Madeleine & Rachael | Best Friends | Senior Portraits | Equestrian Style

Best Friends Madeleine and Rachael did their senior portraits together at the beautiful XO Ranch in Aubrey.  Although the both attended to 2 different high schools, their love of horses and eventing gave them common intertest and both trained at the Idyl Wild Stables. 
Both have beautifil grey horses that they used in their photos.  Madeleine with Genoa and Rachael with Smarty.

Madeleine graduated from Plano High School and will be attending Texas Christian University.  Rachael graduated from Prosper High School and will be attending Baylor.

 

Byron & Storm | Equine Best Friends

I get so many messages whenever I post Instagram Stories that have Byron and Storm in them. I thought I would tell a little about them. Their constant playing is very entertaining and I find myself watching them out my back window way too much. I have to admit getting videos isn't always easy, as the minute I step out my back door they stop playing and come to the fence.  They are a "little" spoiled and expect treats when they see me. 
 

A back story on these two and how they became such good friends... We had Storm first; we bought him as a yearling nine years ago for a companion for my daughter's mini, Trooper. I say 'bought,' but I think we rescued him. He was in a 30' x10' pen with 20 other minis. He was the smallest and obviously the bottom of the pecking order. He was thin, the weight of his long mane caused his neck to lay over and his pasterns were very weak. He obviously lacked the nutrition he needed. There were fancier minis in the pen but my husband, daughter and myself decided he needed to come home with us. Storm and Trooper became great friends as well and played often - not as much as Byron and Storm, but did like to pretend they were wild stallions. At least that is what we would joke about.

 

We bought Byron as an eight-year-old as a show horse for my daughter, Mary, to move up on. Mary showed Byron for a while and they did very well. Byron is one of the sweetest horses and his personality made him a favorite for us.  


How Storm and Byron came together is rather sad, but does have a happy ending...  A few weeks before Appaloosa Nationals, Byron was injured. This injury would require a minimum of 6-9 months stall rest. We ended up purchasing another horse for Mary to compete on. The new horse and Mary did very well together and he became her new show horse. We decided to bring Byron home, as we all liked him too much to sell him.  

About the same time all of this was happening, we lost Trooper to colic. Storm was depressed from the loss of his companion and we decided to move things around and turn out Byron in the pen next to Storm. It took a few days but both seemed to enjoy each other's company by standing next to each other.  Although Storm never was kept in the barn and Byron was the only horse in the barn, we decided to move Storm into the stall next to Byron at night to keep each other company. Now they were next to each other 24/7, being turned out and stalled at the same times. After a few weeks we tried to put them together. I was apprehensive about this, as there is such a size difference.  After all, Byron is 16hh and Storm is barely 33".  They got along just fine; sometimes it looks like Byron gets a little rough, but he is very gentle with Storm. It's Storm that can get a little rough and likes to show who the boss is.

 

They have been best friends for a couple years now and I do my best to find good safe toys to keep them entertained.  I have learned nothing is safe and will play with anything that comes close their pen.  Broken tree branches, a hose too close and even rocks have all become toys. 

 Storm and Trooper shortly after we got Storm

Storm and Trooper shortly after we got Storm

 Storm and Trooper being "wild stallions"

Storm and Trooper being "wild stallions"

 Byron during his show career

Byron during his show career

 Trooper was my Christmas card model on year

Trooper was my Christmas card model on year

 Byron on the cover of the Appaloosa Journal.

Byron on the cover of the Appaloosa Journal.

Sierra | Senior Portraits | Mounted Archery | North Texas Equine Photographer

All I can say is Wow!  I was so impressed with Sierra and her horse Nike. To ride a horse at a gallop and to shoot an arrow at the same time is quite a talent.  I can only image the amount of time it took to train a horse and how much practice.  She made it look easy and I definitly  will be attending if they have any mount shooting in the North Texas area or even close by. 

Sierra wore several cute outfits.  She is attending West Texas A&M in the fall and wore a dress in a color to signify that as well as her boots with the WTAMU logo.  Loved her Glam & Grit hat that matched her turquios shirt perfectly.  It even had a buffalo on it which is her college choice's mascot. Her 3rd outfit was in her beautiful prom dress.  I just love prom dress and horses toether in portraits. Lastly she wore one of her mounted archery outfits. 

Lazy Luvah | APHA Stallion | Western Pleasure

The first thing you notice about this gorgous stallion is his long, thick forelock and beautiful coloring.  Soon after that you notice how kind and gentle he is, making it easier to fall in love with him.  This bay roan stallion has also acquired quite a few titles to add to his list of making him a very popular stallion in the Paint Horse World.  As an equine photographer, stallion shoots have become a favorite of mine. 

Brooke | Dallas Senior Portraits | Deep Ellum

We did Brooke's Senior Pictures in some of the best locations.  I do not photograph much in Dallas, but her and her mom new some great spot.  Brooke's mom works in the Art Districts and had access to a tall building where the top floor was not occupied yet. We started early and watch the sunrise from a high rise was something unique for me. There where lots of sculptures and other art that made so interesting backdrops.  The building was also close to the Dallas Opera House and loved their very shallow pool.  I will definitely be back!  after shooting in the Art district, we headed over to Deep Ellum, another 1st for me.  SInce my photograph locations are usually rural, it was refreshing to shoot at these locations. 

Erin | Equestrian Portraits | Horse & Rider | Rockwall Texas

I think photos are some of the best presents and that is what Erin planned to do with the images from her session.  The photo session was intended to be a present for her boyfriend, but I am sure she used this for much more.  I loved how they turned out.  It was rather windy so we started out doing black background photos 1st. Them did some outside with her two horses and three dogs.  Did some horse and rider portraits where she wanted to show her bond with her horse Can Do.  Check out her fabulous belt in those photos! Being a Christmas present of course we did some Christmas Wreath photos!

Volmer Cutting Horses | Weatherford Texas | Equine Photographer

Carrie & Clay won part of their session an auction where I donated a couple Gift Certificates to the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity.  They needed some photos to update their website for their  horse training business.  Had fun doing a wide variety of Stallion photos, horse & rider photos of both Carrie and Clay with horses. AS I left for the day I grabbed a few Ranch images.  High quality images is the best way to stand out and look professional.  Visit the Volmer's website to learn more. 

2018 New Year Q&A | Equine Photography | Photography Education

It has been a while since I have done a Q&A blog, so I thought it would be a good way to start off the New Year. I love to photograph and I love to teach.  I am in the process of building a new studio, but it will not be ready for several more months.  I decided not to renew my lease on the current studio since it would have had to extend for another year.  So for the next few months I won't be able to hold classes, but will still be available for mentorships and lessons.  

I received some intriguing questions that made me even think about my processes and methods.  Something that I should review more regularly.  So one of the most important things I have always stated is, never stop learning - even if you are learning from teaching. 

What advice can you give to someone starting out in Equine Photography?    
Know your subject and clientele.   Owners are picky on how their horses look; many are more critical of the horse than themselves.  Horses can look horrible at certain angles - know which angles work and do not work.  If you are not a horse person, learn as much as possible about horses; this is just as important as learning photography. Get to know your clientele by being where your potential clients are. Horse Shows, Rodeos, Clinics and other horse events.  Learn to market yourself, I took an online workshop years ago from a very successful photographer, He stated that on a scale of 1 to 10 he was a 6 photographer, but a 10 in marketing  He is a 7-figure photographer so I will take his advice.

What is the best thing you learned in 2017, business wise?
Learning to say no.  I am a equine and a senior photographer.  I will do families, weddings, kids and so forth of my current clients but have learned to say no to others.  I refuse to just leave them hanging, though, and have a good network of photographers that specialize in many fields that I can refer them to. 

What is your number one marketing tactic?
Social Media  has changed the way I and many others market throughout the years.  When I first started out, I would have said networking.  This was easy for me, since I have always been involved with horses and my daughters showed, so I had some well-established contacts. Networking with them and doing sessions led to referrals.  Referrals then took over the networking as my best marketing and I developed a referral system.  Currently having a good social media presence is my number one marketing tactic.  Unfortunately it is not one of my strong points, but I do try to stay consistent.  

Any tips for exposing a darker colored horse for a black background? I find their ears get lost easily.
This can be challenging.  When you think about it, shooting a black horse on a black background, they are going blend in.  What I do is try to have some separation by allowing some light to come from behind.  You can use ambient light by leaving a barn light on, or artificially backlight the subject with a speedlight or flashlight.  Doesn't take much light to rim light the ears, but you need to use a snoot to concentrate the light to the ear area.  You do not have to purchase a snoot; I use a piece of paper rolled around the light and attached with rubber band, 

Do you have your own website for stock images or sell them through an agency?
At the moment I only keep my stock images on my SmugMug site.  They are somewhat organized but have a long way to go to have it arranged for anyone other than me to navigate.  In other words, they are a mess.  But I can find images quickly if I get a request for something.  Stock images are not a big source of income for me.  I find they take a whole different marketing approach. If I were to focus more on stock images I would look into an agency though.  

If someone is confident in their skill set and equipment.  What is a good base amount to charge for a quality one hour session with high resolution digital images? 
Pricing is one of the hardest things to figure out when starting a photography business.  There is no good answer. My biggest suggestion is DO NOT look at other photographers' pricing.  You must figure your cost of doing business and how much you want to pay yourself.  Equipment, websites, insurance, travel, software, education, insurance, taxes and other business expenses add up. Then how much time do you want to spend on that hour session and how many digital images do you want to give? That hour behind the camera is so much more! Booking, preparing your client, travel, uploading, culling, editing, ordering, delivering time can had up.  Depending on your editing style, do you spend 5 minutes or 30 minutes per image?  If you are giving 30 images and spend 5 minutes editing each photo, that is 2.5 hours just in editing. Spend 20 minutes per image that is 10 hours in editing!! If you spend 10 hours total on a session (all steps) and only charge $250 for the session, you just paid yourself $25/hour and that is before expenses.  After the cost of doing business that may be cut in 1/2.  Charge what would keep you in business and make a living. 

What is your business model? 
My main clientele are those involved in stock horse breed shows: Paints, Appaloosas and Quarter Horses. I was already familiar with them so that is where my main focus to market to is.  Customer service and the experience is just as important as the product produced.  For tangible products, I have changed from print only to mostly digital.  I do encourage clients to purchase a tangible product along with their digital.  I have samples for them to look at and hold. My ordering sessions have turned more into a selection and education session where they learn about cropping, paper types and the best places to order products from. 

On the Canon 5D Mark III there are a lot of AF options.  Which do you like to use for photographing just horses?  Single point or multiple? 
I use the single point 100% of the time for everything.  I use the multi-controller to move the focus point to where I what the focus to be on.  I like to be in control of what the camera is focusing on.  It does take some practice to move it quickly to your focus point,  but becomes very easy the more you practice.  The only thing I dislike about the Mark III and the Mark IV is the focus point shows up as black and is hard to find sometimes.  The Mark II was red and I found it much easier to keep up with. 

Interested in learning more I am giving 30% off Mentor Session for those who mention this blog until 3/15/2018. http://www.terricage-photography.com/lessons-and-mentoring/ 

 Finishing up a session and showing a quick sneak peek!

Finishing up a session and showing a quick sneak peek!

 Taken at the Opera house in Dallas. 

Taken at the Opera house in Dallas. 

Some behind the scenes photos:

 Taken during a mentor session for  KJ Brewer Photography in Wyoming

Taken during a mentor session for  KJ Brewer Photography in Wyoming

 Taken during a senior session in Wildorado TX.

Taken during a senior session in Wildorado TX.

 Getting the head low and ears up during a equine session in Whitesboro Texas

Getting the head low and ears up during a equine session in Whitesboro Texas

 Taken during a senior session in Dallas.  I use the  Flashpoint Xplorer in most of my sessions.  

Taken during a senior session in Dallas.  I use the  Flashpoint Xplorer in most of my sessions.  

 Stallion shoot in Aubrey

Stallion shoot in Aubrey

 Sunrise session. In summer months I prefer the mornings when it is cooler

Sunrise session. In summer months I prefer the mornings when it is cooler

Bailey & Pepper | Byron Nelson High School | Senior Photographer

Despite the wind and the 1st cold snap of the season, Bailey had a great session.  So much personality and energy!  We did her most of her session in Argyle  at her trainers where her horse, Pepper is kept before moving to Lantana for some photos without her horse.   

Ariah & Easy | Equine Photographer | Aubrey Texas

Ariah was one of my models for a project I was doing.  I was hosting a class on horse & human portraits for Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and needed some good and bad examples.   As you can see it was hard to get bad examples as Ariah and her horse Easy where picture perfect.