November 2016 Q&A – Kirstie Marie Photography Mentorship

November 2016 Q&A

November 06, 2016

What website program do you use and why?

My website is WordPress (hosted by BlueHost). I’ve heard good things about SquareSpace and Wix if you are shopping for a website!

How are images delivered to clients?

First, I deliver images digitally through PixieSet where they can download the high-resolution pictures onto their computer. All of my packages include proof prints that I order through WHCC and package in a cute box with a USB that I buy from Amazon. So all of my clients have the pictures:

Online, where they can download

In 4×6 prints

On a USB

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How prints handled? Do you print and deliver or do they print somehow?

If their package came with prints, I order through WHCC. They can also order from their PixieSet gallery and it auto-fulfills the order at WHCC. They have the high-res images, so they can choose to print on their own. I recommend Artifact Uprising and MPix.

Do you need permission to use client’s image in advertising, website, stock photo sites, etc?

YES. My contract includes a model release. I need a model release to put images on my social media, website, sell them as stock images, etc.

I highly recommend Christina Scalera’s contract template! She has one for Equine Photographers here

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I struggle with making a comfortable environment during a session. What are some tips on creating a comfortable environment both socially and while you are posing?

I arrive to the shoot 30 minutes early to meet my client and their horses, talk about outfits and scout locations. I use this time to set the tone and really get to know them. Horse girls loooooove talking about their horses, so most of my questions revolve around that!

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What lighting do you find works best with black backgrounds?

I prefer open shade (as opposed to direct light). I look for an opening of the barn that is opposite of where the sun is hitting to make sure that my subjects are completely covered in shade.

How do you talk to clients to make them more comfortable in a session?

I arrive early so that our conversation starts before I ever lift my camera. I want to start the relationship speaking like friends, so that they are more comfortable when I reach for my camera. I also like to give people a lot of positive reassurance that they look great, and I will walk up to them to adjust any stray hairs, lint on their shirt, or fix a pose. If I sense they are starting to get stiff or nervous, I move to a pose with some motion (hugging, walking, petting) to get their body to relax again.

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Tips for photographing a girl and her horse on the beach?

I have never shot someone on the beach! I know that the light can be pretty harsh sometimes (with the ocean and sand as reflectors, and typically nothing to clip the sun), so I would try to schedule for golden hour when the light is the softest. “Golden Hour” is the time when the sun is at the horizon level – either just after sunrise or just before sunset.

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How did you get started in film and why?

My senior year of college I picked up my first entry-level DSLR simply because I wanted to take nice photos for myself. The more pictures I took, the more I loved taking pictures! I was planning my wedding at the time and always frequenting the popular wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty. When I started following my favorite wedding photographers, I noticed that they all shot medium format film. I became obsessed with the film aesthetic and wanted to bring its nostalgic, romantic and soft tones often found in the wedding industry to the equine industry.

I dove in head-first and bought a medium format camera (Contax 645) and Fuji 400H film. I started shooting 100% film, because nothing my digital camera rendered could even compare to the joy I found while downloading my PhotoVision scans.

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How many photos do you normally take versus how many do you deliver to clients for a typically session?

My sessions range from 1-3 hours, so each session will vary with how many images I take. For a typical 2-hour shoot, I might take 1,500 digital images (horses move fast!) and several rolls of film. I typically deliver about 150 images.

Do you offer workshops? I’d love to attend a two day workshop where we do an actual shoot or two with you and edit, learn business side of things, etc! Something with a small group of other horse photographers!

Unfortunately, I do not offer workshops at this time. But I might in the future, so keep your eyes peeled!

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How far do you travel for your investment price? If it is over your covered area how do calculate expenses?

Anything in my close vicinity will be included in my package, but if I have to drive more than 20-30 minutes, I will add a mileage expense. The 2016 standard mileage rate for the IRS is $0.54/mile. If I need to stay overnight, I calculate all expenses (airfare, hotels, car rentals, etc) and split the costs between my clients.

How do you post your pics to Instagram? I use Blogstomp for my blog and for Facebook but when I screenshot them for Instagram they look so pixelated. 

I email myself the high-resolution image (or download it from the client gallery) and upload the high-resolution version from my camera roll into Instagram!

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Do you ask your clients if they prefer their photos in color or black and white? Do you deliver the black and white photos also in color?

I deliver every session in both B&W and color. It is my discretion on which photos I edit to be B&W (typically my favorites!)

Do you aim to have a certain amount of rolls per session? If horse is well behaved and going well do you use film more? When would you switch to digital?

The number of rolls I shoot depends entirely upon the situation (the light, the background, the colors, and the behavior of the horse). So yes, if the horse is very still and doesn’t move his feet often, I feel more comfortable shooting film. But if the horse is moving around a lot, I might only shoot that location with my digital camera.

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When the horse is a bit naughty what do you do in that situation?

There is a sliding scale of “naughty” 🙂

I am always trying to read a situation, so I want to know how the horse’s behavior is affecting my client. Is she frustrated? Is she punishing him? Is he distracting her?

Depending on how the horse is acting, and how my client is reacting, I might suggest we move to an area with no grass, move to the barn aisle so he is more comfortable, or do some walking so that he can settle down. If he is spooking, I want to minimize distractions. If he has excess energy, I might suggest we stop to lunge him. If he is biting her, we might just need a bit of discipline. If he won’t stop eating grass, I’ll move them so the horse is standing on gravel or concrete.

Above all, I am reassuring my client that every horse does this… there is nothing to stress about. Sometimes when a horse misbehaves, he is disappointing his owner who gets embarrassed/frustrated/upset/anxious. I want her expression to remain calm and confident, so I offer a lot of feedback that her horse is doing great, and I’ve seen much worse.

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