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Profile On: Nancy Wilkinson, Equine Photographer

Equine photographer Nancy Wilkinson kindly took the time to answer some questions about her profession – and share some photos!

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I spend three to perhaps four hours a day editing photographs. I spend from about Thursday to Sunday with horse related, such as horse racing or horse related events such as horse shows, and I do horse portraits.

Image Copyright Nancy A. Wilkinson

What is it exactly that you do?
I’m an Equine Photographer.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes it is possible. But like with everything involving photography, it is and can be a very competitive filed. But you can reach to where you can make a living in doing so.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Steps should include a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance. First thing one needs to do is a lot of practice; go to your local tracks, shows, watch, take notes; watch their movements, learn horses’ personalities, taking photos of your subject, learn what is working for you, what is not?

Second after you have got to a point where you are comfortable, seek out some Pro Bono work (this is where you get the gig, but will not be paid, but a good learning curve).

The exception to Pro Bono work is race tracks, every track is different, most of the time you need to be with an organization, such as a magazine or newspaper, but if you’re able to, see if you can get on with these on that Pro Bono.

One thing for sure is you must carry liability insurance, this is very important. If you do get a chance to photograph at a track also be aware that you will get the chance to do so on a non stakes day, but this helps you for future endeavors. Last I would say sell your photographs on your own to stock agents, at art shows etc – you will gain a following, and might just help with word of mouth.

Image Copyright Nancy A Wilkinson.

Favourite horse memory?
Seeing the great Secretariat win the Belmont Stakes, thus becoming the Triple Crown Champion.

Future goals?
My future goals are pretty simple or not depending on how one looks at it. The simple part is to become one of the top Equine Photographers (sports and other).  The perhaps harder part is that I’m hopeful to one day win an Eclipse award – a lofty goal for sure, but one I hope is in my future.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing in my profession is the passion I have for the horses themselves. Seeing them race or in a show ring is just wondrous. They are by far some of the greatest creatures ever brought to man. They are joyous to watch.

I like to say also that photography is like a time machine, when you take your photo in that moment you have preserved the past. There is nothing like it. I’m sure I will be doing photography in some form till I no longer am able to.

“A large and liquid eye. . . the swirl of dust around pounding hooves. . .these, then, are the images that move us.” – Author unknown

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