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  • Caroline Nijs

The people who helped me build my business

Model calls to start my equine photography portfolio


I started my photography business with a very limited portfolio. I had exactly two models: my husband and my daughter.

We all know that is not enough to build a credible portfolio. And also not the way to go to gain experience. I can easily boss the two of them around but that's obviously not how you treat a client. 😂

So I put out a model call. And I had a few beautiful people reaching out to me. They basically helped me build my business and I will be forever grateful to them for that.


A beautiful mother-daughter photo session


The first session I did was a mom and daughter. I already knew them a little because we used to have the same trainer for horseback riding lessons. They were the perfect session to start with. I was so nervous but they patiently gave me the time to figure out my routine. And I just loved working with the little girl. She showed me around their property and helped me by suggesting a few locations that were just perfect. The horses were beautiful and very well behaved so that made it even easier. And even though I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot along the way, I think I did ok 😊


An ambitious amateur rider


The next session was with a classy lady and her horse. This session was a bit more difficult, aka another excellent opportunity to learn 🙂. The light was very harsh, which resulted in hard colors and deep shadows. And the yard wasn't overly big so it was a challenge to get a larger variety of interesting backgrounds. Luckily my two models worked with me like professionals and we got the job done. I still have horse-envy though 😮



A horse crazy girl


By now, I had a little bit more confidence because I learned a lot in the previous sessions. For example, I had a tendency to rush through everything. I was always worried that I was taking too much time away from these nice people, that I was too slow in changing my settings, in thinking about where to shoot next, ... But I learned that my models didn't really care. They had signed up for this and they enjoyed the whole thing. They wanted me to take all the time. Because of this realization, this next session was a lot easier. The mom of a friend of my daughter wanted to have some images of the girl and her new horse. I know them pretty well because our girls attended the same school, in the same grade, and even were in the same Girl Scouts group for a while. So this session was pretty relaxed.

I don't know what it is with girls and their horses but the magic between them is so obvious and, luckily for me, easy to capture 😊



A homesteader


And last, but not in any way least, this beautiful homestead! The couple makes maple syrup and raises their own meat. It was wintertime so I didn't see any vegetables but I assume they grow those too.

I met the pigs, the turkeys, the goat and of course, the dogs and the horse 😊 For being rather young, he was very patient. We walked in the woods and around the farm and he was the perfect gentleman, waiting for me to take the pictures I needed. Well, he did for about half an hour 😆. Then he was more or less done with it. His buddy came to play, and the dried leaves were so yummy, and oooh, look, there's daddy! So we moved to the dirt road and I had the owner run up and down to have some action photos. The horse liked it, I think the owner a little less 😁. Then we said hi to the horses next door and after that, we were all done. That's a wrap and a nice one!







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