The Golden Boy, Gaining strength and a Giveaway

Sorry for being extra extra MIA. Mea culpa. I do have some exciting news however!

Jack is staying out of trouble for the moment, and even has his own pint-sized pasture mate to keep him company. It’s like watching Jack’s shadow take form, and it’s adorable when they groom each other (the pony can barely reach his back!).

We are working our way towards a whole 20 minutes of trot this week, and then when I return from WEG we get to *gasp* canter! Only on straight lines to start for the first week, but hopefully by the end of the month we can do crazy shit like 20m circles. Bananas.

So we’re targeting October for our first jump session, which will be in a lesson so we can have professional eagle eyes on us to be sure blondie looks 100% landing on his toes. And then… I might be looking to make plans, but I’m jaded about putting it in ink so let’s just say… we’ll see.

So moody. Le artiste.

I am also trying to hand at getting fitter, which is long overdue. As in, I haven’t been able to wear last year’s pants for what seems like forever, and I would like to remedy that. So I’ve started going to Barre classes after seeing the difference in a friend’s physique, and holy cow you guys, that shit is hard. And not like “I can’t keep up with the choreography” hard (although that happens on my brain dead days), but in the my-legs-are-shaking-it-burns-i-hate-you kind of way. But I leave feeling like I’m actually getting stronger and just 2 weeks in I am already able to do a lot more than I could on day 1. So, progress, right?

Lastly, the giveaway. I have been working hard on my photography, and working on building a brand on Instagram. So I paired up with all sorts of really cool equestrian brands to host this Giveaway. There’s 7 items up for grabs, and only 30 comments so far… so the odds are pretty good that if you comment you’ll win something! So please, please, head over to my Instagram page and participate. And encourage your friends! I mean- free, cool, equestrian stuff- why not??

The goods up for grabs:

So soft, so flowy… I’ll be repping one at the WEG!

That’s enough plugging and updates for today! Hopefully more excitement and a bit of a return to blogging at WEG… I’ve missed you guys!

Photography Friday: White Background Portraits

There’s a bit of a new craze in the Equine photography world- and that’s a twist on the ‘traditional’ black background portraits- white backgrounds. Now these are nothing new in terms of portraiture, in fact I’ve been a long time fan of Sharon Montrose‘s studio portraits of wildlife and baby animals (seriously- so cute!). But your average equine photographer doesn’t have a studio backdrop large enough to support a subject as large as a horse. And a lot of us, like myself, use only natural light. So while the concept of the white background is similar, a much different technical approach is used.

In some ways, shooting white background images allows for a lot more flexibility than black background. Whereas in a typical shoot I am constantly searching for soft/diffused light or shade, for these images wide open light is best. I allow myself to slightly overexpose the image, and try and fill the frame with sky behind my subject. This generally makes for a very bright, if not white, background, and then edits in post-processing ‘clip the whites’ in the rest of the background- and voila! White background.
I’m still experimenting with poses (I really love the above one, creating depth within the subject sitting on a completely flat background) and how to look at different colors of horses against the white background.

What do you guys think? Are you into this new trend? Prefer black background? Or not a fan of white/black background at all, and prefer natural-environment/outdoor portraits?

Sorry for the Radio Silence

This week has been BUSY.

Also, I decided a great thing to do in the middle of a busy week at work was to go visit my parents and spend a day purging 30 years worth of equine-related nonsense. So smart. So dirty. So many things came back with me that shouldn’t. (shh- don’t tell the hubby)

But beyond all the things crammed into the bed of my truck, I wanted to share with you guys this:

I’m so excited, and grateful for the opportunity to talk about equestrian photography with a community of horse-lovers from around the country. It’s an exciting little adventure!

If you want to read the article, check it out HERE!

Photography Friday: Dyland and Rizzo

You may not know Dylan Phillips personally, but if you’re a horse person on the internet, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen her before. Almost half a million have seen her viral video, after all:

Dylan and Rusty, a few years later ❤

Now a little bit older, Dylan is one heck of a rider and just waiting until her 14th birthday before she can rock and roll around Prelim with her new partner, Rizzo. Rizzo, aka Fernhill Fierce, is an Irish Sport Horse mare and the new love of Dylan’s life. We took these images to memorialize the start of this beautiful partnership, and I can’t wait to see what these two accomplish together!

Have a great weekend all! And please, if you have a minute, check in with yesterday’s poll on blog content!

Photography Friday: Sofia and Sunny

I’ve done so many shoots recently that I honestly can’t remember which I’ve shared and which I haven’t! So let me share one of my more recent sessions- this is Sofia and Sunny, a Welsh cross mare that is just beyond precious. The sweet relationship that these two have was just adorable- Sunny is nothing like your typical pony mare, and Sofia just showered her with love and kisses- all I had to do was press the shutter button!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Photography Friday: Niamh & Scout

Whilst in Delaware (slash PA slash MD etc etc) for Fair Hill, I put out feelers for portrait sessions. I couldn’t have been more thrilled, then, with Niamh reached out to me saying she’d be interested in getting some photos with the men in her life. Blogger meetup + ponies + pictures = Hell yes count me in! After rolling up to their gorgeous NJ location (and quickly confirming that I was indeed pronouncing her name correctly!) we gushed about the appearance of sunlight (a rarity that week) and I got introduced to Scout, who is a sweetie.

Travis, Niamh’s other main man, also came to join us, and was truly a wizard in creating zen for all of us. With our trio of subjects complete, we wandered the fields and toodled down the path to another barn with the most gorgeous texture that I was in photographer heaven.

Niamh is also a photographer, which put some pressure on me, but luckily she was charming in front of the camera, and OMG her outfits?! Niamh if I come back I may be raiding your closet. Fair warning.

 

loved getting to meet Niamh and only wish that we would have had more time to split a bottle of wine and hang out for a while. Next time, plus the whole closet thing- OK?

Happy Friday all! Hope you have a great weekend!

An infographic view of the year of Photography

At the start of the year, I made a goal to really focus on my photography side-hustle. To get started I made an investment in new kit, namely a full-frame body and an 85mm prime lens that is officially my new workhorse. Then I scheduled a couple free shoots with folks who I knew had a large social media following. This not only allowed me to practice with my new gear in a low-pressure environment, but also helped get my name out amidst the huge number of photographers that pop up in my area every day.

Since then, I’ve made other investments in this endeavor- such as rebranding, and even getting the above headshot done for my website. I’ve learned a lot about marketing my services, though still have a huge way to go in that area. But 10 months later, I’m incredibly proud of where I am. For sure, sacrifices have been made, but every shoot is still so exciting to me and through my photography I get to meet some really incredible equestrians in my area that I wouldn’t otherwise know.

 

I hope you guys are not absolutely fed up with all of the Photography Friday posts, because I’ve got enough in the hopper to essentially see us through the year! Thanks to all who have made suggestions, left kind comments, and in general been on this journey with me. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for BGD!

Rebranding BGD

Britt Gillis Design, aka my side hustle, has been a big part of my life since I graduated with my Art & Design degree. It’s an entity that has produced countless t-shirts, logos, website designs, and of course photography.

As any designer knows, creating a brand for yourself is important to providing visual cues to help your audience form opinions. For instance a hand-drawn logo paired with a font like Comic Sans suggests working with children. An elegant, serif based logo can likewise suggest a bran with traditional values and a timeless offering. When I first created BGD, I didn’t know quite what I wanted to be. My logo, then, was a mix of a fun calligraphy font, a modern sans serif font, and a shape that suggested (to me) both design from both a fundamental level as well as hinting at the aperture of a camera. You’ve probably noticed this little ditty posted on all of my photography that I share on this blog every Friday.

However, in time all things change, and BGD no longer emphasizes design in all its aspects. While I won’t rule out any identity projects that come my way, my real focus is the photography that I love so much. That said, I felt like my logo was doing me no great good in suggesting either anything equestrian, nor speaking to the demographic that I typically serve. So I hired a calligrapher and went down the path of creating a new identity with her, and I am so pleased on where we landed:

The colors, the crest, and the whimsy of the design just make me giddy, and I love the subtle horseshoe nestled into the base, finally incorporating horses into BGD’s identity. My new watermark is simply my name now, and for me, marks each image with an image that relates the relaxed yet elegant style that I strive for in my work.

Have any of you gone through a rebranding exercise for yourself, or your blog? What visual components did you feel were needed to communicate who you are? What drove you to making the change in the first place? Did you outsource the rebranding project, or tackle it yourself? What would you keep today, or what do you think could be tweaked to meet your present image?

Photography Friday: Izze’s Senior Portraits

Last weekend I ran around the American Tobacco Campus, a Durham landmark, with Izze for her senior portraits. Izze is an accomplished rider who just recently earned her bronze medal in dressage, and captain of her school’s field hockey team. It was a joy getting to spend time together away from the barn and have her do all sorts of ridiculous things for my camera!

Next week I’m off to Fair Hill to do some photography- anyone else going to the 3***?