Monday, February 25, 2013

North Texas Horse County Equine Photography Workshop

North Texas Horse County Equine Photography Workshop
Presented by Terri Cage Photography
April 19-21, 2013
Denton County, Texas

Spend a weekend photographing some of the most beautiful horses and ranches in the area. Anyone from beginners to the more experienced will enjoy this workshop. Examples* of some of the places we will visit will include mare and foals, cutting horses, Friesians, Mustangs in training, liberty shoots, beautiful scenery, barns, and more!

Any camera type is welcome, but it is recommended that you use a DSLR with at least a 100mm lens (200mm preferred). If you have a larger lens, you may bring it also, it might be too much lens in some cases, but you also might be glad you have it occasionally  If you do not have any of these, I can suggest places that rent these items.
You can sign up for the whole weekend or just part of it!

Here is the plan:
Friday: 5-9 p.m. Basic photography skills and camera functions – if you are shooting on auto, you need to attend this or you will not understand the rest of the workshop. You will learn: use of light and composition of subjects, the basic functions of your camera, and what all the buttons do.
Saturday : Sunrise to sunset. We will visit a couple ranches, then have lunch and review some of the images that everyone has taken and go over some equine photography tips. Then we learn the benefits of giving back, donating time to local rescues. We will make one last stop at another ranch and spend several hours there.  Near the end, we will use some off-camera/artificial lighting to achieve some dramatic images!
Sunday: A quick morning visit to another ranch for one last hands-on session, then an early lunch and classroom work. We will spend several hours on post production using Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6. If you do not have these, free 30-day trial versions are available. I would wait until a few days before the workshop before you download. I am not a Lightroom or Photoshop guru, but I can show many basic uses and easy fixes to get you started in understanding their functions. We will end the day with learning the business, which will be great for those wanting to start their own photography business, not just equine. You will learn things I wish I knew when starting out.
*These are what is planned, but because of the nature of the horse business, some circumstances may change the actual subjects or locations.

What is included:
  • Electronic handouts
  • Lunch on Saturday and Sunday
  • Snacks throughout the weekend
  • Online gallery for you to share images with ranch owners
  • Model & property releases
What is not included:
  • Breakfast & dinner
  • Transportation – we will have a meet-up place and I encourage carpooling from ranch to ranch.
  • Lodging- I can recommend some local hotels. If you want to split a room, I can put you in contact with others that want to do the same
  • Camera equipment
  • Computer equipment
What you should bring:
Taken at one of the ranches scheduled to visit
  • Appropriate, comfortable clothing- Be prepared to shoot in any kind of weather condition. Heavy downpours, or severe weather may change the agenda for the day, other wise we stay on schedule. Raingear is recommended to bring. Pastures are very damp in the morning and you will get wet. I suggest wearing rubber boots in pastures. Bring a change of clothes just in case!
  • Camera
  • Back-up camera if you have one
  • Lens – At least a 100mm. I use a 70-200 most of the time. Also a wide angle lens.
  • Plenty of battery power and a charger
  • Lots of memory cards
  • Monopod- This will really save your arms for long days.
  • Tripod is optional- may not use when we are close to horses, but great for some scenic images and inside of barns
  • Anything else you can think of- I live by the saying, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
What is required:
Photoshop techniques
  • To watch an equine safety PowerPoint presentation that will be sent to those attending
  • You will need to sign waiver/releases before.
  • You will need to agree to some safety rules.
Payment plan available!

How to get 50% off the Complete Workshop
Post a favorite horse related photo to my Facebook Page and get an entry. Have your friends like my page & like your photo and get another entry for each like.

Follow me on twitter and send me a message and get another entry.

I will draw and announce the winner on March 15!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Preparing Your Horse For Photos

There are many reasons to have photos of your horse done and taking the time to prepare your horse will highly improve the quality of the images produced.

After you have decided on location and whether or not you will be in the photos, and have prepared yourself for the photos, spend enough time to have the horse prepared.  It's not just about the grooming; environment and even some training should be considered.

Have an idea of what type of images you are wanting or needing. Do you need some conformation images for advertising, or are you wanting some more personal images of the bond you share with your horse? What is the tone you are trying to set for your images: something more traditional and conservative, or something more dramatic?  Letting your photographer know your expectations is extremely important. Pinterest is an excellent site for creating some inspiration and getting some ideas. Share this with your photographer. I love it when the customer knows what they want, but still allows me to use my ideas, too.

To make your session with your horse less stressful, work with your horse before the session. If you are needing conformation photos, you will need to teach your horse "whoa" on the lead.  Horses are trained to follow us, so when we walk away to get out of the picture after getting the horse set-up perfectly, the horse will follow. A little work days/weeks before the session will help prevent them from doing so. Another thing to consider in conformation images is the profile.  Horses are trained to stand square for halter, but profile shots where the horse is standing square can give the appearance that the horse only has 2 legs (fig. 1). Teaching the horse to stand with some separation of the front and back legs (fig. 2) will look much better.  Know your horse's conformation flaws and best features; too much separation, or not enough, can make these points better or worse.

Fig. 1
Correct set-up for showing, but not
 suitable for photographs as it gives the horse the
appearance of having only 2 legs. 

Fig. 2
Correct set-up for conformation images.
You can see all 4 legs clearly.
Groom your horse as if you are attending a show.  If you are not sure what to do, there are plenty of grooming tips that can be found online.  A clean, clipped, and well-groomed horse photographs much better than an ill-prepared horse.  The camera picks up small details so dirt, stray hairs, and an un-clipped muzzle will really show up in your images. Spend a little more time on the head of the horse since the head will be shot in a closer frame. Dirt and debris around the muzzle, nostril, eyes, and ears should be cleaned well. Know the standards for clipping and grooming for your breed or discipline. Whether or not the mane should be braided, banded, kept long, or pulled are among the considerations. If you have the availability of keeping your horse's haircoat slick year-round, anytime of year is good for photos. If your horse is kept on pasture year-round, the best time for photos is spring when your horse has shed its long coat and before the coat dulls from the summer sun. In my opinion, this is when the horse's coat has the best color, luster, shine, and sometimes some dappling.

If your photo shoot is for a group of people at the same barn and the images are to be used for advertising, put someone in charge of coordinating the shoot. Having a cohesive look will greatly improve the look of your ads and photo groups. This can be in the details of grooming, tack,  and outfits. Grooming and tack should match the attire of the riders. You can even get as picky as having the same shades of leather. Outfit colors should coordinate with your horse as well as with others that will be included in the photo collection.

Another detail to consider is tack. Clean your tack before the shoot, even if it is just a quick wipe-down. I prefer leather tack in images. A brand new, bright nylon halter is very distracting and brings the focus of the image to the halter, not the horse.  With the exception of conformation shots, horses that are too young to be ridden, and halter horses, I think a bridle looks better and allows you more control.

Again, consult with your photographer: good communication can lead to the start of great results!