I’ve long considered myself a shamateur photographer. While I can reliably produce shots from horse shows that are marketable (in my opinion), portraits and other types are photography are a whole different ball game.

I discovered a long time ago that if I wanted to get good enough to offer services as a serious professional, I needed to invest a ton of money into better equipment and countless hours into practice. When you think about doing that but see teenagers with parents their parents gave them offering photoshoots for free and selling show pictures for $5 a pop, it takes the wind out of your sails a bit. At least it did for me.

While I know that stellar photos stand above the cheaper riff raff and the educated consumer is willing to pay for the difference, I also know that most consumers are not educated and are driven by dollars. They’re okay with the cheaper and the lesser. So I decided to be as well, and never pushed myself up to the next level in equine photography but instead hung up my hat and stopped charging for photos.

I still like to shoot though. I see other great portrait sessions by Heather N Photography and Britt Gillis Design and think, Man those are pretty! I want to see if I can capture that!

Then I drag my little Canon 60D and bargain basement lenses out to the barn and do my best.

Of course like the teenagers with their new DSLR’s, I can’t replicate the photos the pros take with their full frame beasts and hours of practice. I get frustrated when I miss a moment because my focus is too soft or when I can’t quite get the color balance I want in post processing.

But I love when I catch something that surprises me.

love when I send photos to someone, and they get really excited over the results.

I love taking photos of horses, because it’s equine Pokemon to me. Gotta catch them all! Each horse I take pictures of burns a little spot in my brain, and in some way — it’s mine now.

So I’ll keep my shamateur photographer card intact. Decent equipment, but not quite there. A pretty good eye, but shooting from the hip in terms of technique.

I try to nail more shots than I miss. It’s a lot like life that way.

18 COMMENTS

  1. You really did get a whole bunch of lovely shots, and I am so so so grateful! These are going to be plastered all over our home now, and I’m so happy to have all of these moments with my boys captured where they won’t be forgotten.

  2. I did the same cost/benefit analysis as you–the $$$$ upgrade to fancy equipment isn’t going to pay off in terms of paid work and I don’t really want to make it a job anyways. I’ll just continue taking better-than-average iphone photos and give a hearty side eye to people who can’t outshoot me on their $$$$$ equipment.

  3. TBH I have never had a DSLR, and I’m one of those never-without-a-camera types, partially raised by photographers. Nicer tools are awesome and make things easier, but they don’t instantly give someone artistic talent. People don’t believe me when I tell them how much of my work was done with a $60 camera from Wal Mart! Keep doing what you do, looks like you’re doing fine to me!

  4. Oh my gosh you are too sweet- however, I just want to say that I *LOVE* what you did here. And you know what? Those teens who just got a DSLR for Christmas ain’t got nothin on you! I only upgraded from my Nikon D40 (equivalent to a Canon Rebel) 3 years ago, and I do think having that ‘eye’ is the most important thing- and you definitely have it! Hell, you are welcome to come shoot me [and future pony] anytime you are back in NC!!

  5. I’m as shamateur as the come with photography, but I do love taking pictures too! And when you actually get that one… That’s a great feeling. Looks like you’re figuring out your new lens! So fun, and you had lovely models!

  6. these are lovely <3 i totally get what you're saying about having to compete against kids with fancy cameras…. and i'd even take it a step further and say that the ubiquitous cell phone camera makes it even harder. bc i'm definitely part of that "ehh cheap and easy is good 'nuff" (look no further than the crap quality i post on my blog constantly haha). BUT. i can also tell the difference. haven't made the jump to paying for that difference yet (tho i try to get the pro photos from my local shows when i can!) but expect that one day i will. and photos like the above would make me very very happy!

  7. It’s funny, because while I cherish the professional photos I’ve gotten done, I actually enjoy my “amateur” shoots with friends a lot more. I think it’s more special to know the photographer and have the memory behind the photo.

  8. I enjoy taking photos and it bugs me when anyone thinks that they can do it without work and practice. I have a nikon d7100 and sometimes people see me and ask ‘does that camera take nice pictures’ and I always say ‘no. But I do.’
    these photos are lovely and you have a wonderful eye.

  9. Like many other things, you need some amount of talent and some amunt of skill.The best equipment in the world in the hands of someone who is clueless, is wasted, just like somebody who is talented and skillful can take remarkable shots with a decent, but not ‘great’ camera. The look doesn’t make the man.

    Your photos are lovely. Those are beautiful photo’s to be cherished.

  10. Those all look amazing!! Sometimes I wish I had an amazing camera as I love photographing Sydney. For now, I just do the best I can with my iPhone and Instagram filters.

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