Frequently professional horse photographers get approached by those aspiring to be professional asking for advice, or wondering what steps are involved in becoming a professional horse photographer.

This blog post is a first in an upcoming series: Horse Photography Business: Professional Tips in which I asked several successful professional horse photographers around the country a question that is commonly asked by those aspiring to be a professional horse photographer and then compile the answers into one handy dandy post! So without further ado, today’s question was:


The best advice I can give is to understand that running a horse photography business, is just that. It’s a business. While we all love to be out in the field working with beautiful horses, the truth of the matter is that you will spend only about 10-20% of your time photographing and the other 80-90% will be spent on the business of being in business.

Make sure that your business is 100% legal. If you have a website, or are on social media, quoting prices and taking money however small, you need to be a legal business. Get a tax attorney and an accountant who know what they are doing.  And, make sure you carry insurance. After all, you are working with animals that weigh 1200 lbs and have a mind of their own.  Anything can happen.”

-Betsy Bird, Ride the Sky Equine Photography, Chattanooga, TN     

“Get a mentor early. I did not and I think it set me back a few years. Make lots of photographers friends of all types because they are a wealth of knowledge.”
– Terri Cage, Terri Cage Photography, Ponder, Texas
“Take the time to set your business up legally from the start. Think about things that protect you: yourself, your family, and your business. Insurance, equine specific contracts and best practices. Also, know your state laws when it comes to working with animals. They are specific to every market. 
-Cara Taylor Swift, Fast Horse Photography, St. Augustine, Florida


Know your subject and don’t take a job that you aren’t qualified for. The equine industry is small and word will get around if you can’t produce the work or if you provide poor service.  Network with other photographers and NEVER EVER speak badly of anyone else.

-Carien Schippers, Imagequine, Walton, NY


My best advice is to shoot what you are passionate about. 

– Phyllis Burchett, Phyllis Burchett Photo, Covington, GA


Go all in. If you are not prepared to put forth 110%, then wait until you’re able to do that before committing to a business. This industry is tough, it’s physically and emotionally exhausting. There are a lot of things to take into consideration before taking the plunge, but most of them can relate back to giving 110%.

-Shelly Williams, Shelley Williams Photography, Live Oak, Florida


Have a true love for horses and make sure you understand horse behavior.

– Debby Thomas, Animal Art & Photography and Debby Thomas Art & Photography, Manakin Sabot, VA



Are you an aspiring equine photographer wondering how to get started in this business? Check out RTS LEARN for great content on business, marketing and photography.   

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