Marketing Your Horse(s) 101 - Good Photos Are Critical
How true the old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words." Yet how many horse marketing ads have you seen just recently where the photo is actually a hindrance to the horse? The horse either looks dirty, is standing in a very unbecoming pose or the photo is overwhelmed with cluttered background (farm buildings, machinery, unattractive fencing, etc), taking your attention away from the Number 1 Subject - the horse. The photos you use to market your horse may be the only exposure that viewers will ever see of your horse. Its therefore critical that the photo(s) you use to represent your horse represent your horse in the most positive way possible. So how do you prepare for the photo shoot? Lets discuss this issue step-by-step:
- The horse must be clean: Simple enough, but seldom done. Besides a good thorough cleaning, also pay attention to the white markings on your horse. The white needs to be white, not stains of green, etc. Also, be sure to attend to the tail, mane, forelock, etc. These must also be cleaned and well combed. If you are taking photos in cold weather and washing the horse is out of the question, at least a good, thorough brushing is required. For the very best photos, present your horse as if you were in the showring!
- Position - posing the horse and use clean equipment: Once again, depending on the breed, present the horse as if in the showring. If using Halter/Confirmation photos - taking the time to pose the horse correctly shows that you actually are serious about marketing your horse and will also help to show the horse's confirmation to its best advantage. Be sure the horse is alert, ears forward. Also use either a show halter or at least a good, clean halter on the horse. Its senseless to clean and prepare the horse only to show the horse in an everyday, worn, dirty halter. If using Action Photos - I strongly advise using a professional photographer who is familiar with the breed. Once again, present your horse as if you were in the showring!
- Beware of background distractions: When taking your pictures, keep in mind not only the appearance of the horse, but what is also going to be included in the background of the photo! As one who was born and raised around horses and other livestock, I fully understand the difficulty of sometimes finding an area not cluttered with machinery, other farm equipment and manure piles, BUT these same items can make a potentially good photo shoot look awful. If nothing else, at least try to find an area less cluttered.
- Finding a Photographer within your budget: During these tough economic times, it may be challenging to get good photos. If you take the photos yourself, be your own critic! Once again, the photo(s) you use could absolutely mean the difference between success or failure. One suggestion if seeking a photographer - possibly contact a local school, especially if they offer any photography courses. Look for a student who may be willing to take the photos for you. It would be good working experience for the student and if the ad is successful, you could possibly offer the student a percentage of the sale as their fee. They could also add the photo to their portfolio. And as mentioned before, if you decide to use action photos to market your horse(s), use a professional familiar with your breed.
In these tough economic times it is critical to market your horse business in the most efficient and effective method possible. Marketing doesn't have to be expensive, but it must be well-planned.