I launched my Equestrian profession 11 months month ago from today. Along the way, I have learned MANY VALUABLE LESSONS, lessons so meaningful that I do not ever take them for granted. The fortunate thing is that I learn from my right's and wrongs and I adapt extremely quick so that I can continue to further progress.
When I used to do wedding photography for a couple years, I was lucky enough to work with and learn from many successful wedding photographers. One of the very first lessons that I was taught was to never get in the way when at a venue that you are working at. A great photographer will always quietly go about their duties and never obstruct in any of the main festivities. In other words, you need to mind your own business and just do your damn job.
Moving forward as an Equestrian Video & Stills Photographer, I have carried over that exact same mindset. But like many pro photographers will go through in their careers, there is always going to be situations where you run into challenging setups to shoot in. It could be a venue where you immediately see conflicts but you are not sure if you should mind your own business or take some control with your input. Because there is an extremely fine line between minding your own business and not getting in the way versus the risk of annoying and potentially upsetting your client. Just speaking from experience, this can be an extremely difficult call for any pro photographer to make when the situation presents itself.
I am picky about the backdrops of my photos but that is because of the high standards that I have for myself when it comes to my work. And over the past 11 months, my standards have increased even more just from my experiences and what I've learned throughout this time.
Many pro photographers know that there are certain things that you just don't ever do because not only will it greatly affect the quality of your photos but it will show your inability to implement proper technique as a pro photographer. And unfortunately this can be a killer for some photographer's careers.
So that leads to my big question. 11 months in to my profession, what has been the biggest lesson that I have learned to date? I need to start stepping up to the plate and addressing any concerns in setups when I see them arise. As much as I still plan on staying out of the way and minding my own business, because I have a specific standard for my work and in my technique, it is my full responsibility to express concerns and find a solution for it at that exact moment.
So flashing back to last Wednesday, my first time out photographing a Mare Show and Inspection. Even though this was in an environment that I was at early in the year, the circumstances were obviously much different this time around.
I always study as I am about to take on a new event or discipline. Like it was when I first photographed other disciplines and events - jumping, skijoring, barrel racing, gymkhana, horsemanship, Arabian All Breed Horse Shows, thoroughbred horse racing, harness racing, etc, it's to be expected to have some rough patches along the way in your first outing especially since it's not the reading that heavily advances you as a photographer, it's the real life hands-on experiences that do.
An essential part of life and being a business professional is taking full accountability for your actions and I will admit I was downright TERRIBLE the very first time that I photographed jumping last October. I had 13 good photos that I was able to share. But immediately after that first experience, I created myself a plan on what I needed to work on, how I was going to execute it and it wasn't long after that I found my groove photographing jumping.
As a good friend would always tell me, learn from your mistakes the first go around and always do your best to never repeat them. After all, that is how we all learn and get better right?
Click HERE to view all the photos.