The very fact that you have opened this post probably means that you have more than a passing interest in learning how to make money from equine photography.
This is good.
For many, photography is merely a hobby, and hobbyists are happy to share their work for free, rather than for personal gain. They share galleries of hundreds of un-watermarked images on social media; send free images to riders; or offer their work to websites and printed publications, all for “exposure”.
I had lunch with two top riders at Defender Burghley last week and I asked them what deals they had running with the two photographers who were providing images for their social media. "Oh, they just send them to me for nothing," they both replied. The two photographers concerned are well known and were breaching the rules of accreditation by doing it.
Sharing free photos like this may get you a few followers who are after something for nothing but this also has the effect of removing any value to good photography.
The end-user, the rider, gets used to the idea of a constant supply of free images so the photographer cannot suddenly start charging for them and expect to keep the rider as a customer. Nor are other riders likely to buy photographs from other photographers if, instead, they can source free ones.
How do we make money for our images instead?
Yes. Unequivocally yes. It is hard work, but it can be done. Read on to find out how.
This article is targeted squarely at describing the different ways you can make money from equine photography. None of them are easy, and some would require more training in other areas in addition to improving your photography skills. All of them have the potential to make you a decent income.
Realistically, to make money from equine photography as your only income source, you will probably need to combine a number of these revenue streams. It is easy to do once you have got the hang of each of the ideas below.
For example, at one event this summer I combined two commercial clients - one small, one large - with an editorial client who paid me for all my cross country images, and a rider paid for an event package too. There were subsequent editorial sales from my web site as well.
So lets go through each of these ways to make money from equine photography.