Are you looking after your clients?

In our last 2 days together on the 1yr Group Mentorship Course we will be squeezing in a lot. Not only will we have 2 photo shoots over the 2 days, we will also have a presentation from you guys, showing us your new portfolio and what you're business looks like now....

How are your clients finding you?

How often do you receive a phone call from a ideal client? Or do you occasionally get an email through your website, or maybe you're getting DM's through your social media and you just don't know why you can't get them on the phone and all they want to know is "how...

Marketing in 2021

Have you ever made a marketing plan before, or are you winging it? Do you know what a marketing plan looks like? We don't mean to sound condescending, but neither of us knew what a true marketing plan looked like before we were mentored.  Is this you at the moment? "I...

How are your clients finding you?

How often do you receive a phone call from a ideal client? Or do you occasionally get an email through your website, or maybe you're getting DM's through your social media and you just don't know why you can't get them on the phone and all they want to know is "how much is a shoot?". It's about your visibility. How are people finding you and what does your business look like when they do find you. If you're searching for a new pair of shoes and you Google "Timberland Style Boot". Let's pretend...

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Marketing in 2021

Have you ever made a marketing plan before, or are you winging it? Do you know what a marketing plan looks like? We don't mean to sound condescending, but neither of us knew what a true marketing plan looked like before we were mentored.  Is this you at the moment? "I have a friend on a yard who is recommending me to her horsey friends and I post on social media every day" I'm sorry to say, this is not a marketing plan and will not deliver the results you're hoping for. In some companies they...

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What are you waiting for?

If you've been following our recent emails you'll know that we are walking you through everything thats included in our 1 Year Mentorship Programme. This is the ONLY 12 month equine portrait mentorship in the entire world. Session 3 - It's all about the money baby! It's no secret that an artists biggest struggle is valuing their own work and charging people to do a job we absolutely adore. Let's change your perspective and how you view your price list. You deserve to be paid for your art, even...

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What do you feel your business deserves?

If you're anything like we were when we started, we looked like a deer in headlights and didn't know where to start. Our to-do list was ever growing and expanding and everything felt rather daunting. Thank goodness those days are over, although we still have a to-do list, they're filled with client work, exciting ideas and up levelling our creativity. At the start of each year we both write our business plan, goals and SWOT analysis. This guides us to our most important jobs and helps keep us...

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Do you know where to start?

Are you starting a new business or up-levelling your existing one? Do you know where to start? If not, let me tell you where our 1yr Group Mentorship Programme begins, and maybe this will help guide you. "Only you can take control of your business and future. No one is going to do this for you and by committing to a plan you are showing that you are serious about this"On our 1 Year Mentorship Course we have 12 full in-person days together over the year. These are crammed full of 'in-studio'...

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What your pricing says about you

Do any of these statements sound familiar?"I haven't even set up my business and I'm already overwhelmed"" I wish I'd started earlier""No one is even enquiring, so how am I meant to book a new client?""Even though I only charge £45 I'm still not getting bookings, so why would I put my prices up?" These are all completely valid thoughts and feelings and are very common for all of us. This is why Emily and Hannah run the Training Barn. Thoughts like this come into your head and try to get in our...

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Use this time wisely!

Ahhh, another day in isolation. To keep the morale up, we would like to offer some more ideas as to what you could be working on while staying safe at home.  On our list of ‘jobs to do’ is seeking out new influencers for our businesses. This may include riders, trainers, yards, shops, equestrian brands or maybe a magazine or equestrian website. Pin-pointing those influencers who can help your business thrive is a time-consuming process that needs careful planning- and what better time to do...

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The Surefire Way to Take Charge of Your Personal and Professional Development

You’ve worked hard and dreamed for ages, and you’ve finally done it: you’re a fully-fledged equestrian portrait photographer. So that’s that, right? All set, and you’ll be happy to be where you are now forever. Except, well…that’s not actually how it tends to work. By nature, we all seek out the next challenge, and as a self-starting creative type, you’re more likely than anyone to want that. So how can you continue to develop and grow, both personally and professionally, without totally...

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Ditch the Manual: Use Your Learning Style to Shoot Better Photos

Does anyone else ever feel like their camera’s manual is just…staring you down and totallyjudging you for never having read it? Just me? Nah, I didn’t think so. But honestly, who has the time or the inclination to sift through hundreds of pages of dry, technical information? Here’s the thing – everyone learns differently. For some people, reading the manual is the best way to get started with their camera. For others, learning by doing is much more effective. There are five basic learning...

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Money, Money, Money: How to Have the Chat That No One Loves

Is there anything worse than talking about money? (Okay, war and all that sort of thing aside, of course…!) First, you go through the agonising and uncomfortable process of actually setting your prices, and then you’ve got to talk about them to your clients, too. Just like horses, they can smell fear – and when they do, they start haggling. A fear of talking about money with clients tends to stem from one of two things – and sometimes a little of each. Either you’re generally insecure about...

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The 5 Common Mistakes New Equine Photographers Make

Every day behind a camera is a new adventure, but the best – and often, most frustrating – adventures come with a heaping helping of trial and error. We want to help you reach the next level as quickly as possible, so we’ve compiled some of the most common mistakes that we see new equine photographers making. Are you guilty? Not shooting RAW. Many new photographers rely on JPG files because they’re familiar with these as image files. But in doing so, you do yourself a massive disservice. JPG...

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The Backstage Pass: How to Get Behind the Scenes at Major Competitions – and Boost your Business, Too

If you’re a horse lover, the chances are that you’ve watched at least a little bit of top-level competition. Maybe you’ve tuned into Badminton or Burghley’s thrills-and-spills cross-country day; perhaps you’ve ushered in Christmas with Olympia’s showjumping spectacle. It may be that you’re a keen follower of equestrian sport, with a discipline of choice and a working knowledge of its major players and the rules of the game. Regardless of which camp you fall in, you may have wondered what it...

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You Know You’re an Equestrian Photographer When…

…you’ve long embraced the beauty of streamingservices, so you don’t keep any music downloaded on your phone – instead,you’ve got a couple of tracks of horses whinnying. Great when you need to get some errant ears forward on a shoot, less so when you turn your car on and immediately deafen your passengers with a rather fruity stallion serenade. …you know that size matters, but how you use it is more important – that’s lenses, of course. …in an effort to channel your inner Jon Stroud, FEI...

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Behind the scenes of a Shoot, Shadow and Shine Course

Do you wonder what it's like to join us on one of our Shoot, Shadow and Shine's? It's hard to get a really good idea from reading the booking page, although we spend a lot of time making sure its broken down and easy to understand. So here is a short slideshow of what it's like to join us on one of our Shoot, Shadow and Shine Courses. The layout of the 2 daysDay 1: We meet at the studio in the middle of the New Forest in Burley for a get to know you chat and a cup of coffee. After an...

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I Don’t Belong Here: A Primer to Impostor Syndrome and Why it’s Probably Lying to You

Remember that Talking Heads song, ‘Once in a Lifetime?’ You know the one – it starts with a long monologue telling you that you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife – but, the Talking Heads explain, we might find ourselves thinking that this isn’t our beautiful house, nor our beautiful wife, and frankly, how did we get here?! That’s kind of what imposter syndrome is like. No matter how astronomically talented a person is, they’re also a human being, with all the funny...

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The essential guide to influencer interactions

“What I really need is for someone to share my work –someone everyone knows. Then my business will really make some headway!” Hands up if you’ve had this very thought before – and the other hand up if you’ve dismissed the idea as being impossible to fulfil. Okay, now give us those wrists and let us give them a slap – because you’ve turned your back on chasing down amazing opportunities! You’re right – working with prominent people does make a big difference for a small business. But if you...

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Get in the habit of being creative

For better or for worse, our lives are largely carved out and structured around our habits. Breakfast at a certain time, daily chores and errands, how many cups of coffee?! (Still not enough, by our reckoning!) But your habits don’t have to just be the things you do on autopilot – you can create a ritual and a routine around the stuff that really lights your fire. Experts reckon that 21 days is the sticking point for making or breaking a habit – do, or don’t do, something for that long and...

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8 Tips for Maximising Your Office Space

How’s this for a dream: your own sprawling studio, dotted with your own beautiful photographs, a wall of inspiration, and plenty of space to store frames, samples, an endless array of lenses, and a viewing space for your clients, too. Some of you might be lucky enough to have just that – but even if your office and studio space has to fit into your home, you can make the most of it. Let’s be real – being a photographer is busy work. Balancing that work with all the real life stuff – you know,...

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The True Cost of Being an Equine Photographer

If there’s one surefire way to end a conversation with a horse person, it’s this: ask them to break down exactly what they’re shelling out for their four-legged friend every year. A hard yikes, right? But while it can feel so, SO tempting to ignore our version of the issue, as an equestrian photographer, you’ve got to be brave enough to face the music and crunch the numbers to find out the outgoings of what you do.   But why? Well, for one thing, it’ll help you with budgeting. But that’s...

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2020 in the Bag: How to Make Plans, Not Resolutions

Are you guilty of New Year-itis? Do you head into January determined to make major changes throughout your life – fewer calories, more exercise, a thriving bank account, all the usual suspects? It feels like the pressure’s on, right? Like everyone around you is making these lofty resolutions and shouting about them from the rooftops. But here’s something to ponder: only 8% of New Year’s resolutions end up with any sort of follow-through. Kind of a grim statistic, isn’t it? Here’s why: most...

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Busy is a decision

By Hannah Freeland I had an epiphany recently while one a long drive to a shoot. I spend a lot of time in the car, travelling from one place to the next, and I wanted to make sure that this blank space in my schedule was being put to work – for me. So like many people, I’ve turned to podcasts, and picking and choosing the right ones has been a fantastic way to work on my mindset, stay positive, and keep my passion – for work and for life – alive. I regularly have little ‘eureka’ moments while...

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3 Top Tips to Prepare Yourself, Your Business, and Your Client for a Shoot

You’re a professional photographer, and that means that the experience of having a shoot with you is about more than just the fabulous images your clients will enjoy at the end – it’s also about the experience of the shoot day itself. Everything needs to be smooth, polished, and easy – and that takes preparation. Today, we’ll be discussing the three absolutely essential tips for making sure everyone is prepared for shoot day. Ready? Let’s do this! Tip #1: Make sure you’ve got the need-to-knows...

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The 7 Things You Need to Know to Make a Deal-Closing Website

No matter who you are or what you do, if you’re self-employed or own your own business, you absolutely must have a website. It’s totally and completely non-negotiable – but if you outsource the job, it can also be eye-wateringly expensive. Fortunately, site-builders like Squarespace make it easier than ever to build your own – and we’re here to help you get it right. Your website has one primary purpose: it’s there to convince potential clients that they shouldn’t look any further than you for...

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Figure out your ideal client- and attract them easily!

This blog is super important if you want to understand exactly how to target and attract your ideal client.Early on in your career, you might think that any client is a good client. And that’s not entirely wrong – many of the clients you book will be brilliant, even if they’re not quite who or what you expect. But it’s absolutely vital that you know who your ideal client is. So, what exactly do we mean by the ideal client? Basically, this is the perfect human being you would...

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How to grow your database

One of the most common questions we’re asked by the Training Barn delegates is probably one that you’ve mulled over a few times yourself: just how, exactly, do you go about growing a sizeable and authentic database of leads who – and this bit is crucial – actually want to buy your photos? We love this question, because there are so many ways to answer it. Here are ten of the best ways we’ve found... 1- First of all, make sure you’ve got a sign-up form on your website. This is...

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Embrace the indescribable magic of Autumn

There’s nothing I love quite so much as autumn. There’s something about that first moment that you step outside, when you can feel something different – something crisp, and full of promises in the air, that really speaks to my soul. The smell of it, the burnished colour of the leaves, the watery, golden light. F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that “life begins all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall”, and I, for one, am completely and utterly with him there. From a photography point of...

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7 creative ways to market your photography business

Wouldn’t life be great if we could just go out and do what we love – photograph horses, of course – all day long, without having to worry about all the legwork that goes with it? I don’t know about you, but marketing our businesses used to be one of the jobs we’ve always felt the least inspired by. It’s time-consuming and it’s frustrating, particularly when it feels like no one is responding to your efforts. But we’ve put some serious work into honing our marketing strategies, making them work...

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Picking the right influencer

Let’s start from the very beginning. What’s an influencer? This is a trusted person within the equestrian industry. For example, a show jumping trainer, a tack shop owner or an owner of a local livery yard. These are people who have built up their equestrian businesses and are trusted and followed by their customers. A great influencer will also be a successful business person and have many contacts who are your ideal client. You need to make sure that your influencer has a following who would...

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What does your confidence say about you?

By Hannah Freeland There are many ways to show your confidence or lack of it, it could be your wardrobe, your language or maybe the way you hold yourself. Today I want to talk to you about showing your confidence in the three areas that are the most important in order to succeed in this industry. Confidence in your imagesConfidence in your service Confidence in your prices Confidence in your images Ok, I'm starting with the obvious, confidence in your images. Without this your business is...

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3 Top tips to falling (back) in love with your business.

As we walk through the trenches of our business, it can be easy to forget the excitement and fun our clients feel about booking us When we get tied up with thinking about the accounts, editing styles, processes and workflows all the way through to updating software and making sure our insurance stands up to the task, we can quickly forget about the magical concept that it is being an equine photographer. We have some top tips to drag you out of the funk and into the fun. First of all, let me...

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How I Overcame my Fear of Selling to Clients (and How You Can, Too!)

You know what sucks? Fear. Throat-clenching, cold sweat, tingly fingers fear. It makes you lose your train of thought, stumble over your words, and it takes all the conviction out of your up-sell. It’s the reason that basically no photographers likes the hard sell. But you know what? It’s also totally universal, which means that everyone has had to find a way through it – and I want to fill you in on mine. But first of all, there’s something I need you to acknowledge. Say it out loud, write it...

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Starting a photography business on a budget

Hands Up – who is on a budget or knows they don’t want to chuck their savings at a new business? First of all, it’s true that you can create a sustainable and profitable business from photography. We promise you; it can be done, and it can be fun. Hard work, but fun! Second of all, this can be equine ONLY photography – yes you heard me right, you don’t need to fill in the gaps with Christenings, Weddings or Landscape photography, if you don’t want to. If you get your business and photography...

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4 Top Tips to Make Your Portfolio Work for You

Putting together your portfolio can be one of the toughest parts of setting up, and maintaining, your photography business. It’s the first thing a potential client sees, after all, and it’s the primary factor that helps them decide whether they’ll book you. So how do you make it do the hard work for you? Tip 1: Don’t Strike Blind The key is getting into your client’s head. It’s so valuable to identify who your ideal client is – their demographic, their tastes, and their budget – so you can...

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Why I Charged £90 for a Whole Shoot – and I’m Not Even Sad About It!

Let’s take a trip down memory lane – right back, in fact, to the birth of my photography business. Back in 2006, I owned and ran my own graphic design company. And when I say I ran it, I mean I really ran it – everything from setting it up, to teaching myself how to keep a business afloat, to doing all the admin before I finally brought in a team to support me in the trenches. And you know what? It was great fun, and I was able to work with some wonderful clients on projects I was really...

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Your First Photoshoot: The 5 Things You Need to Nail It

Let’s get real for a second: taking on your first-ever photoshoot is scary. You haven’t built up a safety net of confidence yet, and as a result, you’re plagued by doubts: can I actually deliver images my client will like? Am I going to be chatty and encouraging, or will we both find it painfully awkward? And what – heaven forbid – do I do if my equipment malfunctions? It’s so easy to let these doubts stop you before you’ve even begun. But here’s the thing – everyone feels them before their...

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Working 9-5…or Beyond? Simplify your Workflow with these 5 Tips!

Okay, fellow creatives, hands up if you’re guilty of project-hopping. You know what I mean – you start working on something, only to be struck by a new idea or a burst of inspiration for one of your other projects. You change tasks – just briefly, you tell yourself – and before you know it, you’re two hours into a Pinterest rabbit-hole, gathering tutorials and inspiration for a stylised photoshoot you’re planning with three racehorses, a castle, and Madonna, if her schedule allows for it. It’s...

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The 7 Things You Need to Know to Make a Deal-Closing Website

No matter who you are or what you do, if you’re self-employed or own your own business, you absolutely must have a website. It’s totally and completely non-negotiable – but if you outsource the job, it can also be eye-wateringly expensive. Fortunately, site-builders like Squarespace make it easier than ever to build your own – and I’m here to help you get it right. Your website has one primary purpose: it’s there to convince potential clients that they shouldn’t look any further than you for...

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The Three Life Lessons You Won’t Want to Learn the Hard Way

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: photographers never, ever stop learning. We’re a creative bunch of people, which means that we’re naturally curious – and that curiosity drives us to constantly question the world around us, to explore new techniques, and to try to improve and streamline our own practice. But constant learning – especially if you’re self-employed – isn’t always about those ‘eureka!’ moments when you discover something that totally changes the way you shoot, or...

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Building your best portfolio

The presentation of your images is one of the most important things you can spend time getting absolutely perfect.  When a prospective client comes across your website, one of the first things they will do is look at your portfolio. They will have a rough idea in their head of what kind of style of images they want.  One thing that many photographers do is overcrowd their online portfolio. This is the WORST thing you could possibly do. The client will look through the first 20...

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Be different: Go the extra mile

Here's a handy tip for you. Always leave 20 mins at the end of a shoot to be really creative. Go through the process of photographing your client and their horse on their yard. In your head, you have finished creating the standard imagery that you know will sell and you know your clients will be totally in love with.... Now spend the next 20 minutes being super creative and trying different things. You might want to look at Pinterest- look at images that really inspire you, images that are a...

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Don’t spend hours editing!

Just a quick one today. Because we get asked this question a lot..."How long do you take editing your images?"Our answer is almost always the same... "If we shoot for an hour, we edit for no more than an hour" Imagine this: I have shot a set of images that have an obvious distraction in the background. I spend the next 3 hours alone editing that object out each of the images I want to show to my client.  The client shows up to the viewing, picks her images for her album and frames-...

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Capturing that connection

We are absolute suckers for that cute, cuddly shot. The ones that make you feel like you are like a fly on the wall. The horse and owner are having this beautiful cuddly moment in between poses, and you just keep clicking...it should be as if you aren’t even there. To get this kind of shot, you need to shoot tight to eliminate any distraction from the background. Keep focused on the pair having that interaction. Usually owners hands are soft, the horse's ears may not be pricked, but the...

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Styling

More often than not, your clients have no idea what to wear on their photo shoot- what looks good? What goes with the location? What goes with the horse? It's helpful to give your clients a rough styling guide- it will ensure they are more confident in choosing outfits if you direct them towards them. If you haven't already, start to think about what you like- is it the typical country style? Tweed, wax jacket, long boots... you get the gist. If you'd rather be more general, tell clients what...

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Learn how to work that location!

Picture this- you arrive at a yard. All you can see is a flat grass field and an average stable block- and you panic! "Where on earth am I going to place my clients?!" You then just fluff your way through the day with no idea where to direct yourself- let alone your client. The proof is in the pudding- we have created awesome shots from all sorts of locations, from a flat field with electric fencing, to the most magnificent yards you have ever seen. This is because we have become experienced...

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Posing, posing, posing!!

This comes up time and time gain- many delegates feel like they're lacking in confidence- you have the perfect horse, owner and location- but just don’t know how to work it, and don’t know what to do with the subjects. You start to feel pressure that your client is expecting you to start taking photos- so you just end up taking photos that aren’t well planned or executed, and when you get home, you’re disappointed because it didn't quite work. This all comes down to lack of confidence in...

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Don’t miss those unplanned moments…

Unplanned moments can sometimes make the BEST shots! If you are too busy changing your settings on your camera or fiddling around trying to find a snack in your bag- you will miss these moments! They often happen when you have shot your main set of images, and you're just about to put your camera down. Then something funny or cute will happen...the image below is a prime example! Hannah had just finished a lovely set of images with this owner and her horse in the stable. She went to move the...

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Become the director!

We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Over the years, we have become pretty hot on this! It is so so vital that you direct your clients into the exact poses you want, or often your descriptions will get lost in translation! So, lets set the scene... You see a gorgeous location that you think will be perfect for your client and her horse. There is a cute little log in a beautifully lit area in the woods. You can envisage exactly what you want...the client to sit on the log, with her...

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Get to recognise natural props

When you train you eye to really see the best of your area, you are already winning! Try and work out how it what you can use around you, and how it will look with a horse and owner in it... Natural framesThis is the art of spotting natural areas that can frame your subjects. Overhanging trees, walkways, stables/barn doors, archways, leading lines..... these are all key things to look out for, and more often than not, you will have access to plenty at your client's yard.  Here are some...

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The BIG secret… find a square!

This is something I didn't even realise was a secret until really recently. I was teaching a group of delegates on location and said to them...'don't forget to find your square!!'.... The fact that I was met with 6 blank faces made me realise they had NO idea what I was on about! SO, when shooting at a client's yard, I am always looking for locations that are roughly 2m x 2m- a square. As you can see from the image below, we have scouted a barn with lots of straw bales. However, I don’t want...

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Be prepared for your shoot

The most important lesson I ever learned is to NOT be underprepared! I remember when I turned up to one of my first shoots, and halfway through my battery died....but I had NOT packed a spare!! Embarrassingly, I had to borrow a camera off one of the guests at the party... I have never forgotten this, and it taught me to be over-prepared, if anything! Before you leave for a shoot, make sure all your kit works- this may seem like a REALLY obvious thing- but if you turn up and your...

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Kate and Michael, April 2018

We took our delegates to a shoot on location with Kate and Michael. And what a beautiful spring morning it was! We went out onto the open forest to capture them, their two horses and their little dog! Kate and Michael were great fun and the delegates loved photographing them. Some really special moments were captured between the pair and their horses- great practice for our delegates!

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Lauren and Phillip, April 2018.

Lauren and her partner Phillip modelled for The Training Barn for this gorgeous shoot back in the spring. We photographed Lauren a few years ago, so it was lovely to see her again- with a new horsey addition! Lauren rides on the GB endurance team, and has done for some years. She has such a wonderful bond with her horses and it comes across amazingly on camera. This shoot allowed our delegates to get to grips with photographing a couple- always a different angle than photographing a mum and...

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Putting the right people in the right job

Branding - we made a mistake! So we thought we would open up to you guys and let you in on a mistake that we made. Please learn from us and trust your gut! It was a crisp summer evening, with the sun streaming through the studio window and a well earn’t peppermint tea in hand… only kidding we can’t set the scene as well as this, but basically we had just finished a 2 day training course and were reflecting on our brand and following. We had made a decision that our brand (you remember the dark...

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Fay and Bengal, November 2018

What a GORGEOUS time of year this is!! We recently took our awesome team of year-long mentorship delegates to photograph Fay and her majestic 18 hand dressage horse Bengal, on the Ornamental Drive in Rhinefield, the New Forest. This place is renowned for its stunningly tall redwood trees and evergreen forests- the perfect location for an autumnal shoot on location.   We were a little worried before this shoot, because the forecast was for rain- and lots of it. Once we arrived however, the...

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Emily and Sue, April 2018

Emily and her mum, Sue, modelled for us earlier this year with their horses Charlie and Otto. Their bouncy pooch Murphy joined in too! We spent the afternoon at Smugglers, on the New Forest. The weather, although threatening serious rain with those black clouds, ended up staying sunny long enough for us to get some awesome shots. Emily and her mum, Sue, have such a lovely relationship. It makes it so much easier to photograph a mother and daughter when they are close like this. It was a really...

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Laura, Cecil and Daisy, October 2018

Another glorious Autumn shoot under our belts. We took our 3 day course delegates to Laura's yard to photograph her with her two homebred warmblood horses, Cecil and Daisy- and what beauties they are! It's as if they've been modelling for years! We were so lucky to have the use of Laura's extensive home farm. The corrugated farm buildings made for the most beautiful textured backdrops- have you tried this before? It's not always the obviously beautiful buildings that make the most striking...

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