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The Essential Resources for the Equestrian Photographer

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When choosing my career, I did not realise how much difference there would be between the types of photography we can do and the types of resources we need to complete a session. I certainly learned that the preparation for an equine photography shoot can be a bit different for other types of photography sessions.

Now, I have a much better grasp on what I need to have handy, so I can focus on my clients successful photo shoot.

If you’re just deciding whether to choose a career in equine photography, here are some really helpful resources (from books to gear) to help your photography business succeed.

The Manual of Horsemanship from The Pony Club.

This manual will help anyone, especially beginners in equine photography, learn about horsemanship. From understanding the people who love their horses to how they take care of them, this book helps you better understand the people and animals you will be working with. Not only that, but it also provides you with common terminology used in the field, so you’ll understand what your client is saying when they use horse jargon. Plus, you can speak to them in a way they already understand.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds by Susan McBane can help you better prepare upcoming sessions by giving you knowledge about the type of horse you’re going to work with. You’ll know what to expect, based on the breed of horse owned by your client.

If you are trying to find an area show, or even national shows, you can search for them at RidingDiary. Once you’re on the page, you’ll notice a search bar across the top of the screen. You’ll enter the region or county, month and event type. The website will give you all the information you need on upcoming events. Horse shows are great places to network and advertise your equine photography business.

Beyond these three great tools you can refer to over and over again, you’ll also benefit from having these resources available to you on the day of your session.

Wet weather gear – there’s nothing worse than being cold on a shoot. A good, warm and rainproof jacket is necessary to avoid suffering when it’s wet outside.

• Wellies or Walking boots – for the same reason as the jacket, these will keep your feet warm and dry. They also come in handy when you’re walking through wet, muddy terrain, even on days it’s not raining.

• Polo mints – to keep the horse smiling (and you!)

• Black or Brown Lead Rope – clients love brightly coloured and patterned lead ropes. For the photo shoots they sometimes forget to bring a plain one.

• Bucket of Nuts – these come in handy when you need to get the horse’s attention. Just shake them.

• An Assistant – always helpful unless you want to have the camera in one hand and bucket of nuts in the other

4×4 vehicle – after a long shoot, the last thing you want to worry about is being pulled out of your client’s yard by their tractor.

• Digital SLR camera

• Long zoom lens – ideally 70-200mm so you can stand back from the horse and let it feel more comfortable and natural while you’re shooting.

• Memory Card Space – at least 16GB, but the more you have the better.

• A Fully Charged Battery

• Clean camera – My camera is always filthy by the end of a shoot. Be sure to clean yours between sessions so you look professional and keep your camera in good condition.

If you are just starting out as an equine photographer, all of the above will definitely come in handy for you to stay comfortable and appear professional while you’re working with your clients. If you have a must-have item I haven’t listed, feel free to email me and let me know!