I thought that now would be a good time to share some tips with you on how to choose your photographer for your equine portraits in 2018. I want to be quite clear that of course I’d love to photograph you, but I know that there’s a huge array of photographers out there to choose from. There’s someone for all budgets, styles and locations who can help you. Have a read through these tips, and I hope they will help you make a very important decision, right!

1. Not all photographers are created equal

As I mentioned above, there’s so many photographers to choose from, it can all be a bit overwhelming. For those choosing by budget, this can make your decision a little easier – but however you choose, you need to research the photographer, find them on Facebook & Instagram and see what they share, do they have a website you can look through to find out more? Your first point of call is to choose photographers based on images in their portfolios that you like (I know, obvious, right?) – whether that be lighting (natural or flash-lit), editing style, or positioning and posing. Once you have your shortlist, you can look at other factors, including price, packages, location. You also need to think about whether you are looking for more posed shots, or candid images of you and your horse. Bonus tip: contact your photographer to find out more, and you’ll get a good indication of their customer service! The information may be on their website, but if they’re prepared to discuss it with you personally, you’re probably in good hands.

If you’re not entirely sure what you’re after, that’s OK too – your photographer will be able to help you with the different options, and will probably be able to cover a number of them in your session!

2. Insurance. Please, please, please make sure your photographer is insured

There are (quite worryingly) more and more hobbyists moving into professional roles without acquiring the relevant insurance. Of course, in an ideal world, all photoshoots would run perfectly smoothly, there would be no out-takes (OK, we do love a good out-take), no horses misbehaving, and certainly no slips, trips or falls. However, we must face reality and understand that we are working with living, thinking, flight animals. Even the best trained or most docile horse in the world will have it’s moment. If something happens whilst on location, do you want to be dealing with the fallout without the benefit of insurance? Bonus tip: I would always recommend finding a photographer with experience in horses for an equine portrait session – there are any number of situations that can be instantly safer in the hands of someone who understands these sometimes unpredictable beauties.

3. Investment – what do you want from your photoshoot and beyond?

Ok, so you have your shortlist, and now we need to think about the time and money you’re going to be investing into these photographs. I can guarantee that if a deal is too good to be true, then it probably is. You might get a photoshoot with all images on a CD for £30, but will the final images and customer service received be worth that?

Different photographers operate under different overheads – there’s often good cause for those higher prices, whether it be experience, time factored in to get your images exactly as you want them, final output, equipment, training… the list goes on. If you’re unsure of anything, always ask for clarification. All good photographers would much rather answer a dozen questions up front than disappoint you when you both end up on different pages. This leads me on to number four quite nicely…

4. Read the small print!

Before booking, have a read through the photographer’s terms and conditions (if they don’t have any, I would suggest querying why!) as these should be clear on what you and the photographer are expecting from each other. It’s also a good chance to see if there’s anything you need to raise a special request or addendum for, which can be noted on your client contract prior to signing.

5. Have an idea of what you might like to take away from your session

Now I know this is a bit like asking how long a piece of string is, and not all photographers will publish their product price lists before you commit to booking. However, if they don’t publish them online, there’s nothing wrong with asking to see them before making your decision!

Personally, I photograph my sessions with the intention of having the images printed, because despite this digital age, I honestly believe that print is definitely not dead – but that’s a whole other blog!

Consider whether you’d like a selection of prints, to create a mini gallery at home, or perhaps you’d like to choose one favourite to hang on a big hand-stretched gallery canvas. Many photographers will offer packages, either up-front and included your photo shoot, or after as add-ons. Be sure to ask, and if you are looking for something specific, check they can provide the product before you commit.

6. Take your time to find out if you “click”

Excuse the pun here, but once you’ve researched, contacted and questioned, if something doesn’t feel quite right, then don’t feel under pressure to go ahead with your booking. You will almost certainly find that the more at ease you are with your photographer, the better your gallery will be. Nobody wants to feel under pressure or under valued, full-stop, and that goes for both parties!

I hope this helps you out with choosing your photographer, and gives you the confidence to ask any questions you might have. If you’re looking for a photographer, and are in England, UK, please take a look at my links below, and I’d love to hear from you!