Horses are beautiful and photography is ridiculously fun, rewarding, and easy to get in to, which results in a lot of equine photographers all around you! That means you have a choice to make; how do you do it? How do you find your one fish in the very vast sea of equine photographers?
The good news is, you are here, which means you already know you need an equine photographer, not a wedding photographer! 😂 That’s the most important thing. But there’s more to it, isn’t there?
First, make sure they are familiar with the kind of things you want photographed.
If you are a western pleasure rider, you probably don’t want a photographer who primarily photographs race horses. If you are looking for horse & rider shots, you want someone who is more familiar with portrait work than they are horse show photography. If you are looking for fine art shots such as black backgrounds, you are going to want someone who has a lot of that in their portfolio.
That last bit, the portfolio bit, is the easiest way to answer this question typically; if they photograph a lot of what you want and they do it to your liking, then your answer is right there!
Second, make sure their style is to your liking.
If you are wanting light and colorful photographs instead of darker ones, or someone who can dress you to the 10s and take incredible glamour shots, try to find a photographer who takes those kinds of photos. Again, the best way to know this is by looking at their portfolio! Most photographers will have a healthy selection of their work on their website and business social media.
Third, contact them and see if their pricing works for your goals.
I’ll let you in on a little behind-the-scenes secret… photographers tend to come in two forms; the kind that prioritize printing your images and the kind that don’t. While each can usually cross over to the other side pretty well, their pricing is usually set up for one or the other.
If you have a sales horse, you probably don’t need your images printed. So, if you find that a photographer talks quite a bit about printing your photos, ensure that they have a cost-effective way to get you the digitals. If you are getting a senior session done, make sure the photographer you hire is well-versed in how to guide you on what to do with your images so they don’t end up lost in a folder on a computer that will die in 4 years!
If you aren’t entirely sure what you want, you aren’t alone!
Reach out to them and ask them to talk you through what it is they do and what their process is like. More often than not, people think they know what they want until the expert (the photographer) comes to the table and helps guide you to what might work a little better.
Finally, as with anything, know that you get what you pay for.
The photographers who have their systems down and serve their clients really well won’t be cheap. On the flip side, the budget photographers may be all you think you need, but be warned; you get what you pay for.
Budget photographers often do not have insurance, adequate equipment, backup computers, assistants, or solid processes in place to get you what you need the first time around. Not all of them, of course, but many of them do run into issues with unhappy clients.
Quality ain’t cheap. I know it’s tempting to do it cheap or do it with Aunt Bet who has a nice camera, but take your time to chat with a few photographers and weigh your decision before you put down a deposit, sign a contract, or spend all this time getting ready for a session on your own.