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***?

Photography Friday: OSSbourne

Ossbourne is a special pony with more accolades than horses twice his size. He’s competed in both Europe and the States, trained up thru PSG, and has given no less than 7 riders the opportunity to earn their Bronze medals! Such a unique guy deserved a send off with all the bells and whistles, and I was so happy to be able to capture these sweet moments between Kim and OSS before he headed north to be another little girl’s unicorn!

We will miss you around the barn OSS, and wishing you many happy trails in your new home! Happy Friday everyone!

Photography Friday: Frog Pond Farm

When I received a phone call from Helen, she mentioned that she wanted some photos with her heart horse, Othello. Her sweet partner had been dealing with multiple health issues, and it was important to capture their relationship in images while he was still with her. I was touched beyond belief to hear her speak, and absolutely agreed to come to her farm. The photos we took of Othello and the other occupants of the farm are some of my favorites of late, and I feel so blessed to have been a part of this special day. Othello has now crossed the rainbow bridge, but he will forever live on in these images and in the hearts of the ones who loved him.

Give your ponies a hug, everyone, and happy Friday.

Photography Friday: Nicole and Logan

When fellow home-town equestrian, Nicole, reached out to me about doing her engagement portraits with her fiance Logan, I was all in. Two gorgeous horses, a simply stunning summer evening (75* in June- inconceivable!) , and just the most glorious light you have ever seen- this is the romantic session any photographer could wish for!

Logan proposed at the Carolina Horse Park, and its obvious that he is a wonderful horse husband in the making. The two are working on building their dream farm all while planning their wedding, which will be Rolex weekend! I’m so thrilled to have been a part of this special moment for these two, and can’t wait to see all the amazing things they will accomplish together!

Happy Friday all!

Photography Friday: Black background Mania

In the last couple weeks my photoshop fingers have been running at full speed trying to keep up with the number of photography requests I have had. Not that I am complaining one bit- I LOVE getting to show these owners how stunning their horses are through these portraits.

Having so many at once has also allowed me to refine my editing style, which (at the risk of sounding snobby) I’ve come to think of as slightly more ‘fine art’ than my previous edits. With more horses to shoot next week, I’m definitely excited to build some momentum around my photography and hopefully keep that ball rolling!

Happy Friday all, and enjoy your weekend!

Photography Friday: Black Background Photos Behind the scenes

Black background images are all the rage right now, and it’s easy to see why. So simple in their essence, they are a study of the horse as a form with an extra dash of drama.Any photographer worth their salt will tell you that the best way to do these images is in camera, and I completely agree. They mostly require a center aisle that allows light to be blocked in such a way that you achieve a distinctive difference between light and dark (shadow and well, not shadowed). Even better if either the aisle then is a very long one, or has doors at the opposite end that prevents light from seeping into the background. This is less commonly available, so is a nice-to-have rather than a necessary component.

So at the risk of ruining the magic, here are a couple examples of what I see in-camera versus the final product.

In this photo, and the image below, you can see a frequent participant in my photoshoots: a giant blue squeaky toy. Sometimes the horses could care less when something so bright and blue and loud is seemingly dying beneath their nose. Other times, you get what I call the dragon pose, where the horse elongates and arches his neck and there becomes a definite spark to their overall expression. That, as Cinderella demonstrates below, is my favorite way to show off these horses as the athletes they are.

As you can see, there is a variance in how much editing a particular shot will require. My job when I show up to do one of these images is to utilize the given environment to the best of my ability, then consider the horse/model’s best features and how to pose them and show them off. Then, it’s about reading the light, making the right decisions for settings on my camera, and spending time in post-processing (I use both lightroom and photoshop) to create the final image.

And there you have it folks! A peek behind the curtain on the ever-popular black background photo! Happy Friday all!