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Choosing a career: how to retrain as a photographer

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With all the technology that is around us, you can see most people taking photographs, editing and uploading them via social media. So, people tend to assume being an equine photographer should be easy. However, making a living from being an equine photographer is completely different. You don’t just take a photo, add a filter and make an instant profit! 

Here’s some info and tips you should know about how to effectively retrain as a successful UK equine photographer:

#1: What an equine photographer needs to do:

You’ll need to take pictures- and lots of them. But you need to plan the ideal locations to place your subjects, find the perfect lighting AND make sure your timing is impeccable- missing that one shot by half a second could be the difference between a horse with his ears forward and his ears flat back! But it doesn’t end there.

An equine photographer will also spend hours editing photos to ensure they are attractive to the client in order to make the sale.

And if you’re going it alone, you’ll also need to make some time to take care of the marketing of your business. This could include the upkeep of your facebook/twitter/instagram page, as well as press releases and making new connections to really get you business known and your name out there!

#2: The skills you need to have:

There are some skills that are vital to being a great equine photographer:

– Computer software skills: Using a great photo editing software is a MUST. The better you are able to use it, the better your photos will be. If you feel your skills in this department are a little shabby, take the time to watch tutorials or invest in some training- it could be the difference in a successful or unsuccessful viewing!

– Familiarity with the equipment: Make sure you know your camera well. You need to understand everything that it is capable of doing. So practice practice practice at every spare moment you have- photograph your family and friends to experiment with light and location as well as your camera settings- and it always helps if they have a horse or two handy!

– Advertising and marketing: When you’re putting all your energy into your equine photography business, you need to take the time to market it. Showing some of your best shots or highlighting your photography style may be a good choice- social media is perfect for this as you can gauge the popularity of your shots through the feedback you receive from your followers- this is invaluable to you and will certainly help improve your photography!

#3: The qualities you need to have:

– Persistence: There’s always something new to learn and I can say, from experience, that you NEVER stop learning- both about yourself and your capabilities as a photographer. Develop your personal business skills and improve your photography skills- this is what will allow you to be the best equine photographer

– Confidence: You’ll come across a vast range of clients, all with different personalities and views on your work and how you ‘should’ run your business. You need to stay grounded, stay true to what you believe, and find a way to best deal with your clients in order to keep them happy whilst always looking professional and maximising your profits. Remember- NEVER give a product away because someone asks you to- be proud of your work and know you’ve earnt your worth!

– Creativity and Adaptability: Try to put your own creative spin on your photos. Give them a special “look”- This is how you can stand out. Be on the ball so that you can quickly change a location or a shot as hassle-free as possible. This will show your clients you are versatile and can think on the spot.

#4: Special education:

There is no need to take a bachelor or a masters’ degree in photography- if you have the talent, then run with it! However, it can be useful to study in an area related to business, since you’ll be running your own. Online courses are available as well as free tutorials across the internet which should be used to their full advantage!

If you want to keep developing your photography skills (as you should), similarly, there are online courses and workshops you can attend, including the ones run by myself which can be found on the training barn website. Courses like these are aimed at improving specific areas for photographers of all levels and will give you the confidence to go out there and dominate your market.

#5: As with any other career, being a professional equine photographer has pros and cons:

* Pros:

– You already enjoy photography so you’ll be working in a job you love, which unfortunately isn’t very common- think of yourself as lucky! You’ll also be providing joy to your clients as they will be able to cherish special memories with their horses for years to come- and it’s all down to you!

– Through networking, you’ll be able to meet new people, just like you, who enjoy photography and share your journey with them- I can say, hand on heart, that my photography friends are the ones who have got me through the highs and lows over the years!

* Cons:

– To be successful equine photographer, you need to stand out. Sometimes, it can be really hard to achieve your niche market, but practice makes perfect and if you work hard enough, you will surely get there!

– There are always concerns that photographers don’t earn as well in the beginning. But it’s the same with all small businesses- the start is the hardest part, and you need to be prepared to deal with times of stress and little work. Once you get the testimonials and your name is well and truly out there, you will be turning clients away because you’re so busy! Perseverance is key!