sister or someone who knows who it is and then they save it to their computer. I don't get paid but they all love their photos and I'm okay with it since I do not offer photographic services yet (and I will not until after college)

But basically, get experience with your subject. You wouldn't hire a wedding photographer to shoot pictures at a football game without prior experience, would you?

CecilliaB 02-11-2010 08:29 PM

I use portfoliositez and they have a shopping cart you can set up attached to your password protected galleries :)

PaintsPwn 02-12-2010 01:17 AM

Wow, I've learned a lot by reading this! I've been wanting to photograph horse shows for quite awhile but I had no concept on how to get started. Thanks for giving me some ideas!

nrhareiner 02-12-2010 02:06 PM

I custom print EVERYTHING up to the point of the 24X36 and larger prints that some clients want. Those go to a custom print shop I use.

You really have to have a good system set up to keep track of each rider and each image. B/C NO ONE at a horse show has the time to sit and look through a 1000 images which is about what you will shoot at a larger show.

my2geldings 02-12-2010 03:28 PM

Your thoughts were genuine but I honestly don't think that you would be able to make it work. The only way that this option would work is through your local boarding where it would be seen as a favor on your part to follow them around and snap some pictures.

Most shows have a professional photographer already in place so you would be stepping on a lot of toes by showing up and offering any kind of photography and as far as taking this forward, you will need to have a portfolio, you will have to have a websites build, you will have to have taken a lot of promotional shots. Photography you first start out is a very expensive hobby.
Another problem is your camera. For anyone to take you seriously, you will need a very good machine which is going to cost you hundreds of dollars well into the thousands.

Photography is not for the faints of hearts.

One hundred dollars is a lot of money for someone who uses a point and shoot and has not been proven even as an amateur photographer. I would ask for less and pass the word around your barn. Ask for just enough money to cover for gas and offer to take some shots for free. Build a portfolio that way then pass the word around and ask for a little more cash.

Good luck!

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