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Six Tips for Equestrian Photographers

As part of a new series in which we speak to the world’s leading equestrian photographers about their favourite images, here celebrated snapper Kirstie Jones gives her advice on making it to the top…

Talent, business acumen, and a sheer passion for horses are just a few of the skills that Kirstie Jones — owner of Kirstie Marie photography — possesses, which has led to her becoming one of the go-to names in the world of equestrian photography.

With perfect light, polished ponies, and the look of love only a horse owner can understand, Kirstie manages to capture the true relationship between a horse and owner; but this doesn’t happen by accident, it takes patience, skill, and an eye for the shot!

Growing up with a serious obsession for horses, it wasn’t uncommon for Kirstie to be found playing with her Breyer dolls, and competing in everything from hunter-jumper to reining.

But while many little girls grow out of their horsey phase, for Kirstie, it took her all the way into college with a spot on the collegiate equestrian team! Initially, she had no plans to work in the equine industry, but rather plans to enter the world of finance… that soon changed.

It was in her senior year, about to graduate with a degree in finance, Kirstie was playing around with a roommate’s camera and some borrowed equestrian teammates and their gallant steeds as models; that was it – a dream career was born!

It was later that year, Christmas of 2011, that Kirstie bought herself an early Christmas present, a brand new camera – and almost exactly eight years later, countless happy clients, photos published in major equine publications, and even her own program to teach aspiring equine photographers the tricks of the trade… I’d have to say that the initial investment was more than worth it.

A community surrounds Kirstie, not just her own family who ardently support her choice to follow her passion, but also her clients who, by now feel more like friends.

While it’s clear to see that Kirstie has a head for business, she also has a creative and artistic side, and we’re seeing more of that side of her coming out to play.

One recent example was her photoshoot at the Prada Marfa art installation, set against a backdrop of an arid and wild desert, Kirstie brought together horsewomen, horsemen, and true ranch horses to capture the beauty of Texas – the state that she now calls home.

Kirstie-Marie’s Top Six Tips for Aspiring Photographers

  1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Comparison is the thief of joy; you really should just keep your blinders on. As long as you have clients or find joy in your own work, it doesn’t matter how that compares to someone else’s!

  1. Practice Your Craft

Don’t be afraid to practice, practice, practice. Go out to the pasture and take photos of the horses, do it for an entire year, do it until you’re confident in your craft.

  1. Think About the Business

Even though you’re working in a creative field, to succeed; you have to be great at, and put time into the business side.

  1. Conjure Emotion

When working on getting that genuine shot between horse and owner, ask questions using language that evokes emotion. Asking for an owner to think about their happiest memory with their horse can be all it takes.

  1. It Takes Work

Don’t expect it to come easily, there is a lot of hard work to be done, and much of that is around the business side of things and not the creative.

  1. Find Your Aesthetic

Don’t be disheartened in the beginning while you find your style, take that time to research styles that fit with what you want to do.

Images by Kirstie Marie

Original article: https://www.fei.org/stories/tips-to-become-an-equestrian-photographer