For the love of the game…

I’ve been a professional photographer for the past 14 years, and during that period of time I’ve had the opportunity to photograph a multitude of various genres including weddings, senior portraits, hundreds of nature type photos like sunsets, sunrises, birds, bugs, flowers, trees, lakes, and streams.  But by far the vast majority of the photos I take, and continue to take, have been those of horse show events – 10’s of thousands of photos each year!

I’ve met, and gotten to know, quite a few people who either visit or participate at these events, and one thing that I admire the most about my horse friends, is their shared love for their animals and sport. They don’t always agree with each other, and sometimes they don’t even get along with each other, but through it all they all share the same passion, and I envy that.

My passion however is completely different, and that of what I like to call “Model Photography” – I’m not sure if that is the proper term to use for what I love to do, but it is what I use to describe my love of taking artful, sometimes themed photos of ladies willing to pose for me.  Yes, I specifically said “ladies” and not the more generic word “people” – because ladies are who I like to photograph. No offense meant to the males out there, but we all like what we like, and I like creating works of art by photographing ladies – and let’s face it, most males loath the idea of standing in front of a camera to begin with, so…

Anyway… You would think knowing as many horse friends like I do, that finding ladies willing to pose for me would be a piece of cake, but it turns out that it can be a lot harder than one would think. The main issue I think isn’t the lack of people, but the lack of people who share that same passion for creating the art.

Not to be misunderstood, all of the girls that I have used, seem to like to pose, and they do it when they can, but I’m almost positive that it doesn’t have the same priority for them as it does for me.  Plus, after their first session, I’m sure there’s the sudden realization that modeling can be a lot harder than it looks. There’s work involved like hair, makeup, poses and expressions. And there’s travel time to whatever location we use – whether it be out doors or in my studio.  A session can be very tiring! And of course, it goes without saying that they all have their own lives they are living as well!

For compensation I try to be as generous as I possibly can. I give them all the photos from the sessions we shoot, and sometimes even some of the session wardrobe if it’s something that I’ve purchased that I can’t, or won’t use again.

These creative sessions, I shoot for free. There’s never any money involved, unless it’s needed to purchase specific wardrobe and props. But I never make a cent on the projects – and I’m perfectly happy with that as long as I can show off the end results.

Yes, I could hire professional models to do these types of sessions, but one thing I’ve discovered when using models that I don’t know or barely know instead of using willing friends, is that the end product doesn’t have the same “emotional value” to me.  So it’s more than just the art we are creating then – obviously there are the photos, but there’s also the “back story” and history of using someone I know to make the project more complete and meaningful.

So you see, this is why I envy the shared passion that my horse friends have together. I would love to have model friends who share the same love of creation that I do… To have them “lined up” and eager to do a new project… To offer ideas for new things to try, new places to go – all for the excitement of viewing the end results – and for the love of the game.