So what happens when you get together a group of equine photographers who all cover overlapping locations? Jealousy, competition, wanting to avoid each other at all costs? Well, no, not in our case! A few weeks ago I got together with Louise, Laura and Katie - we all met each other through the Small & Supercharged group on Facebook that you've probably heard me mention a few times now?
(above and first image - Katie Mortimore)
We are like minded, enthusiastic and eager to learn and bounce ideas off each other. We all have our own ways of working, we all have our own target-clients, we all have our own style, we all have our own areas of expertise, there's room for ALL of us in this game!
Louise travelled from the other side of Reading, Laura joined us from Suffolk and Katie made the trip across from Wiltshire. Instead of hiding our "secrets" and ideas, we find it far more beneficial to put our heads together. So, I organised a little photography day with some horses and models and we all had a good play around. We were able to ask eachother advice and share our common problems on shoots. We were able to sit back and learn from a distance as each of us directed our models for the day.
So, who were our models for the day? Meet Becky and her daughter Holly who stepped in last minute due to our other model (equine!) sadly being injured. Breeze and Gypsie were waiting on the yard for us when we arrived. After a quick bite to eat, and chatter, Holly and Becky finished grooming the ponies and we were good to go. Whilst we were waiting for the horses, I asked everyone to have a good look around at the location. It's the yard where I kept Dolly, so I know it pretty well. However, it was really interesting to see that everyone had their own preferred places to photograph. I had my "go to places" whenever someone had a shoot at the yard, but, for example, Laura spotted a tree on the lane that I hadn't considered before, and just at the right angle to avoid the pig-pen, you got a lovely view up the lane, with our model able to lean against the tree.
After we all had cuddles from the lovely Goofy who had come over to see us, we all headed up on to the lane. I started off by giving Holly and Becky some directions once the horses were in place. Everyone then grabbed their spot and started snapping whilst I was busy getting the horses ears forward, for a change!
(above and below - Katie Mortimore)
What was fascinating was to see that for several shots I had positioned everyone for, we all climbed on top of each other to get the perfect angle, however on some of them, we all totally spread out and went for different angles completely! Furthermore, once we sat down and edited our images, we had great fun sharing our favourites in a little group we had made on Facebook as well as looking at how different each of our images had come out. From the different editing styles to again, the totally different angling and approach to each of our images.
It was time for a location change and for someone else to take charge. Becky and Holly listened to all of our instructions so well and we did faff around quite a bit between shots, giving each other pointers, mainly. The ponies had so much patience for us, as did our human models!
We shouldn't fear what we are giving away every time we speak to a "competitor" but we should be proud at the fact we can share our knowledge with someone else. I love seeing my friends succeed and I love nothing more than for other people to love what they're good at. In some instances it was the smallest little snippets of information that one of us said that really helped the other, and at times I'm not even sure we were totally aware that someone was picking up from a tiny little comment, suggestion or re-positioning.
From fine art to reportage style shots, we all had something different to offer and each one of us listened to the ideas the other shared. We could all take something from each other but also, more importantly, we were able to share our knowledge not only about the shoot, but how each of us deals with each process of the shoot. From editing to positioning horses for black background photographs, we've all still continued chatting since the day, helping each other out on model releases, model calls and sharing our funny moments from shoots! The three of us all have varying levels of experience and confidence levels but it was great that we were all able to assist one another, share our ideas and observe each other working, oh and looking over at what settings each of us were using!
(above and below - Katie Mortimore)
I think it just shows that there is such a variety in what everyone creates, their vision and finished product. If no one shared what they did, or worked together, it'd be a very lonely, bitter sphere. We can all take away so much from sharing ideas and that's the basis the Small & Supercharged group thrives from. Not only that, but it just proves that there's space for each and every one of us in this market and I really hope that other photographers and professionals can learn something from this. There are alot of photographers out there but I'm more than happy, and comfortable to admit that my style doesn't shoot everyone. Or that someone else's pricing structure or packages better suits some people than what I offer, but not only that, I know that I'm not going to be able to appeal to every single horse owner that wants a shoot with their horse. I've developed a style that suits me, and a finished product that I would be happy to hang at home on my walls.
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