For my first blog, I thought it would make sense to chat a little about how I got into equine photography and give a few bits of advice for those looking into a career in the industry.
I often get asked how I’ve made it work in what is a crowded and competitive industry. And it would make my ‘story’ more informative if I’d made a plan and could tell you it. But that’s not the case unfortunately!
As a bit of a back story, I’ve been riding since before I could walk and in my teenage years, found my passion for showjumping and have stuck at it ever since. Growing up, I’d often be found taking photos of our horses with my mums compact camera, and also of friends at shows we were at. I always loved seeing people’s reactions to photos I took of their horses and this is something I still thrive off. By 16, I’d already been asked if I’d like to photograph my Pony Club’s camp and had had a great reaction to the photos I was providing.
By now, I was looking at career options and was stuck for which direction to go. My school was very encouraging of students going onto university and the idea of finishing school and going into self employment was unheard of, and quite frankly, discouraged. At this point, I’d bought a new horse who was looking extremely promising (just so happens to be my best horse and partner of 7 years, Clio!) and wanted to be able to commit to my Showjumping and give our partnership the best chance. I therefore had no interest in going to university, picked up some part time work and pushed the photography business.
I gradually picked up more work, particularly through word of mouth, from various local pony clubs and event organisers.
In 2014 and 2015, I did some freelance photography for Spidge Event Photography, at BE events and Hickstead. I also remember photographing my first BS Grand Prix whilst working for them! I learnt huge amounts from my freelance work, and it’s something I really recommend to anyone looking into a career in event photography. It’s so insightful to see how other event photographers work and pick up any tips and advice from them.
In 2016, I had an awful riding accident, breaking both hips, my pelvis and coccyx and putting me out of the saddle for 6 months. I’ve always said I’m more of a horse person and photographer than I am a businesswoman or technological person, but if there’s one thing I made use of in my time off, it was putting work into the business side of things. Those months off gave me some time to build my brand and put some work into developing my website, marketing, advertising and social media.
Now in 2018, I’m so proud of how my business has developed, having been my sole income for the last 4 years now. I employ a number of regular freelance photographers to help me cover around 100 days of competition a year. We cover a range of events, from tiny children and tiny ponies attempting their first events, right the way up to top level, including Premier League dressage and Grand Prix. We also regularly provide imagery for publications such as Horse & Hound. Nothing beats seeing your work in print!
Something that I’ve been taking on more of this year is portraiture and commercial photography. I’ve really enjoyed working with some incredible businesses to provide them with photos for their websites, marketing and social media content.
I feel so lucky to be doing a job that I love, that fulfils my passions and that I can fit my own horses around. If you’d like to follow our journey and continue to see what we get up to, please follow our social media channels below!