Info for you

July 7, 2022

Full Service Equine Photography versus Shoot & Send Equine Photography

If you’ve ever looked for or worked with a photographer in any niche – whether they’re an equine photographer or not – you might have noticed that they can differ WILDLY. Everything from the process before, during and after (not to mention the photographs themselves) can be completely different.

While it might seem like we’re doing this to make your choice impossibly hard, I promise that it’s not. It’s actually a GOOD thing.


Because there are times you might need a photographer which does things one way, and a time you might need a photographer who does things another way. Or just by the nature of who you are and your lifestyle, you might be more suited to one type of photographer than another.

Think of it like eating out.

If you’re heading home from a horseshow, it’s late at night, and you are STARVING – chances are if your partner in the car tells you to stop in at a fine dining restaurant, you’d look at them like they’re nuts. You’re going to want to stop in at your local maccas. And are you going to be sad you didn’t go to the fine dining option? No! Because that quick and easy was exactly what you needed.

On the other hand…

If you and your partner are heading out for a date, chances are if they suggest you go to maccas, you’re also going to look at them like they’re out of their mind. You don’t want quick and easy, you want to savour it and feel special.

This is exactly why I think having all of these different options for your photo session is so beneficial for you.

The problem….

The problem is, you most likely won’t get as many opportunities in your life to figure all of this out with photography as you do with eating out. There’s a lot of industry jargon out there, and it can be hard to figure out what’s involved.

I’m going to talk about one way in which photographers can differ today – shoot and send, or full service photography: which is right for you?

Shoot & Send

This is the ultimate for convenience. This often – but not always – looks something like this:

You fill out a form online and book in – quick, easy and simple. Next thing you know, the session is here and you meet your photographer for the first time. After your session, you get an email with a link to a gallery and you can download your photographs straight to your computer. And you’re done!

Shoot & Send is great if:

  • You want convenience over a more personalised experience
  • You’re confident in front of the camera, and don’t need to get to know your photographer to break the ice
  • You want all digitals rather than printed memories
  • You need your photographs PRONTO
  • You need quantity of fresh, frequent content which doesn’t need to be perfect and/or can’t be recycled (e.g. for social media) rather than a selection of exquisite memories you want on display. This type of session can often (not always) fill the needs for businesses and influencers.

Buuttt…. there are some drawbacks here.

  • Your memories often end up sitting on a hard-drive, or lost in the depths of your social media account, or worse, falls victim to a hard-drive malfunction
  • You don’t get help in printing your memories, or to access the best quality, professional wall art, albums and prints which are designed to last
  • Life gets busy and even with the best of intentions, it’s easy for printing your photographs to fall off the bandwagon
  • With Shoot & Send, your memories, which you spent time perfectly presenting your horse for, are shown to your followers for a moment, then scrolled on by and forgotten
  • You lose a chance to get to know and become comfortable around your photographer. And if you’re feeling uncomfortable, this can come through in your images – think inauthentic, tense smiles, and even unintentionally clenched fists – all small details which can come through and affect the overall picture.
  • You don’t get to benefit from knowledge your photographer has gained by working with other clients, or guidance in what will translate best in your images
  • The more images to sift through can actually be quite overwhelming! You might receive lots, but you’ll still have your handful of absolute favourites. But every time you want to find that one in particular, it can be painful to find.
  • The quality of post-production is often less – your photographer is only human and in most cases can’t put the same work into two hundred photographs as they could into twenty. A common way this can impact on equestrian images is something like fences or other unflattering objects being in the background – a part of life, and possible to edit out in smaller batches, but not so feasible in large quantities. (P.S. If you want to see what goes into my retouching process, check out my blog post on my hand-drawn contouring process!)

Full Service

This experience is all about guidance.

When you get in touch with your photographer, they’ll chat with you over the phone or even over coffee, and get to the bottom of your vision so they can bring it to life. This might not be something you can fully articulate, they’ll have the right questions to ask to understand you and your horse’s story, and what’s most important to you.

Before the session, you’ll chat further and they’ll offer guidance on things like locations, outfits, and discuss your home, style and preferences to create artwork for you.

By the time your session rolls around, you’ll already know your photographer well, so you’ll be in a great place to just be yourself. Your session will take place with the final artwork in mind, so it looks cohesive, even down to making sure them mood of your session matches with the mood of the room you’d like to display it in.

After your session, you’ll meet up with your photographer and go through your memories together. You’ll pick your select favourites and design your artwork together. You’ll get to have more input on your memories and retouching. Your photographer will be able to give your selected memories their full attention, because they won’t be stretched too thin, so they will be amazing.

Next thing you know, your prints will arrive at your home, and you’ll be able to remember your session forever. Often your photographer has some special ways they continue to give back to you.

A full service experience might be right for you if:

  • You’re feeling lost or anxious. Your full service photographer can give tips on where to go, what to wear, how to prepare, how to pose, or even help you put into words exactly what memories are most precious to you
  • On the other hand, if you have a confident vision for your session, you will have more chances to chat with your photographer and make sure you’re on the same page
  • You want your photographs to capture the ins and outs of your relationship with your horse – so your photographer needs to get to know that story to capture it
  • You’d love a personalised experience where your photographer truly gets to know you (no strangers here!)
  • You’d rather a curated selection of your favourite memories retouched to perfection, rather than a wide selection of images you get less of a say in, and might not have the same level of retouching applied
  • You’d like to get the most enjoyment as possible from your memories by having them printed and all over your walls, coffee tables, bookshelves and more – not scrolled on by and then forgotten on social media
  • You’d like the best quality artwork – your colours look beautiful, and these products are built to last. They’ll be all your friends can talk about when they come over!

In reality…

In reality, Full Service and Shoot & Send are two ends of a spectrum – photographers fall somewhere towards one or the other end all of the time.

What do I recommend?

I’m not going to pretend to be unbiased here – I’m a full service photographer. If I didn’t think full service is the way to be, it wouldn’t make much sense in me doing it! I think it gets YOU the best memories possible, in the best, most fun and relaxed experience possible. It gives you the most input into your session and your memories, and means you get to relive your time with your beautiful horse every day in prints which surround your home.

I’m passionate about you working out what’s right for you, every time.

That’s why I made my free guide on how to choose your photographer, full of introspective questions for yourself, and questions to ask your potential photographer. All so you can make sure the person behind the camera is the best one for YOU, so the memories you capture can be enjoyed thirty years from now as much as they’re enjoyed today.

9 reasons why you should be in photos with your horse

what if my horse won't stand still?


I always recommend being IN the photographs with your horse.
Find out why here.


Spoiler: no horse does! Read about some ways you can prepare your horse, and how we manage spicy horses on the day.


presentation tips for your equine photoshoot


what if i don't have a pretty property?

Take a behind the scenes look at some locations I've photographed, and see some options for if you're still unsure about your property!

Take the stress out of your day with tips for getting your horse picture perfect! 

blog faves

(very important horse person)

are you a v.I.H.P?

I believe that everyone, at every price point, deserves stunning photographs with their horse.

That's why I offer a taste-test of the HSP experience on selected occasions:

Pop-up studio at horse shows
Group sessions with friends or at your agistment available on request
Seasonal mini sessions (sunflower, autumn, lavender, wattle, Christmas mini sessions)

Pop-up studio at horse shows

Group sessions with friends or at your agistment available on request

Seasonal mini sessions (sunflower, autumn, lavender, wattle, Christmas mini sessions)

Be the first to hear about these events by getting on the V.I.H.P list. 
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