I think that it is important to find your niche as a photographer.  While I am relatively good at portraits and landscapes, I believe my true niche is action photography, specifically equestrian photography.  There are a lot of reasons I’m particularly good at capturing this subject well.  I have done a lot of research, read  a lot of books, and found some photographers that I really love who also do this type of work.  I believe that what really makes me good at it, though, is the fact that I have been riding since I was 10.  As a rider, I know what pictures I would want from an event I was riding in.  I understand how horses move, how riders move, and have true understanding of what is happening in various equestrian events.

This photo is of one of the peewee riders from a barrel race I photographed this past Saturday.  I was incredibly worried about photographing, because I am currently working with a fractured right wrist that is in a cast.  The cast has my wrist and thumb complete immobilized, which made me wonder how well I would do with being quick with pictures.  I ended up managing pretty well, all things considered.

I do my best to capture their moments of perfection around barrels… because who doesn’t want to see that caught on film?  I also have found it beneficial to capture truly unexpected moments.  There is a lot of excitement in the competitive equestrian world, and it makes for some truly interesting photographs.

Another thing I have realized that is important to competitive riders, is their mistakes.  They want to see what they did wrong.  I am good friends with Bob Fitzgerald of Professional Equine Digital Media, and I think he would agree that just as many riders order videos of their near-falls, broken patterns, and true falls as do riders who have a successful run.

This young woman had a very near fall coming around the third barrel.  You can see in this photo just how close she came to coming off of her horse.  Somehow she managed to stay aboard, and got a pretty decent time!  She ordered every one of the photos from the series I took of her near mishap.  Many riders like to see their mistakes so they can see how to fix it in the future.

I do nice work with portraits.  It’s something I continue to get better at every time I have a chance to practice.  I also do some great work with landscapes and wildlife.  I know, though, that my true calling is photographing horses.

What is your niche?

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