Monday, December 10, 2012

Appearance Tips For Your Photo Session

Taking extra time to think about your appearance for your photo session can make the difference between liking your images and loving them. Plan ahead and avoid that last minute rush of throwing something together at the last minute. I have a  few suggestions and tips to help you decide your clothing options below. These are not rules, just some observations I have made and some of my personal opinions. Some of the "don'ts" may work for you and your style!


  • Always keep in mind that the camera shows more!
  • Unless your arms are toned, you should wear sleeves that cover past the elbows.
  • Dresses should be long enough for you to sit down.
  • Undergarments may show through clothing in images, so layer if needed.
  • V-necks are more flattering, as it slims and lengthens the neck.
  • Avoid polo shirts; I find that they are not very flattering.

  • I prefer the look of long sleeves on men in photos, but anything that is not too tight or too loose works.
  • Layering is always a good idea; it makes fast clothing changes for different looks.
  • Hint: If you are doing a session with your wife, mother, girlfriend, fiance; wear what they tell you to wear.

  • Clothing that coordinates together is better than matching outfits! Pick a color and work around that.
  • If you are going to wear jeans, try to get tones that are close.
  • Accessories are awesome but add them to help coordinate, not to distract.
  • They even coordinated with the horses
  • If it is cold out, don't be afraid to wear coats and other accessories, but keep to the other suggestions.

  • Wear clothes that fit properly; too loose or too tight should be avoided.
  • The focus of these photos are you, not your clothes! So try to avoid too bright or dark of colors.
  • Avoid loud prints, lettering, logos, and bright shoes.
  • Avoid putting a dark belt on top of a light outfit.
  • Always think of head to toe and the location your shooting!
  • Always keep in mind your location, weather and the look you want.

Clothing changes
Layering: The jacket can be removed for a different
 look, and the hat can be removed for yet another look.
Think about where you are going to make clothing changes ahead of time. In some places, there are spots to go and in others, you are in the wide open, so think of undergarments!

Don't forget to bring shoes for all the outfits! Also think of where you're going to shoot and if its doable to wear your cute heels to get there, or if you should bring a practical  pair of shoes to walk to the location in. If shooting in a outdoor location,  I recommend a pair of rubber boots to wear when moving from place to place.  They are easy to take on and off and provide some protection.

  • Men should be freshly shaved so five o'clock shadows don't show.
  • Hair should be nicely cut and colored. I recommend haircuts/color at least a week before.
  • Girls should have their eyebrows waxed/tweezed several days before so the redness isn't apparent.
  • Bring items for hair and make-up touch-up to your session!
  • Nails should be clean or manicured for everyone.  For girls, nail polish should be fresh or completely removed and not chipped.

Try to stay away from the pieces that "make your outfit a little cuter" and lean more toward the sentimental pieces. Chunky heavy jewelry may be cute, but it's very distracting and takes away from from the main subjects.

Use matte finishes and avoid make-up with sparkles and glitter, as they get in the way in the retouching process with the way they reflect light. If you hire a make-up artist, use one that has worked with photographers.

Always feel free to contact me for a free consultation before your session. If you want to add a stylist, make-up artist, or hairstylist that is always an option for your session.

How many outfits?
Bring as many as you want and I will help you chose.  I have a lot of expereince with what photographs well and what colors look good with skin tones and the location we are working with.  Don't think you have to wear everything, we will make the best selections together so pack as much as you can.  I love accessories!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Choosing a smart location!

When going to take pictures you always want to have a location in mind! Location, location location!  Although I may know of a great location, it might be overdone and I also love trying out new places that clients suggestConsider the style you're looking for and what your interests are.  Think outside the box and try something that hasn't been done before.  Another thing to consider is the willingness to travel to a spot. You may know of a wonderful spot, but if you have to go under a bridge, through a creek, and a mile down the road to get to it, you should check to see if it's safe to carry all the equipment through. If you're not sure, look for another place. Feel free to consult me about the location you have in mind if you are not sure. Take into account that some places might be crowded and you may feel uncomfortable posing in front of many strangers, so keep in mind what which would be better for you: public or private locations?

As for how many people will be in your photos, a small venue would be perfect for a small amount of people, but always keep in mind that your shoot should take place in a location that has plenty of room to move and different choices for different looks.

Wanting something unique? Scout a fun location!  To give you an idea, laundromats have been popular, but that is being overdone in my opinion.  Never assume you can just show up to a place you found and use it for your shoots. Ask if it's on someone's property and make sure you have access before the shoot!  Some locations may have restrictions or require permits, and some may charge fees. In some cases, I can take care of the permits, but all fees are the client's responsibility.

Make sure clothing coincides with the background. For example, if you are wanting to shoot in a very green, woodsy area, it would be best to avoid wearing green. I am more than happy to help you with clothing suggestions. Another thing to consider is the condition of your background. You want it to look clean and avoid telephone poles/lines, or other things that can clog up your photo. If you have your home in mind, find a place free of clutter, inside and out. Watch out for the time of day you are going to take photos. Where will the sun will be? I will not photograph you directly facing a full sun! That would cause you to squint and cast a  harsh contrast on your face. I prefer the sun to be angled behind, to your side,  or possibly the front.

With your horses:
I prefer - though it is not required - to photograph horses where they are stabled or a place they are familiar with, as they usually act better!

Places with full sun and preferably lots of sky is best for taking images of just your horse, but for horse/person portraits, shade is preferred, though not required. It's usually best to take conformation shots of your horse on well-manicured grass or on another flat, clean surface with a clean background with a lot of sky and no distractions. For horse/human portraits, long grass and trees are great! Inside the barn works great, too, but just make sure it is clear of clutter. The location should allow plenty of range so we can shoot far away using the 200 mm lens. 

I love cloudy days and even days with a slight drizzle, so please do not reschedule because of such conditions. When scheduling  always consider the weather and have a backup plan if rescheduling is not an option. If the weather plans for wind, does the location have a spot that would provide a good wind-block? In the summer, the morning is cooler and when we have very hot days, I will not do outdoor shoots any other time of day.  In the winter, mornings may be chilly, which I love, but dress accordingly.

Remember you, your family, and your pets are the main characters of the shoot, and, in most cases, the background is not.  Depending on the number of subjects, I will not need much background to make a good image. The light source is more important sometimes.

Your Checklist Summary:
1) Location: style, travel, weather, clutter
2) Coordinating Clothing
3) Light
4) Background
5) Safety
6) Main subjects
7) Consult with your photographer

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Remember Me Rescue Calendar

Remember Me Rescue is a small but big-at-heart organization that rescues, rehabs, or re-homes Thoroughbreds that have been on the track. Many times, owners and trainers of these horses contact Remember Me Rescue when they have a horse that is retiring from racing, injured, or just lacks the talent to be competitive on the track. Some of the rescues have been almost heroic, from the Many, LA rescue to the rescue of several Asmussen mares, in which - through a series of networking, donations, and hard labor from horse lovers around the county - dozens of horses were saved. Remember Me Rescue has quite the following on Facebook  and it's very touching how so many find ways to help, such as donations, finding transportation, and even the tremendous generosity of a well known owner to offer her credit card anytime in the case of a vet emergency.

I have taken countless trips to Remember Me Rescue and I have yet to see a horse without food or water.  Stalls are always clean and even the smaller pastures and turnouts are mucked daily.  Dallas and Donna are true horsepeople with talents that always amaze me, They are truly gifted in how they connect with horses and they have a passion for helping the ones in need.

Please help support Remember Me Rescue and take a look at some the beautiful and fortunate horses that have passed though the program in the past year by purchasing a 2013 Remember Me Rescue calendar for $29.95 plus shipping.  100% of profits will go to Remember Me Rescue.

2013 Calendars are 11" W x 18"L (image is 11 x 8,5) and priced at $29.95 plus shipping.
Click below to order your calendar.  Calendars will be shipping mid-November

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Barn Sessions!

Designed for boarding barns, training facilities or just a bunch of horse owning friends. 

  • Need an organizer.
  • Need a minimum of 4 horse owners.
  • Each session fee is per horse/owner combo. 
  • Each session will get a set time period.  How long depends on what we do.
  • Deposit is required.
  • Viewing/ ordering session on the same day.

Organizer: Can be the owner, manager or a client of the barn. Organizers can earn  discounted or even complementary sessions or products, depends on how many sign up for the session. Organizer will be the one to spread the word and get others to join in.  I will give the organizers material to help promote the event. They will also make sure everyone is ready for their time slot. They must get a minimum of 4 horse owners.

SAMPLE Session Price:
Session are fully customize to fit your barn's needs.   An example session: $99 -Includes 45 minutes of my time and a fun photo experience for you. You will also receive 2 fully edited/ re-touched 8 x 10 prints.  A $25 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot. I will not hold that slot until deposit is paid. Each session fee is per horse/owner combo. So if one owner has 2 horses, they will need to pay 2 session fees.

Viewing and choosing images:
All viewing will be done on-site immediately after each session. While I am shooting the next session, one of my assistants will help them choose your images. This session was designed to make it quick, simple, and to allow everyone to get their images as quickly as possible.

When and how will everyone receive their images?  They will received edited/ re-touched prints mailed directly to them.  

What if they like more than 2 images?  They may purchase additional images and prints at additional cost. 

May they  purchase more at a later date? Yes, but be sure to write down the image #'s of the ones they may want.   If they want them loaded online, there will be a $25 loading fee.

What if someone is running late? Please be on time. Because of scheduled time slots, we must stay on track of the assigned times. If you are running late, it will take away from your time in front of the camera. 

What if we are a bunch of friends and we do not keep our horses at the same place? No problem, we just need to find a location that everyone can meet at.

To set up a customized session email or call me at (940)367-4269

Mini Sessions - October 6, 2012

You asked for it, you got it.  Mini Sessions!
Details below
Reserve your slot at the bottom of page

The Details

Morning sessions will be at the FM 428 Greenbelt Access point, so if you have horses you may bring them and even do some trail riding when you are done.  There is a small usage fee that you will be responsible for. This location has fields, trees, bridges, and trails.

Afternoon session: I am still deciding on several Denton County parks.  It is a toss-up between Cross Timbers Park, North Lake Park, and Lake Forest Park .  Any input on your preference is welcome and will help me make my decision.

October 6, 2012
Morning sessions: 8:00am, 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am,
Afternoon sessions: 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 6:00pm, 7:00pm
6PM & 7PM session will be close to sunset, and dusk and will be a prime slot, so book early.

$99 -Includes 45 minutes of my time and a fun photo experience for you. You will also receive 2 fully edited/ re-touched images.  A $25 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your slot. I will not hold that slot until deposit is paid.

Viewing and choosing images:
All viewing will be done on-site immediately after your session. While I am shooting the next session, one of my assistants will help you choose your images. This session was designed to make it quick, simple, and to allow you to get your images as quickly as possible.

When and how will I receive my images?  You will received your edited/ re-touched images and print release electronically.  If you prefer them on a CD, there will be an extra $5 charge.

What if I like more than 2 images?  You may purchase additional images and prints at additional cost.

May I purchase more at a later date? Yes, but be sure to write down the image #'s of the ones you may want.   If you want them loaded online, there will be a $25 loading fee.

What if we are running late? Please be on time. Because of scheduled time slots, we must stay on track of the assigned times. If you are running late, it will take away from your time in front of the camera.

Coming soon:
 Barn Sessions! Please use the Paypal button below or call me (940)367-4269 with your CC info.  You may mail a check, but it may not reserve your spot in time.

Spots Taken: 9AM, 10AM, 11AM, 6PM

Reserve Your Spot
Reserve your spot here

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Equine Photography Tips- What is White Balance?

Have you ever taken a photo in an indoor arena that had an awful yellow tint, or maybe took a photo at sunset, hoping to get some nice warm colors, but it looks blue? The reason for this is your camera cannot determine what white is - you need to tell it what white is. For certain lighting factors, we need to adjust our white balance.  White balance may also be referred to as color balance or color temperature.

I find most people shoot  on Auto White Balance (AWB).  In this setting the camera has to guess what white is and does not always get it right.  Camera models have different locations where you can adjust white balance, but you may have noticed several icons on your camera- light-bulb, sun, clouds and a few others. These represent different light sources and will tell your camera what white is, so you get proper colors. Some cameras have a K setting, which allows you to fine tune your white balance. Each of these represent the color temperature that the light source emits. 
I keep mine set at K, and will adjust as needed.

White Balance is measured in Kelvins - color temperature in light sources.
1000-2000K - Candlelight
2500-3500K - Tungsten Bulb (reg light bulb)
4000-5000K - Fluorescent Lamp
5000-5500K- Flash
5000-6000K- Sunny
6500-7500K - Cloudy/Overcast
8000-9000K - Shade/ Heavy Overcast

Adjustment scale in Lightroom

The lower temperature is the blue/cooler side of the scale and the higher temperatures are on the yellow/warmer side.

Taking a few moments to adjust your white balance will result in proper coloring of your image with more vividness and saturation.  You are also able to get a little more creative with your photography by adding a little more warmth or coolness to your images.

The images below are all the same, but they were shot in RAW format rather than jpg, so I was able to adjust in Adobe Lightroom easily to demonstrate how color temperature can effect your photos.

Taken just before sunset in heavy shade, but the sun was peaking through the trees to give a little rim light.  This is the 1st shot I took right after shooting with several flashes, so the the temperature was manually set at ~5200.   The white looks a little blue in these and no warmth in the photo.
Being sunset, the camera cannot detect white. If I had the camera set to AWB, it would have more than likely turned out looking like this - looking very blue without warmth.

With a little adjusting in Adobe Lightroom, we added some warmth.  After taking this photo, I remembered to adjust my  white balance  to ~ 7500K so they all would have the warm glow from the sun setting.

To learn more about white balance and other ways to improve your photography check out Terri Cage Photography's mentoring and lessons

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wanted: Senior Reps for 2013

Now is the time to sign up to be a Senior Rep for Terri Cage Photography for the all upcoming 2013 Seniors!

What is a Senior Rep?  They are an outgoing, super energetic with an upbeat attitude who loves to be in front of the camera. You will have your senior photo session done early in their senior year, preferably before their senior year starts. We can even do it now when it is green and before the hot Texas summer sets in.
We do a 2+ hour session at no charge with as many fashion changes as you wish at a location of your choice or one of my favorites. You may bring props parents or your 2 or 4 legged friend.

What you have to do? As a Terri Cage Photography Senior Rep, you represent me and the images I have taken of you.  Show them to your friends, handout my cards and be excited about your photos.

iPhone Album App- Opens to a slide show!!
What's in it for you? Besides getting your free session you will also get a free iPhone app photo gallery. Don't have an iPhone or iPad, most phones that takes apps will work. You may also get a "look book" watermarked images to show to your friends. Don't worry the watermark won't take away from your photos. A free on-line gallery of your photos to choose your favorites from.  You will get up to10 digital images with a watermark to post on Facebook and a great collage for your Facebook cover photo. Great discounts on images or prints. Plus commissions and bonus images for everyone you refer that has photos done with Terri Cage Photography.

What is require besides your outgoing personality?
1.You must post consistently on Facebook and agree to keep a profile and/or cover photo taken by me throughout the year.  Since you will have other milestone images that you what to display as your cover or profile, that is fine as long as one Terri Cage Photography image remain.
2. You should be active at school and other activities.
3. You must love to have your photo taken!

How do you sign up?  Send an e-mail to tcage1@earthlink,net with the following information:
Name, school, and why you want to be a Senior Rep and what makes you stand out.

Be sure to to put TCP 2012 REP in the subject line. Hurry and sign-up, reps are limited to 1 or 2 per school and only 10 total.  Any schools in Denton, Collin, Cooke, Wise, Tarrant, are eligible, surrounding counties will be considered.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Equine Photography: Its All About The Light Part II

As I mentioned in Part I early morning and late afternoon/early evening, just hours after sunrise and before sunset is the best times for creating beautiful images.  This time is also commonly known  as the Golden Hour because of the wonderful soft even light that can be found at this time. Photographing in the harsh mid-day sun can give unwanted shadowing hiding details and may over-exposed parts of your image and colors seem somewhat muted and hazy. Sunrise vs. Sunset is personal preference, but I like to photograph grey and black coat colorings in the morning, since the morning light has more pastels and blue tones. While red and gold tones are more prominent with the warmer tones at sunset. This is the normal with sunrises and sunset, but not the rule and you can never fully predict Mother Nature.

Learning to use the golden hour will greatly help improve the quality of your images, no matter what your subject is.  By positioning yourself in different angles from the sun, there is several different ways to use this light.  The following images are taken at different times of day from morning to dusk to give an idea of the use of light.

Taken early morning on a partly cloudy day.  Love the stillness of mornings! Sun was directly behind me.

Taken mid-day, lots of  distracting contrast and shadows that hide details and we have some overblown highlights and over exposed background.

Late afternoon light gives a soft light with some shadowing, which actually gives some depth to your subject, but doesn't over blow highlights or cause too much contrast that takes away details. Sun was behind me at a 45 degree angle. Look at the shadows for the suns direction.

Soft late afternoon early evening light gives even soft diffused light with even tones without harsh shadows or blown out whites. Sun was at my back at approximately a 45 degree angle.  You can see a soft shadow behind the horse to give an idea of the light direction

Taken 1 hour before sunset with the sun 45 degrees behind subject. Once again using the trees to diffuse the light slightly. The subject has a nice back-light giving a rim light effect, but still maintaining some of the details of the subject and having a small amount of sun-flare.  Also gave light to the insects in the image.

By putting your subject between the sun and yourself, you can create and nice silhouette, with a lot of sun-flare and rim-light around your subject. You may also get some very warm colors.  Shooting directly into the sun makes it difficult for your camera to focus, so you may need to resort to manual focus.  A very clean lens makes focusing easier.  The trees were used to diffuse the light and help in focusing.

Taken right after sunset giving a silouhette, with nice soft warm colors in the background,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Equine Photography: Its All About The Light Part I

Light is the most important aspect in equine photography, this is not limited to equine photography, but all photography.  After all in the Greek language photo means light, and graph means draw.  So when we take a photograph we are drawing with light.  So even if you never take your camera off auto, you can learn to use light to obtain the best possible  image with the knowledge you have on the use of light.

There is a reason photographers like to take photos in the early morning or late evening, commonly known as the golden hours.  The light is the best at these times and there are several reasons why. The sun is lower, so the ozone is thicker, so the light is softer, diffused and easier to control. Morning light usually has more pastel colors where the evening light has warmer tones. Scheduling a time to take photographs during these times is always a good plan, but what about those spontaneous photos. Here are a few tips.
Taken late morning late summer,
partly cloudy day.
See diagram below for setup

First off you must know were your light sources are coming from.  Where is the sun?  Is there anything reflective; sand, the side of a  building, water, a concrete driveway, you would be surprised where your light can come from. Where are the shadows?  The direction of the shadows will be your biggest indicator of your main light source.
Bright sunny days can always cause a problems especially mid-day when the sun is directly over head.  Dark shadows are everywhere and cannot be avoided.  If you are doing a portrait with a person and a horse, find some heavy shade.  It will soften the human subjects face and help prevent squinting. This is why cloudy days are the best for doing horse/human portraits.  If you are photography just horses, shade is not as important since horses really don't squint and the sun does help bring out the shine of the coat too. There are still shadows though.  The shadows I am talking about are not the ones that are cast on the ground, but the shadows on the actual body of the horse. The shape of the horse can cast shadows on the underline, under the bulging muscles and under the head and neck.  This can cause problems on dark horses and they can loose their definition. Put your back to the sun and the horse directly in front of you.  You will see the shadows, so position the horse were you can get minimal shadows, being mid-day you will get shadows regardless. This is where finding other light sources help, try to find reflective surfaces we spoke of earlier.  Use a concrete pathway or driveway to reflect light to the underside of the horse- a bright side of a building can help also. Some of the shadows will still be there, but not as evident. The difficult part is get everything, especially the horse, into position and still keeping a clean attractive background.

Learning to use your available light to your advantage can be a big help in getting better images with what you have on hand. I do suggest to learn more about photography and learn the functions of your camera to improve your skills even more.

Subscribe to this blog to follow more in the series of using light.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Terri Cage Photography Giveaway

Just in time for spring.
It is already the beginning of March, and Spring is right around the corner.  Horses are shedding, flowers are blooming and trees will soon be getting leaves.

In honor of the warmer weather, I am running a contest for a $100 Gift Certificate. The lucky winner is free to use it on prints, digital images, photo sessions or lessons. Prints can be purchase from previous events, sessions or fine art prints. Gift Certificate may not be used on shipping, travel expenses or anything from the SmugMug merchandise tab.

Who should enter?  Everyone! Class of 2012 Seniors still needing their portraits, perfect for a Mother's Day present,  a bluebonnet photo session, you and your favorite horse. Get the horse show photos you keep putting off ordering. You always wanted to purchase a large canvas print or photo on metal.  Vacation time is around the corner, take some lessons and get some fabulous images.
So how do you win?  Earn your chances by filling out the Rafflecopter below.  Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Equine Photography Tips: Get Those Ears Up!

I recently sent out a newsletter that had one short equine photography tip.  Although it was a short statement, it described the most important action to get a good equine portrait: "get those ears up." I believe it is extremely important as it changes the whole attitude and expression in the horse's face. The eyes brighten, the face tightens, nostrils flare, and the horse look alive.  Look at the difference (ignore the loose fitting halter):

I got several inquiries on how I get horses' ears up. There are several different methods I use, depending on the environment and the horse.  Older, laid-back horses can be the most difficult and I really haven't determined any breed, age, or gender that is the easiest.  I use all sorts of treats, squeaky toys, and most importantly, a helper (or 2).  One of my favorites is a pool noodle; I find it easier to use than a broom or rake.  I use it in several ways. It makes an interesting noise when shaken and it is long enough to touch a horse's nose and quickly draw it away, so it is not in the photo.  I also have used the hole at the end to add a pom pom or plastic bag.
Some of the devices I use when I have no helper is squeaky toys (either one designed for babies or dogs, either works). It is hard to work a camera and squeeze the toy at the same time.  Since I wasn't blessed with  three arms, I put it on the ground and use my foot.

Now my favorite and most-used is actually the cheapest and always with me.  I carry it on my phone, so if you are like me, you are lost without it. I use an app called Horse Shaker Deluxe, which makes real whinny noises.  Now I don't have to make my own noises and get those strange looks.  Sometimes it works too well and the horse might get a little uncontrollable while trying to figure out where it is coming from.  I love it when the horse's owner looks around to see where it is coming from; it's that real sounding.
When using these items, never show them to the horse until you are ready to take a shot.  Horses get bored easily so if you show it to the horse before they are ready, they already lost interest.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Help your Horse Show Photographer

Horse Show Photography can be hard work and with more equine photographers no longer providing services to equine events it may be hard to find a true equine photographer to come to your event.  Why? Most can be explained in this excellent article by Shawn McMillen - Horse Show Photographers Are Facing a Crisis. It explains the reasons for the lack of photographers at events, mainly due to the cost of doing business and the abundant copyright theft.  He was also cheered and jeered in the comments. Most jeers were for the cost of images and prints, so I wonder if they really read the article. Many of the cheers were from fellow photographers or honest customers. As a show manager copyright infringement is out of your control.  You can help deter or report it, educate others, but you can't prevent it.  So what other ways can you keep your photographer to come back?

When I  photograph an event as the official photographer, I make every attempt to photograph every horse. If I did not get a horse, it is usually because the class was large and too short. Of course there other reasons, as needing to do some camera maintenance and an occasional short break.  We work tirelessly, the days can be long and the elements can be unforgiving. In most cases we do not get paid for our time, only for the images we sell.  So when I see numerous others with cameras at events, it can get a little discouraging.  I have no problem with those photographing family members and friends, but those that take photos of almost everyone is different story. What is even more annoying is when they find a place close to you and using the high speed shutter of their camera click, click, click away.  I find it extremely distracting when I am trying to time my shots to get the best image and most appealing placement of the horse's stride.  I was recently photographing a show and because of the nature of the show was ask not to be in the arena and photograph from the stands. No problem, it makes it a little more difficult during rail classes, but doable. Since I am in the stands, I try not to block the spectators view.  At this show, another photographer would stand right above me and click click click. Not only was it distracting for me, but they blocked every one's view behind me which in my opinion was rude.  I stay quiet and out of the way, so many may not even know I was there. As I have always said, the main purpose of a show is to compete and for others to watch. Photographs are just something extra.

I have photographed many equestrian events of several different disciplines. Some of them I was asked to be the photographer, others I asked if one was needed. Some of the show manager are great and almost treated me like royalty, but others I can't even the time of day.  Giving me the royal treatment really isn't necessary, but not I really don't like to be cast aside. Either way, we both have the same end  goal which is a successful day.  Letting the exhibitors know where their photos can be seen and purchased is part of the success for both of us. Having professional photographs done at your event gives it an extra special touch and your exhibitors really appreciate it, but if they can't find them it doesn't help anyone.  So if I can't get the info I need or my info isn't made available to the exhibitors, it isn't worth the time to photograph the event.

Trying not to turn this into one big complaint, so will get back to the main purpose of this post.
How can you help your show photographer?  Here are my top ten suggestions.
Before the show
1. List the photographer on your show bill and other marketing pieces. Helps the show and the photographer-see above.
2. Add the photographer to the show website, facebook page and other web-base listings with their link.
3. Give a list of exhibitors name and numbers, ride times and so forth so they can easily identify exhibitors . Some photographers will separate classes or exhibitors into galleries for easy viewing.
4. Provide them with show schedule, classes and if applicable patterns. This will help them plan their day and having patterns will help them find the best spot for the best image.
5. Let them know were they can and cannot go or if you prefer them only use available light and not use flash or strobes.
During the show
6. Announce that there is an official photographer taking photos, Many times when this is announced several will come up to me and make sure I take photos of them or someone else. They also tell me they didn't know I was there until it was announced
7. Offer a place for the photographer to set up a table if needed or get business cards ahead of time and include in registration packets. They may also want a safe place to keep equipment.
8. Inform them of any unlisted breaks or changes in the schedule. That way they know when it is a good time for them to grab some candids, get a requested portrait shot or even take a break.
9. If you see someone else soliciting photos, kindly ask them not to. If they not stop, ask them for a copy of their business liability insurance and tell them it is require to take photos. That should do the trick.
After the show
10. Provide the photographer with email addresses so they can notify them where to find images. Show management can send also this out.  Be sure to copy the photographer when you sent it out, so they know it has been done.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011: A Look Back at Some of My Favorite Photography Moments

First off I want to thank everyone for your support, some very fun times and choosing me for your photography needs.  Although photography is the way I pay my bills and have had a few not so great experiences- I love my job!  
I thumbed through the images I took in 2011, which was close to 100,000. A majority of those were at equestrian events, but many were portraits, other events, practice shots and my own personal photos of family and friends.   The images I chose weren't necessarily the best images, but ones that spark a memory, brought a smile to my face  and a few "bloopers".
Please enjoy  and  I look forward to a great 2012!
In January I took a trip to Colorado with my horse judging team. We took a couple quick trips to Rocky Mountain National Park. Since I have only been there in the summer, I was so glad to see it in the winter and yes it is beautiful! The scenery is something I will always remember, but  watching the girls attempting to walk on the ice and snow was much more entertaining. 

Texas is not really known for large snow amounts, but it seems the past few years we have been getting much more than normal.  The horses seem to enjoy it for short periods of time, but I really think they were ready for our normal Texas winters.

Its all about the kids! Several of my favorite moments. Starting at the top row a little on the images.
I watch this toddler throughout the whole show, never stopping and full of energy. Near the end of the days I think her batteries wore out.
We do snow angels, why not a dirt angel!
Doing some backdrop photos, I just thought this was the cutest team.  Cute pony and one happy child.
Nothing like friends and a well broke horse for a good laugh and a great way to end the day.
I LOVE lead line classes. Great way to start your show career with high fives and blue ribbons.
Had to throw a non horse image in. Being a Dachshunds owner, I just loved this session with her new dog.
I photographed a local Equestrian Special Olympics and this youngster just won a medal.   In this case the saying "a picture is worth a 1000 words" is very appropriate.
Last minute touch ups

Had the pleasure of photographing some cool horses this year, so many colors and patterns.  Was amazed at how many Leopards I saw. The Dressage image is an App/ Friesian cross!

Barrel Racing can make some interesting Hair-dos

I have been visiting and photographing the horses at Remember Me Rescue for a few years now. The horses pictured above are Perfect Peace, King of Speed and Light on Broadway  I am always impressed by the intelligence of the Thoroughbred and how willing they are to learn and trust. In the lower center photo Donna is using pool noodles to de-sensitize and I had to laugh since pool noodles are what I I use to get horses attention and get that nice arched neck.  King wasn't even phased. The center right images is available for purchase and profits will benefit RMR.  In the below images, is permanent resident Yeah Me Do "Yammi"

What a fun bridal session. Even the dog smiled!

Taken before a trail ride, this border collie looks like he has it all under control
I photographed several events, although I think I should call them milestones. The background image is of the Bar J Wranglers, from Jackson Hole Wyoming, they performed at a 75th birthday surprise party (man with the surprised look) and I have to say I really enjoyed their performance. The other top photo was a coming home event for one of our Marines.  The turn out was unbelievable and everyone wanted to shake this Marine's hand. I made sure I shook his hand and thanked him before I left. I photographed a young ladies birthday party, and a group of teenager girls are so fun to photograph.  They do not cover their faces  when they see you coming, instead they strike a pose.  One of the most heartfelt moments I had all year was at 65th birthday party, were a father did the opposite and gave his kids presents. These presents were some important symbols of their father's life; world champion belt buckle, bronze star to name a few. This act literally brought tears to my eyes. The last image was taken at a wedding, I have a ton of images of this young man dancing, he had some moves.

This is really my least liked photo of the year, but it was did change my life for a few months. Early May I broke my ankle in 2 places, as well has breaking a few ribs. I was bed ridden for a few weeks to "avoid" surgery. Thank goodness those days of being confined to the house paid off.  I did avoid surgery and used the time to research photography techniques, update my website and practice a little photo shop.
My broken ankle cause my family to delay our annual trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, something I look forward to the minute we leave the previous year.  The scenery is incredible and the wildlife is abundant. I love the mountains and my favorite one is Long's Peak, which can be seen from many different points of the park.

I do believe this would be classified as a Photo Bomb

Not sure if these would be considered a photo bomb, but more of a total photo take over

Some of my favorite photos to take during equestrian events, is candids and the lineup. Many times the subject doesn't even know I am taking the photo and they are much more relaxed.  Can also catch some sweet moments with the rider and their horse.

If I said once, I have said it 100 times, those who help me get horses attention and ears up, work harder than me.
I love the connection humans have with horses or is the connection horse have with humans.
This turned out to be a favorite spot for me to do photos.  No traffic, good light and nice scenery. I only used it twice, but I did try to find similar spots for other photos. Larissa was working on a modeling portfolio and we got some great shots of her.  Thanks to JJ's Designs for lending some awesome outfits

Some photo sessions can get a little long, so sometimes goofing off happens and I am sure to catch it on camera.  If someone comes by on a Harley  during a photo shoot, why not stop them and ask to pose with you. If you text during a session, be sure to put your hat on sideways.  Never hurts to dance in between frames. If there is a chair and it starts to rain, pick it up and put it over your head and act like a rock star.  If you are 6 foot, get on a kids mechanical horse, no one will ever see. Give your steer a kiss, they kiss back, and their tongue even gets stuck in your hair.  Goofy faces are always good.  Not sure how to pose next, just strike the famous Karate Kid pose.  Bringing your boyfriend and a rope with you to a session will invoke some fun

October was a fun and uplifting month.  Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month I photographed several events  that were fund raisers for different non-profit organizations.

So much pink! 
So much support!
Saw many tears and cheers
Met many survivors, fighters and loved ones.
Admired the volunteers who put in countless hours organising these events, and the many volunteers who made this events possible.
Cheered for those who raised the funds and obtained sponsorships for research, the under insured and awareness.
Prayed along side of all of them

When geese interrupt your session, chase them! Another favorite place ( and family)  to take photos, too bad it is in their own front yard and not a public place. Jealous! Their place is beautiful.

Who says chivalry is dead. After finishing her class her saddle came loose. After dismounting and fixing her saddle, she looked around for a mounting block, but none was around.  Her horse was very tall, so one of the gentlemen in the staging area offered a knee as everyone in the stand cheered her on.

Once again I attended the Breeder's Cup.  We also did some farm tours, watched some morning workouts, attended a luncheon and took a look at some of the horses in the Keeneland sales.  Starting at the top and moving clockwise,  yes that is Goldikova and she looked right at me ;[) , Sarafina getting a little excited in the post parade- I think she was trying to get all the photographer's attention that were behind her and had the cameras pointed else were. St Nicholas Abbey looking my way while in the winner's circle after winning the Breeder's Cup Turf.  Euroears during morning work out, he is gorgeous.  We had as special visit with the great Peppers Pride who was heavy in foal. My daughter had two hyperventilating moments-1st meeting one of her favorite racehorses; Blind Luck and second, meeting and even getting hug from Mike Smith. Center is Court Vision after winning the Breeder's Cup Mile as a long shot.

Its all about the blanket!
Thanks to Three Chimneys and Lanes End for hosting open houses so we could visit some our favorite stallions.
Can you name all the above stallions? 1st person to name them all in order top row 1st, left to right will win a 11 x 14 print of one of the above images of their choice.