-Making the Most of Photography-
Miniature Horse business is by no means a small one. In the last decade,
the American Miniature Horse Association has seen the second largest
increase (50 percent) of all breeds in annual foal registrations.
What does this
mean for the average AMHA owner/breeder? Business is thriving. And so is
competition. Promotion is essential to remain a competitive, successful
force in the industry, whether it is the promotion of a stallion, breeding
program, or individual's show performance. And, when print advertising is
the primary medium, success often translates into quality, professional
influences contribute to a horse's marketability such as training and
performance; yet, it is the viewer's initial contact with that horse via a
photograph that will form the first opinion. Clever adspeak may persuade
to a point, but photographs, both good and bad, can mean the difference
between people marking the page or turning it.
professional Miniature Horse photographer Stuart Vesty said it best,
"After you consider the costs of owning, training, showing, and
promoting a horse, the money spent on professional photographs is often
insignificant in comparison, but can be important as anything when it
comes to another's opinion of him." (*Arabian Horse Times, Marketing
Guide 1999, page P)
Move to Pro
Professional photography is not an option for every business. But, for
those who are considering the investment here are some tips:
Budget - Create a budget. Realistically determine what dollars you
have to invest in photography.
Research - Ask around. People who have had a positive and
successful experience with a photographer are never close-lipped about it.
Note photographer names on ads that have made an
impression on you.
Determine what style would best showcase your
stallion, breeding program, or individual's show performance and find the
photographer who specializes in it (free movement, halter, performance,
Plan - Plan Ahead. Professional photographers schedule months and
even up to a year in advance.
Giving it a Go - Professional photography
not in your budget? Not a problem. For those who must operate on a smaller
budget here are some tips on how to get the best photos on your own:
HORSE: Professional or novice, the same rules apply for preparing
your horse. Groom as necessary, paying close attention to white areas and
make-up. Do not overuse sheens or gels.
SETTING: Again, the same rules apply. Make sure the scenery is
uncluttered and prepared. Flora and fauna are nice but not if they
overwhelm and distract from the main focus, the horse. Make sure
stationary objects are at least 20-35 feet away from the horse.
EQUIPMENT: Know your film. Follow the manufacturer's advice for
film speed usage. Always use a reputable photo developer.
Film Speed Tips
Best when used outdoors in bright light conditions; recommended for still
200 - All-purpose film for general shots, light action, and bright
300 - Best when used for action shots and for inside photographs
that require a flash.
If using a digital camera, check with your publication to make sure your
camera meets their mechanical standards. (i.e. Miniature Horse World
requires 300 dpi (dots per inch) on digital photography)
Lighting - Avoid shooting outdoors during the middle of the day
since overhead sun creates harsh, dark shadows. Early morning and late
afternoon sunlight will reduce harsh shadows and make colors and lines
stand out. Use a flash when necessary, especially indoor and even outdoors
if there are shadows.
Always remember that it could take several pictures, even several rolls of
film to get that "perfect shot" - keep shooting.
Official Registration Pictures
-How to Avoid
Problems With Your Paperwork-
of the major problems the AMHA Registration Department faces when trying
to complete a registration, transfer of ownership or status chance is the
lack of or poor quality of photographs submitted. Ill-suited photographs
cannot be used for registration purposes and force AMHA to place the
document in a pending file until new photographs can be obtained. No
photographs, not enough photographs, and poor photographs keep you from
receiving your paperwork in a timely manner.
So, whether this is your first or umpteenth set
of photographs submitted for registration, transfers of ownership, or
status change, here are a few quick guidelines to make sure your
photographs are as registration-proof as possible:
All applications for registration, transfers of
ownership, and temporary to permanent status must be accompanies by:
Option 1: Four current color photographs showing all head, leg, and
Photo 1: Left side with all four feet visible.
Photo 2: Right side with all four feet visible.
Photo 3 & 4: Head facing into the camera with
entire flat of the face visible and forelock pulled completely aside.
OR Option 2: Two current color photographs showing all head, leg,
and body markings.
Photo 1: Left side with all four feet visible and head
facing into the camera with entire flat of face visible and forelock
pulled completely to the side.
Photo 2: Right side with all four feet visible and
head facing into the camera with entire flat of face visible and forelock
pulled completely to the side.
Registration Photo Checklist
SIZING - Photos
should be no smaller than three by three inches (3x3). Horse's image must
be 80 percent (80%) of the photo. Horse's image should be limited to only
that specific horse (no groupings). Do not trim photographs.
QUALITY - Avoid these common mistakes:
- Submitting photo of foal nursing, with its head down grazing, in a feed
bucket, or standing in hay, a field or pasture.
- Photos that clearly show all four feet are best.
- Avoid photographs that are too light or too dark.
- AMHA needs good clear photographs of the horse's color during different
- Digital photographs are only accepted IF printed on photographic paper.
TRANSFER NOTE - ALWAYS compare very carefully the horse your are
purchasing with the photograph of the horse on the certificate. ALWAYS
make sure to include photographs of all markings when sending in transfers
Tips From Photographer
- Make sure to clip
your horse at least one week in advance to get his true color.
- Reclip head, ears, and neck the day of the photo shoot if
taking head shots.
-Bathe as necessary to present your horse's best, pay close
attention to white areas
-Less means more regarding make-up, a light dusting with a sheen
produce and a damp rag will go a long way.
all equipment is clean and well fitted.
-A show halter is best when taking head and neck shots.
-Don't discount the power a free movement photo (taken in enclosed
area without tack) might have for your horse.
background that is relatively simple, as this will focus the
attention on the horse not the scenery.
-Make sure background area is prepared (fences painted, lawn mowed,
number of people involved, the better as too many people will
distract the horse.
-Know the props/gimmicks that will get the expression you need from
your horse and have them handy (i.e. mirrors, trash bags, rattles,
DID YOU KNOW?
with black tones in their coats such as blacks, bays, blue roans,
and grays photograph better in the morning hours? And, the afternoon
hours are a better time to photograph horses with red tones in their
coats such as sorrels, chestnuts, and red roans?