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Equestrian editorial photography at Aston Le Walls

Posted on 6th August 2017 in .  So far there are No comments

Equestrian editorial photography

  • what is the difference between event photography and editorial photography?
  • what happens when the publication is an equestrian one?
  • working a cross country course
  • the results

I've often been asked if covering an event for a magazine is like event photography, and I always answer, "yes, and no!"

The difference between event photography and editorial photography is usually clear. Event photography is about the horse, editorial photography is about the rider. When National newspapers cover an equestrian event the emphasis is generally on tight crops of riders with little or no thought for the horse, size of the fence, setting, etc. An event photographer would be concentrating on the size of the obstacle; the beautiful house in the background, and above all, making the horse look as good as possible.

This distinction becomes blurred when the editorial publication is an equestrian magazine.

I was lying on a beach in the Mediterranean when I received a message from the picture desk at Horse & Hound asking me to cover the Advanced and Intermediate day at Aston Le Walls for them. The weather was going to be a little different to what I had become used to!

As an event photographer (in this case the delightful Matt Nuttall) I would walk both courses and identify the fences which I thought were going to make the best images to sell to riders. Open ditches, big hedges, water complexes, are all favourites. Anything which makes the rider proud of their horse. As an equestrian editorial photographer my job is to do a similar thing, choosing my angles at each fence to show the obstacle, and flatter both horse and rider. The main difference is that I have to have one significant factor in mind: the pictures published are likely to be the winners and runners-up in the different sections, and, is possible, need to be over different fences, or at least different angles.

On that Saturday at Aston Le Walls there were seven sections in total, four Advanced and three Intermediate, giving a total of 21 people that could be featured in the article which goes to print. Ideally, each of the people featured should be photographed over a different fence!

Realistically, a three page article is likely to use a maximum of nine images, which obviously helps,  but I was going to be using the 24 fences on the Aston course as much as possible.

I had a bit of an advantage with the Advanced sections because they had completed their show jumping rounds on the evening before, giving me an insight into the leading combinations of the various sections and therefore allowing me to plan my fence locations so that they were photographed over different obstacles.

This doesn't always go to plan.

Sometimes a fence isn't photographing well and you need to change your plan accordingly. Riders often run out of order and can catch you unawares. The Intermediate sections were completing their show jumping phase while the Advanced sections were going XC so I had no idea who was leading these sections until the commentator revealed their score and position as they started their cross country round. This is where "course management" becomes extremely hard.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, this is what went to press...

Equestrian editorial photography: Paul Tapner and YOGI BEAR VIII
Paul Tapner and YOGI BEAR VIII
Equestrian editorial photography: Emily Philp and CAMEMBERT
Emily Philp and CAMEMBERT
Equestrian editorial photography: Dan Jocelyn and BLACKTHORN CRUISE
Equestrian editorial photography: Heidi Coy and ROYAL FURY
Heidi Coy and ROYAL FURY
Equestrian editorial photography: Laura Beth Limb and ELJA
Laura Beth Limb and ELJA
Equestrian editorial photography: Louise Harwood and JENGA II
Louise Harwood and JENGA II
Equestrian editorial photography: Millie Dumas and RF WEST INDIE
Millie Dumas and RF WEST INDIE
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About Nico

I am an equine photographer, website designer and hosting provider living in Lincolnshire.

I work with clients who are sole traders and others which are FTSE companies. They are equally important to me.

If you need commercial photographyeditorial photography, event photography, lifestyle, equestrian or wedding photography, then I can help you, with over 30 years experience in these areas.

I also teach photography. I mentor photographers with a range of experience, from beginners to working professionals and run an equine photography course which gives members access to articles about the business of equestrian photography.

I have a varied set of skills, having worked for well known web design, SEO and analytics companies in parallel to my photography.

I design, host and maintain websites for clients as varied as farms, interior designers and equestrian centres, as well as for bloggers and sportspeople, including many riders.

I am the Public Relations Officer for the Midlands Area Point-to-Point Association, a role which utilises my PR and social media skills to promote horse racing both online and in the National press.

If you think that I could be the right person to help you, whatever your project, then please get in touch and we can discuss what you need and the ways in which I can help.

You can find out more about me here.

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