Broadening the Photography Horizons – A survey of readers

2016 sessions

2016 sessions

As I shared at the beginning of the month, one of my major goals for this year is to grow my photography business. I’m attacking this aspiration with a vengeance- I revamped my portfolio website (though still a WIP) to reflect my photography centric mission, and tried to include some pricing and examples of my work that I feel like speak most for my brand.


It seems like I’m not alone in this endeavor, however, and a little part of me has lost courage after seeing my local market flooded with other people offering similar services, but at a cost that to me, wouldn’t even cover the gas and time costs at a minimum. Marketing is not my strong-suit, admittedly, so I would love to reach out to you all for feedback.


Since most of my readers are equestrians, and equestrians, especially those active in their local communities and on social media, are my target audience, I would love to pick y’all’s brains. If you have a few minutes, would you, kind reader, be willing to answer a few questions regarding equestrian photography?


If you filled out the survey, thank you, I really appreciate it. If you have other points you would like to discuss (such as pricing, your own experiences, etc), or even better, you want to talk about doing a shoot with your horse a 1,000 of your closest friends (hey, a girl can dream, right?), please shoot me a note at brittwgillis at gmail dot com.


Next weekend my plan is to head off to sunny Ocala, to visit a friend who is a working student there, and then to spectate and schmooze with the fancy folk (from afar, of course) at the Wellington Eventing Showcase. While I’m there I also hope to do a couple portrait sessions, namely highlighting my friend’s bee-yutiful Irish Sport Horse gelding. And who knows where my photography will go from there!


20 thoughts on “Broadening the Photography Horizons – A survey of readers

  1. You have a great eye for photography as well as excellent technical skills – there are really NOT a lot of photographers out there that have both! Seeing my husband struggle with this has taught me that the average customer doesn’t know a ‘good’ photo from a ‘bad’ one sometimes – so the pros with less talent or so-so technical skills can undercut the really good ones price-wise and still be successful because people just don’t know any better. Keep churning out top-quality work and don’t under-price yourself! The business will come as your work gets out there, even if it is a little slow to develop. Offering really striking photos like your black-background shots or using flash (if the horses will tolerate it!) definitely sets you apart from the average photographer. Best of luck to you!! 🙂

    • Thanks so much- I appreciate that you can empathize with this problem! I have no idea on how to educate the public on what’s a ‘good’ photo. But I am doing my darndest to get my work out there- like you said, just hoping the people will come!

  2. I’ve had my photos taken with my horse and dogs by a couple of people, and I have to give credit to Allison of PonyTude’s husband for NAILING the last set of photos. My experience with photographers (which, I also have done photography work for my job) tells me that each photographer is good at something. It seems like a lot of clients go to a photographer expecting one thing, and maybe don’t realize that isn’t what the photographer is good at. I knew Mike was REALLY good at capturing dogs, horses, and people. And that he understood the three. That made all the difference. For another photographer I’ve used, she was excellent at portraiture of women (making women feel confident and empowered is hard, and she is VERY good at it!). However, she had no idea how to shoot dogs. Which was FINE. Myself? I’m good at landscapes and concert photography. The big-picture mood of a place and time is my thing. I’m kinda crap with everything else, especially babies.

    I’m not sure how you educate your prospective clients on that particular fact, but I do know you have a beautiful eye for your style. Good luck!

    One other thing: I’ve seen some portrait photographers come and shoot horse shows, expecting to charge a similar amount for show photography. That is kind of ridiculous in my book. I’m definitely willing to pay more for portrait work than horse show or conformation photos. There’s more of an eye required. Show photography for me is about documentation more than art. And should be priced accordingly. (But still priced!)

    Wow. This got long…

    • Not too long at all- I really appreciate it. And I tell people my niche is working with people and animals together- albeit I may look like a twit squeaking a toy with my foot while trying to get a shot (truth), it’s all for the expression. And I absolutely agree with your point about show photography vs portraits. I honestly don’t even want to get into show photography because for me, my passion is in the more personal connection of a portrait shoot.

    • Thank you for the kind words about Mike’s work! He will be so flattered! And yes – a horse photographer who KNOWS horses is priceless. We had a non-horse person shoot our engagement photos with Dino in them, and while I did really like them, she didn’t capture the pony as well as she could have had she been a horse person.

      • Haha, maybe next time I’m in your neck of the woods we should get you both in front of the camera with Dino 🙂 I always love seeing his photos on your blog! And of course I always think, well shoot, how do I get my spouse in front of my camera?!

  3. I didn’t see a link for the survey? (could just be that I’m at work and our “security” sometimes blocks stuff like that).

    I think your photos are incredible – you really seem to have an eye for lighting.

    I have more to say on the topic, but will send you an email!

  4. Good luck with the business!! I’m probably the exact definition of why your business model is so tricky these days – I’m pretty satisfied with the low quality and poorly composed/edited shots I can get with my cell phone. That said tho, I’m usually pretty likely to splurge on high quality photographs from competitions. Maybe one day I’ll go the portrait route too – since I really do appreciate the quality that comes from profession grade technique and equipment. Your work is lovely too!!!

    • Haha, I totally get it. And with selfie sticks and better mobile cameras, well, it’s not the easiest thing to be trying to take off with a photography business right now. Can’t wait to see future photos of you and Charlie, be they show photos or otherwise!

  5. I want to do portraits with my guys soon…I just have too many horses and can’t afford to get them all in there…so I keep waiting…and accumulating more horses… hahaha…. I’ve always enjoyed your photos and I think your prices seem reasonable. The only thing that makes me raise an eyebrow at all is that you only get one image for the $75 black background session. Maybe that’s standard, idk, but once I get my horse all spiffed up and pay $75, I’d probably want more than one image. I have no idea how much editing goes into the post session side of those, so it may be justified though. I keep saying I’m going to try to do my own black background ones but I haven’t managed yet lol

    • It’s a totally justified question. I have to include travel time, set up (normally scouting the location, making a plan) in my cost. Since most barns that I see are probably going to be 30-45 min away I need to account for that too. So just like a vet has a farm call fee, that’s built into the price. The 8″x10″ print price is also built into it, plus probably 45 – 60 min of photographing and editing. So really at ~2 hours of my time, plus the cost of printing the photograph and shipping is built into the $75. Just like having the vet come out to do more than one horse at a time, it’s an incentive also to do a bigger package and get a lot more bang for your buck! 🙂

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