First things first, in case nobody reads below the first paragraph, I'm starting a new Equestrian Photography website at www.ndequestrian.com so please check it out for all of your horse photography needs. I'm focussing both on equestrian events (dressage, show jumping and cross country) and portraits of people and their horses - either alone, together, riding, playing, competing or any combination thereof. Or you know, if you don't even have a horse, I'm still into 'person' portrait photography as well! For now I'm building my portfolio, leaning on friends and friends-of-friends to organise photo shoots and attending local events. This set is of my friend Hayley and her horse Maddie, shot at Muriwai Beach on the west coast of Auckland.
I've previously made most of my 'good' photos while travelling, and then had trouble later finding things to shoot or entertain myself at home. My business travel has slowed down a lot lately, so I've been trying to get proactive in finding Auckland subjects instead. Since Abby has started riding and competing again this season I'm likely to attend a lot of equestrian events as a spectator anyway - which seems like a good opportunity to keep myself busy and find a new and interesting subject to shoot. Of course I'm hoping to bring some of my personal style and aesthetics to this subject, but also give people what they want or expect from equestrian photos.
I'm enjoying getting into Equestrian photography, but it has the side effect that I must also learn more about horses, which is not as easy as you might expect. I can walk around a horse and photograph it in a nice light and angle like any other subject, but their behaviour and posing is new to me, and not entirely logical! Luckily I have plenty of people to educate me in this, and help with manoeuvring and posing the horses as we walk around. Mostly I concentrate on the view through the camera and try and avoid getting kicked in the head. The main problem so far has been that horses tend to do their own thing and look at whatever interests them - it was quite hard to get Maddie to point her head in any particular direction, or even stand still in one spot, let alone look at the camera on command! Next time I might have to bring some carrots.
Hayley and Maddie were great to photograph, and both of them were very patient while I tried out different angles, locations and poses. The thing I found most challenging actually was choosing afterwards in which photos Maddie looked prettiest! I hope I can make a competent portrait of a person already, but I can't yet interpret what different horse expressions mean, or which poses people will like better than others. So far, I can tell that 'ears forward' is good and that's about it it. Certainly not all of the shots I took were keepers, but overall I think it turned out pretty well and I had a good selection to give to Hayley. Definitely looking forward to trying again soon and improving my craft.