This week we are so excited to introduce Kristin Lee Photography! Kristin is a true photographic genius and a real gem of a person. Growing up as a "typical horse girl," Kirstin's passion for these creatures evolved into a career as a leading photographer in the equestrian community. After achieving her Associates Degree in Business, she attended Brooks Institute for Photography and obtained in 2012 her Degree for Bachelor Fine Arts in Professional Photography.
You may be unfamiliar with her name, but we would bet that you have seen Kristin's work. Kristin is the mastermind behind many magazine covers, content in various publications, on websites (including Equivont!), and has her photos spread all over social media (she photographs Britt Sabbah, and Life Equestrian!). The work by Kristin Lee Photography was most recently featured as the cover of the March edition Sidelines Magazine with none other than dressage superstar, Laura Graves.
To put it simply, Laura Graves is the first American rider to be ranked FEI World #1 for dressage with her own horse, Verdades. She and Verdades have grown together in an inspirational tale and have become a powerful duo known around the world.
Behind the Scenes
We got to tag along during the photoshoot for Sidelines at the Winter Dressage Festival in Wellington, and watched both of these #bossbabes in their element: Laura casually dancing around the dressage court and Kristin making her photography magic happen. Mix the two talents together and it's breathtaking!
Though both of these women are geniuses in their own right, we were continually impressed by their easy-going demeanor and relatable personalities. Laura is no stranger to the camera and demonstrated what it's like to work with a true professional. Scoping out the venue beforehand, Kristin awed us with her creativity and uncanny ability to capture the moment. We even convinced the security guard to let us hang out on the carousel- well worth it!
Following the shoot, we wanted to gain insight into the profession of photography especially in the equine industry and Kristin was gracious to share her knowledge with us. In her own words:
What three things make up a shoot?
Composition- You have to train yourself how to see through the camera-- I know it sounds odd. You’re probably thinking that I see this every day, which you do. When you see through the camera, you need to pick up on all the details, not just to your subject and their framing but to your background as well. Backgrounds can be extremely distracting and take away from your shot.
Light- I probably should’ve put light as #1 so let’s say its a tie! I love utilizing the sun as a backlight for my subjects; thankfully at Brooks Institute, I learned all my lighting tools so I can manage in any situation or time of day. I’m constantly studying new techniques and equipment; I want to make the process as flawless and smooth as can be for my subjects (horse and rider).
Emotion- Get to know your subject; for my cover shoots I only have a few minutes to learn about this person and pick up their personality before we start to shoot. So if I only have 45 min-1 hr to get all the shots I need, I want to make sure he/she is captured to the fullest. The images should show the viewer who my subject is. They aren’t kidding when they say pictures are worth a thousand words.
When working with horses and equestrians, how do you get consistently good results with unpredictable animals and inexperienced people?
Working with unpredictable animals and inexperienced people is tough, I’d be lying if I said it was easy. I want to capture a moment in time for them, knowing horses and having ridden for 16 plus years is incredibly helpful. You need to know how to handle a situation; if a horse is getting antsy and won’t stand still, let the person walk them for a minute or two till it relaxes and can stand still for a second to get a few shots then get them walking again. You want both horse and rider to be comfortable. I’ve found posed photos are great, but the true interaction with the horse is what all clients desire -- how could you not -- those are the moments. My brain is always looking for new locations and interactions; I want each shoot to be unique and strive for my imagery to look different even though there is only so much you can do with a horse.
It's mainly about how you treat people and making them feel comfortable- that's when the magic happens!
Thanks to our partners for making this happen! A huge thank you to Kristin for allowing us to tag along in her photoshoot with Laura Graves. We have a new appreciation for our talented friend! Learn how to schedule a photoshoot for you and your horse with Kristin Lee Photography by visiting here.