People are often curious to find out about life as an equine photographer and, whilst my light-hearted reply is often “all you need is a lot of patience, a sense of humour and super human strength!”, that is not so very far from the truth!
As an equine photographer, I find that life can be a roller coaster full of fun, laughter and sometimes tears. I am privileged enough to meet some lovely clients and I get to spend time with lots of beautiful horses, sneaking in cuddles whilst feeding them carrots! I travel to absolutely stunning locations spending time in our glorious British countryside and no two days are ever the same.
It’s a wonderful career but it can be all consuming with the necessary admin, marketing, networking, editing and planning going on behind the scenes! I invest a great deal of myself into my business and I hope you can see my passion shining out in my photography. In reality, you may be surprised to find out that I actually spend more time working on the clerical side of my business than photographing. But I wanted to share with you my favourite part of owning an equine photography business: the photography session!
Preparation is king!
Preparation for each of my photography sessions begins well before the day of the shoot. Emails, questionnaires, messages and phone calls are exchanged in order to ensure that each and every client session is a treasured experience. I do my best to answer any questions and send as much information as I can prior to the day of the shoot so everyone knows what to expect on the day. That includes reminding clients to have their outfits and any props at the ready and that they may like to bath their horses so that they put their best hoof forwards for their session!
On the day of any photography session, I always awake excited. Even after twenty years of being a professional photographer, I still get those familiar butterflies in my stomach! I’m a perfectionist at heart so I always make sure I’ve planned as much as I can for every eventuality, including the mundanities of life such as checking the weather, and journey times etc… as well as ensuring all the equipment and lighting is in perfect working order.
The Big Day
On the morning of the shoot, I set off with my camera bag full of tricks, treats, the obligatory camera, a note book and a pen. The notebook and pen allow me to take notes on the location – when I arrive I like to take a little time to scout around for interesting backgrounds and colours to serve as a backdrop for the photography. The next thing I do is simply observe – the relationship between each horse and owner is unique so I like to watch them together and get to know them so that I can truly capture their essence. My sessions are usually around three hours long to accommodate for outfit changes, different locations and breaks. Breaks are essential to ensure the welfare of the horse and are also a wonderful time for a cuppa and a cake. I don’t really need much of an excuse to open the cake tin and have a chat!
This is where the hard work really begins. The day after the session, the images are downloaded, backed up and then the editing and processing begins! Editing and processing can be time consuming but ultimately rewarding as when I have finished, the end result will be a beautiful set of photographs ready for my client to view.
The viewing session is the day that clients are invited to my studio in Lancashire to view a magical slideshow of their photographs. I am also happy to travel to clients’ homes with my laptop and projector if that is easier for them. The viewing can be an extremely emotional experience for both my clients and myself – seeing photographs that capture all the love you feel for your best friend can be quite overwhelming.
During the viewing, I guide my clients through the entire process. Selecting the photographs is very personal but I always remind clients to choose photographs they absolutely love. I also help them choose how to display them. All the albums, print boxes and frames that I use to display my artwork are crafted by master craftsmen and have been handpicked by me, and, though I say so myself, they are pretty special!
I also use the finest archival paper in the UK for my artwork because I believe that the photography I create for my clients should last a lifetime. My wish is that, as they go about their busy lives, my photography catches their eye, causes them to pause for a moment, smile and remember a happy day spent with their best friend.
I hope you enjoyed this little insight into the world of Esther Marie!