I’ve been talking a lot lately about professional equine photography, and there’s a reason. I’ve partnered with my friend Megan Smits again to write this week’s post on WHY you should be using professional photography if you are serious about building your equine sale, breeding, or training business.
With all of the new and fun cellphone cameras and apps we have at our fingertips (literally), it’s easy to feel like you might be able to get the same quality shots to promote your breeding stallion, OTTB sale horse or equine event yourself. This article explains why you should consider hiring a professional the next time you have a business action that needs to succeed. Photography is one of your most vital marketing tools and likely the most important next to the quality of your website.
Here’s the secret: People make snap judgments based on how things appear, so make all visuals used sing your praises.
Want more money from that sale horse? Need more impressions on your sale ad? Then use a professional photo.
Data proves that the higher quality and more professional looking photo used, the more money that sale will generate by generating a higher perceived value of that horse. If investing in a $100-300 shoot means you receive an extra $1000 on the asking price, the session just paid for itself and then some.
All of the above shots were taken and posted within the same week; the horses are all in the same price range, size, age, and breed.
Which one appears to be worth the $10-11K asking price?
All websites and branding efforts that your business uses are vital to positioning your offering at the highest level. People are rapid to dismiss a perfectly good option if it has an old website with poor photography. However, using beautiful and engaging photography to create an inviting and appealing image of your business will encourage more people to dig deeper, read more about what you are offering and get to know you.
Understanding proper lighting, angles, and positioning in photography is not something that comes with a new camera or the latest iPhone. An equine photographer brings all of these things to the table and will give you a correct result that will portray your horse accurately. Beware that with a point-and-shoot camera, it’s too easy to introduce unfortunate conformation “issues” or create photos that don’t give a realistic sense of the animal’s build. “But it looked 17hh in the photo,” is not something you want to hear after you’ve just pulled Peanut from his stall.
Most equine-business owners do not have a design background or the years of experience to determine the most impactful shot to use out of the many that will be taken during a session. Most horse owners do not have the editing expertise to eliminate background noise of tractor edges, random thumbs in the frame, or to create the most exciting and interesting lighting choice to highlight your stallion’s personality. Knowing how to creatively showcase a mare’s potential or portray the excitement and action of a performance horse is something learned over time.
Not just for sales horses, professional equine photography taken during a show or on your grounds helps to capture your expertise in riding and instructing at the highest level. If you aren’t getting calls for new students or boarders, go back and look at the photos you are using to see if the visuals used are portraying the proper level of quality. Get a second opinion from someone you trust. If things appear dingy, blurry or uninteresting, it may be time to invest in a session to make your business sing.
ABOUT OUR EXPERT PHOTOGRAPHER
Megan Smits is a professional equine photographer with experience ranging from hunter/jumper shows, dressage clinics, and the exciting Retired Racehorse Makeover. Her work has been featured in publications ranging from Practical Horseman, Chronicle of the Horse, TDN, On The Horse magazine, by the USEF, and Eventing Nation.