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Sara Shier Photography: What YOU Should Look For When Hiring An Equine Photographer

Sara Shier Photography: What YOU Should Look For When Hiring An Equine Photographer

Sara Shier, from Sara Shier Photography, shares five tips for planning your horse and rider photoshoot!

I know that you have hundreds of options when it comes to choosing a photographer to capture you and your horse! There is talent oozing out of every city, every town in this state; and yet here you are reading this because the selfies are just not cutting it anymore.

The truth is, I can’t be everywhere all the time, and I see a lot of basic articles about “finding a photographer with horse experience”…. well duh! Equine photographers got into this industry because they’re horse people! Let’s dive a little deeper shall we?

I wanted to take the time to help YOU when it comes to researching and picking the perfect photographer to photograph you and your horse! Here are my 6 tips from a friendly equine photographer AND a horse gal!


Before you begin searching for a photographer, you'll need to first decide what type of photography style you prefer. Take the time to figure out what images you absolutely love: moody and earthy, light and airy, true to color, formal-posed, or documentary style. Follow photographers on Instagram and see what kind of work they are producing! If a photographer’s portfolio or social media is full of moody and darker images, I pinky promise you your images are going to look like that. True story: I had a friend come to me saying how she hated her engagement photos, because she didn’t like how dark they were even though she told the photographer she liked light and airy. After looking at the photographers website I had to explain to her that SHE WAS IN THE WRONG as the images from her session clearly represented the photographers style. She hired the wrong photographer for what she was wanting.


In a very non-creepy way of course! Go through a photographer’s website or scroll through their social media for a while. Do they blog sessions so you can see examples of what your gallery would look like vs 1 or 2 highlights? When you scroll through their social media do they tend to post the same people over and over again? Are there reviews from their clients that you can read? Although there are plenty of AMAZING photographers out there that don’t even have social media, its a great way to guarantee that they can provide an experience that will be worth your investment!


Prints, digital images, and turnaround time are the three major points you should be considering when looking at hiring photographers. Really understand the experience they are providing and if that is something that aligns with what you are wanting out of your investment. Are you wanting huge wall pieces for your home? A photographer that specializes in products is probably better off for you! Are you wanting images to share on social media? Then a photographer who provides more digital images as the main attribute of their session is going to serve you better! Do you need the images now for a sales ad? Make sure your photographer can deliver them within your deadline! Here are some big points to consider when looking at what a photographer is offering:

  • Does the fee only include the time during the session?
  • Does the fee include digital files? Are they high-res or web-size?
  • Does the fee include the printing rights to the photos?
  • Can you post the photos to social media sites?
  • Is there an ordering session after the shoot? What products does the photographer offer and what are the prices for prints, canvases, albums, etc.?


4. MAKE SURE THERE IS A CONTRACT (and you read it!)

I always educate my photography students that the quickest way to an unhappy client is not setting clear expectations of what was being provided. Once you have gone over the details with your potential photographer, make sure you have a signed agreement on the service they will be providing you: whats included, what happens if you need to reschedule, if someone is late, what happens if the photographers equipment fails, what happens if someone gets hurt, etc.


Speaking of getting hurt, make sure your photographer is insured! Especially since horses are involved! If someone gets hurt during your photo session because of equipment or something that spooked the horse, you are going to want to guarantee that it doesn’t come back on you! All equestrian centers I’ve ever been to have required me, as a photographer, to provide proof of insurance! Ask your photographer if they carry liability insurance, if they’re a professional they won’t be offended, they’ll appreciate you 100Xs over!


This isn’t to offend anyone because we all start somewhere (I got my start charging $50 for sessions) and everyone has different budgets they have to keep in mind. Realize that good photography is an investment, that will increase in value over time. It is often said, “Bad photography is more expensive than good photography because it wastes time, money and memories.” If you find your dream photographer, you won’t need to hire another one!…until you get a new pony of course ;)

Bonus Tip:….. make sure they know horses. I know I made fun of it, I’M SORRY, but its true :P

Sara Shier Photography is your one stop shop for capturing your story and creating memories with your best friend, whether they have two legs or four! They are based out of Los Angeles and Huntington Beach California, but travel all across Southern California! Available for worldwide travel.