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Gaining Experience - how to?

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Alexander Batten-Phelps
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Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Alexander Batten-Phelps on Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:01 pm

So I thought it would be interesting to here how different people have gained experience within the realms of equine photography; and keeping it simple by focusing purely on the photography side of things rather than on the business side of it.

Purely a discussion in what methods and situations you've been where you've managed to make the most of it to help further you experience, portfolio etc... Much I this I know is a "get out and do it" but I think a discussion where we can share a few ideas might prompt some that others have not thought of; or might present some situations that we just are unaware of existing (especially for those of us coming to equine photography without a background in the equine world) .

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Sharon Packer
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Sharon Packer on Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:44 am

Welcome, Alexander! You've asked an excellent question, but it is one that will get different responses depending on the type of equine work you wish to do. I suggest you visit the archives on EPNet. We all started somewhere and those topics are covered extremely well in the archives.
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Barb Young
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Barb Young on Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:17 pm

Get out and shoot. Find a mentor, join like minded groups and forums, go to equine photography workshops. At the top of this page in the black line are listings for "Events" and "Courses." And Carien Schippers gives a wonderful Equine Photography Basics class in early summer, usually. That will be listed in "Courses". And go back to the Index to Newsletters and sign up for those. One just came out with lots of spring Workshops.
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Leslie Heemsbergen on Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:25 am

One activity that was very helpful to me in the past was studying breed journals/periodicals for the the client's target ideal. Then ask for permission to photograph in many different venues: pastures, parades, shows, trail rides and experiment with settings. Hope this helps.
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Sharon Packer on Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:28 am

Work up thinking about your question!
A Photographic Guide to Conformation
ISBN: 9780851318516

Author: Robert Oliver - Photographs by Bob Langrish

Publisher: J.A.Allen

is good basic learning. There are many books in the EPNet library for sale. Also, I highly recommend Carien's summer internet class on Basic Equine Photography.
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Alexander Batten-Phelps on Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:54 pm

My thanks all for your thoughts and views!

Sharon - aye I've visited the archives a bit when I could; although at present I can only see the free sections of the site.
My thanks for the book recommendation; the horse body is still a mystery to me in form and post and motion in some respects; so yes learning more about the proper conformations and motions is important (its also a vast sea of literature on the subject so getting recommendations from others is great - esp those in photography as opposed to those purely interested in horses alone).

The suggestions about joining workshops are good; the only downsides being that I'm UK based and a good few are USA based on this group. Sadly the internet side ones, whilst not limited to location, have the downside that in order to get the best out of them I do need some form of regular horse contact to practice upon the lesson content. Sadly also this summer my course (conservation) ends and thus my summer could be anything from job hunting to work to travelling to get to work and such; not an ideal situation to try applying to a long term course over.

Finding a mentor is easily said but hard done; although I do know a couple of friendly equine photographers.

I've also done some shoots at a semi-local showjumping event; the downside though is that I've found

1) The angles are limited, which kind of results in me getting shots where I can easily see the flaws, but can't see a resolution to them in the situation. Some of it is also inexperience, although a part of me thinks its one of those situations where you need someone watching you to see what you're doing wrong clearly to them give the in the field best advice.

2) I wind up with a huge tonne of shots and; whilst I start with good intentions, I never get through them (though the last time was marred with a corrupt card that took ages to resolve; got the shots back but took ages sadly). A bit more refining in my workflow would certainly help and I'm slowly getting better with lightroom; although I also dislike trying to apply batch editing to shots when they are not more controlled studio affairs where many things (eg lighting/colour) are fixed.

3) Part of me feels I'm repeating the same mistakes or seeking target goals without taking steps in the right direction to get past the intermediate area.
My work has improved, but also stagnated at a level that I'm unable to push forward on my own in that realm - part based on the venu; but part on myself as well.

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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Sharon Packer on Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:09 pm

The frustrations you list are normal, and we've all been
there. If I where you, I'd read the book on photographing horses. The second book
To read is Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure."


Then I'd find the nearest stable and work out a way
to practice. If this is your passion, you will create a way
to reach your goals. Find a stable before Carien's class.
You have time. If not now, when?

And I'm more than a little confused. I remember you being in a trial period on EPNet once before. If you approach learning photography with all of the reasons why you can't do it, then you can't and you won't. No one can resolve the issues that are holding you back from becoming an equine photographer, but you.
Last edited by Sharon Packer on Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Alexander Batten-Phelps
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Alexander Batten-Phelps on Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:06 pm

Aye, although sometimes I find that talking about problems, even if just to write them out; can sometimes spark the mind as to solutions. Plus hearing how others have tackled issues can present ideas that one might not otherwise think of.

Also you suggest reading Understanding Exposure, is there any chapter or section you would suggest? I have copy of the book, however thus far I feel that I've gained a confidence and understanding of general exposure; thus if you are seeing some clear gap in my understanding through what you've seen of my work or through what you read in my comments I'd be grateful to hear as it means it could be something that I am totally overlooking.



As a point of interest, I've had no trouble approaching events and seeking permission to shoot; however when it comes to the idea of working at a stables or working more one on one with a horse+handler I've less idea/confidence on how to approach this. At an event I feel as if I need not contribute anything because the event itself occurs regardless of my being there and I'm simply taking the role of spectator with a camera; in a more personal situation I'm very much more requiring something of someone else.

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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Barb Young on Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:40 am

If you could join EPNet you could go through the archives, where these questions and so many more have been discussed over and over. And "Understanding Exposure" is simply the BEST book out there, period, no matter how much you think you understand exposure. You say you want to improve, so get out there, do the work, read the books, watch the videos and learn. Try Googling "Learning photography". Good luck to you.
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Sharon Packer
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Re: Gaining Experience - how to?

Postby Sharon Packer on Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:00 am

I'm sure there are photographers who will mentor you if you cannot find someone with whom you can apprentice. But expect to pay just as you would with any education. If paying is not possible, I second Barb's recommendation to join EPNet, read all that is in the archives and take advantage of advice offered by members. Cheers.
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