My name is Sophie. I’m an equine photographer, a horse addict and a story-teller and I’m incredibly lucky to be able to tell the stories of horses owners throughout the UK and call it a job. I’m 27, based in Chelmsford, in Essex and travel all over, photographing horses and their humans. Join us to as we talk with Sophie about her work and her blogging which generates lots of engagement and a constant flow of people requesting her services as an equine photographer and lover of horses of all kinds.
I love milky tea (one sugar), Instagram, music that makes you want to dance, my UGGs, diet Coke, sunsets, reading smutty romance novels on my Kindle whilst pretending to read something intellectual, anything navy-blue, things that sparkle and my Cocker Spaniel, Barney. Welcome to my blog and thank you for taking the time to look around.
I’ve ridden and had horses since I was three years old and actually have an Equine Studies and Stud Management degree, from Writtle College. My parents aren’t at all horsey, although, every year, my dad tells me he could win the Puissance, at Olympia, with his eyes closed. Because, you just sit and kick, right? My first pony was a moody Shetland mare, called Gemma, who thought it was fun to terrorise my mum. Since then I’ve owned, loaned and ridden Thoroughbreds, M&Ms, cobs, Arabs and everything in between.
I’m obsessed with traditional and native, coloured ponies and I really love photographing horses with unusual colouring or breeding. I love showing and think you eventing and show jumping lot are a little nuts. 😉 If you see me at a show, I’ll usually be following behind a coloured pony with very white feathers and have chalk powder up to my elbows.
I’m currently horseless (for the first time ever) and seriously sulking about it, but will hopefully be in a position to go hairy-patchy-pony shopping next year! Phew!
I love the feeling you can’t get from anything other than a good gallop, I love the smell when you bury your face in your horse’s neck and I love that heart-melt when your pony recognises the sound of your boots walking across the yard.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have what I think is the best job in the world! I have taken my two passions and combined them, allowing me to do something I truly love. I live and breathe this job every day. Our memories; of moments, of feelings, of emotions; are the most precious thing we could ever own and are so personal to each of us. And my job is to literally parcel up my clients’ memories and hand them to them in a tangible form; in a gift box, on a canvas or in a frame. I’m so honoured to be trusted with this responsibility.
Hopefully my love for what I do comes across in my work. I began my photography career working in event photography for five years, moving on to studio photography and then finally into equine photography. And I have finally found what I feel like I was born to do. I am truly passionate about making art through photographing you and your horses!
I’m quite an untraditional photographer, in that I’m not so much into the technical side of my job as much as I am the creative and equestrian sides. I’m entirely self-taught and I don’t carry my camera everywhere I go because I love photographing pretty scenery. I photograph horses because I’m passionate about the animals themselves, the impact they have on our lives, and about creating something beautiful from this. I love colour, I love evening light, I love when my clients go all out with their outfit and put as much into their images as I promise to, and I always try to photograph what I feel rather than what I see.
I simply adore telling your stories! If you’ve read through my blog or ventured onto my Facebook, you may have already noticed that. I try to get to know my clients and their horses as well as I can in the limited time I have with them, and I’m committed to telling their tale with as much accuracy and empathy as possible. I’m always inspired by the fact that every partnership I meet has their own story to tell and this is one of my favourite parts of the job.
I think the most important thing about my job, is to capture the horse that the owner knows. My clients don’t just want the horse to look ‘pretty’ and posed, they want their personality to shine through and they want to see the character, the best friend, that they know so well, and love. I like to keep things natural and relaxed in order to achieve this. Above all else I want my clients to feel that unique bond when they see their images. The bond that gives us that warm feeling that only a horsey person will understand, and this is what I strive to achieve through my work.
I’d like to thank each and every one of you that I’ve worked with so far on this journey. Everybody who has booked me, and of course their equine partners, for being such fantastic models and making my job the best job I could have ever hoped for. I have the most fabulous clients!
And lastly, once again, thank you for taking the time to check out my blog and considering trusting me with the responsibility of making memories of you and your horses that will last you a lifetime. I look forward to meeting you, and having the chance to tell your story!
Sophie’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/SophieCallahanPhotos
Sophie’s Website http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com
Sophie’s Blog https://sophiecallahan.wordpress.com
- Sophie Callahan’s and her wonderful blogging.
- How she came to horses and photography.
- Facebook engagement and blog – 1000 to 2000 hits for most posts.
- One went viral at 120,000 hits.
- There is room for everyone – Lots of competition sprouting up.
- Writes blog posts and schedules them to publish.
- Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook all linked back to the blog.
- Uses Instagram quite a bit and it feeds into Twitter.
- Does not do paid advertising at all.
- Spends a LOT of time blogging – at least 1/2 every day.
- D300x with 18-200mm lens Nikon equipment.
- Add in dogs and family at the session, but only books for equine.
- She does online sales, but she takes product samples to the session and they discuss at the session.
- Lots of emails back and forth individually and personally and on phone – she places the orders.
- Not push button like her event photography business was.
- Discuss needs and desires have lots of fun.
- She puts their focus on the relationship with their horse in conversation at the session.
- Gathers all the blogging information and puts client at ease as well.
- The blog makes it personal and gives them something to comment about, not just a picture a horse.
- Blogs after every shoot within a couple of days.
- Sits and blogs in front of the Tellee (TV).
- Group shoots become even more of an experience together (A hive of activity).
- Did 11 people in one day in one group…. started as 3 then went to 6 then 9….
- Usually end up 80-100 images for the disk purchase.
- Couple days work on a disk buy.
- Post shoot email is very clear about everything.
- Are there differences with Facebook in UK vs. USA.
- The KEY is keeping people engaged “show me photos of your ponies”.
- This opens the door to them receiving her posts on Facebook.
- Tries for one shoot per day toward evenings.
- Travels 5 minutes to 6 hours and all over the UK with travel expenses.
- Even though she is very safety conscious but there have been a couple crashes.
- Two contracts – model release and liability release at time of session before beginning.
- Mini horse session “the were so naughty!” Accessories like buying a Barbie doll.
- Mistakes are the best way of learning.
- Must be totally passionate about your photography.
- I absolutely LOVE what I do.
- Whatever your dream is, you should be the one doing it, otherwise you will think “I wish I would have done that.”
- I’m VERY easy-going and laid back
- The blog changes they way people look at you…. just not another photographer
- WordPress online blog (not-self hosted WordPress)
- To keep up with changes and learning about photography she reads lots online
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