I popped up to visit one of my new equestrian show centres recently, primarily to catch up with a client but also with the intention to have a bit of ‘me’ time at a show for once. I spend so much time during the year officially photographing that I don’t get a huge amount of time to actually watch. Sounds odd, right? But it’s a bit like when you are videoing someone, you are so busy concentrating on keeping everything together your brain fails to take in the actual story sometimes!
Enjoying what you shoot is really important if you don’t like what you’re doing it’s really easy to get into a downward ‘boredom’ spiral and your images suffer – which for me means my clients suffer and that just can’t be allowed to happen. When I get opportunities like this to observe without pressure it’s fabulous to watch the way the horse is really moving and the moments that pass between the horse and rider.
Although that said, much like a horse rider who’s at a show but without their horse, there are clearly moments when I watch the on-site photographer that make me wish it was me back in the ring too!
With my preferred style of photography, I generally like to find the quieter shots, the natural moments where no one is asking for something specific to happen. These are also the images my clients respond the best too. Yes, they love their posed shots and they always feature heavily within their portfolio, but there’s something more intimate about the images that are created in this natural way. There’s an atmosphere about them that just can’t be replicated with a setup shot.
I’ve never been the gung-ho ‘round them up and get the group shot’ photographer that you see at events, of course, I’ll do it if requested but it’s not for me on the whole.
I once did a personal shoot for a customer with a difference, I followed her and her super hairy Highland for a day at a show, with images from behind the scenes, to the ringside and back and relaxing and the aftermath. Of course, I couldn’t get the shots from inside the ring I’d normally do when freelancing but the response to the overall collection floored me. My wonderful clients still talk about those images and these people have had some pretty hefty National results and will have image after image in their house and on their tack room walls from prestigious locations.
For me, it’s about creating something familiar and yet naturally authentic.
Have a fabulous week!