Info for you

March 24, 2022

Equine retouching: the HSP “Contouring” process

Every photographer has a unique style which comes through in their editing. The level of retouching included in your images can be completely different between two photographers.

Part of my retouching process is a special hand-drawn technique which I like to call “contouring”.

This process serves to highlights your horse’s best features and make sure they truly pop off the canvas.

If you’ve ever seen one of my images and thought to yourself “that almost looks like a painting”… you’re not actually that far off.

Contouring is one way way I do that.

So what is the HSP contouring process?

Think about when makeup artists use highlighter and foundation to emphasise their bone structure, and eyeliner and mascara to their eyes. They add highlights and shadows which bring out the most flattering features, and most makes the overall picture more striking.

Well, this is basically what I’m doing when I use photo contouring on your pictures.

It’s all about highlighting the best features of your horse and creating an overall striking image. This is just one of the things that will set these images apart from the pictures you might capture of your horse on a regular day.

How does the magic happen?

I create a new layer in photoshop and use digital brushes to draw over your horse’s features by hand.

Through this I bring attention to their bone structure, muscles, and the details of their eyes I highlight more flattering features, and reduce the emphasis on those which aren’t so flattering, through light and shadow.

How different is the HSP contouring process, anyway?

Some photographers do something similar to this, but only on black background images. Some photographers don’t do anything like this at all.

I do this for every image you select. Black background, horse & rider, or equine portrait.

It’s a significant time investment as it truly is completely custom and manually drawn onto each photograph. But I want you to feel every photograph you receive is worthy of a place on your wall, bookshelf or coffee table.

I believe contouring helps to create that dramatic, striking look that takes your horse’s portrait from ordinary to extraordinary. So to me, it’s worth it.

What do you mean “hand-drawn”?

Using my handy drawing tablet, this is quite literally hand-drawn!

It brings me joy delivering something to you which is that little bit different. The process of contouring elevates your pictures to something truly unique. Not just a photograph, not just digital art – something in between. After all, your horse is the most special thing you know – why should their photographs be anything less?

But the HSP Contouring process may be a bit too much for what you need. Like anything hand-made, it’s made to be enjoyed, to be lived with. For scrolling past on social media? Well it’s probably overkill. If you’re after photographs to hang on your wall, to adorn your bookshelves, to be the conversation piece around the coffee table – having that custom detail is perfect.

Want to know more ways that photographers can differ?

Download my free guide on Choosing Your Equine Photographer, which includes key questions to ask your prospective photographer! All so that you have the perfect experience for YOU.

Click here to get the guide.

Want to see contouring in action?

Click here to watch a behind the scenes video!

Scroll down to see some before and after examples of how the photo contouring works and what a difference it can make. What do you think?

Want to see more of the finished results?

Click here to view the portfolio

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Find out why here.


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(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. 
Don't worry - I'm not into spam... too busy riding!