The really nice thing about making custom jewellery for people is that I often meet some lovely people that I may not otherwise have met. This happened last year when I was asked to make some horse hair jewellery for Nell Best who lives in Cumbria. Nell is an equine photographer and travels the area and beyond taking beautiful photographs of peoples horses. She started her equine photography business ‘Hoof Behind the Lens’ last year at the age of 16 and it is going from strength to strength.
I asked Nell if she could do a little interview that I could share with you and thankfully she agreed. All the photos below were taken and kindly given to me by Nell.
Firstly can you tell us a little about yourself?
Right, Hoof Behind The Lens is an equine photography business based in Kendal, Cumbria and owned by Nell Best. I am an equine photographer and I take photos of horses out at shows, at home with their owners and also offer photography for horses that are for sale, so that owners have photos that will best show off their horses to potential buyers. I offer prints of the photos that I take, in various sizes, both normal and poster sizes and can mount photos if required. I cover the areas in and around Cumbria but am willing to travel if there is a demand for it.
Whatever kind of shoot I do, I strive to create beautiful photos that owners will be able to treasure forever.
I can be found on Facebook at Hoof behind the Lens on Facebook or Search for Hoof Behind The Lens - Equine Photography.
You take beautiful photographs of horses, how did you come to learn your art?
Thank you. Well I've been at it for a while really, I started taking photos of my horse Bella when I got her in May 2010, just on a little compact camera, and took more and more, but I got frustrated that I couldn't be that creative with a compact camera, and couldn't get the quality of photographs I was aiming for. Then in December 2010 a friend of my Dad's had a Canon DSLR camera he had owned for a couple of months but not used, and he said he saw my talent from the photos and asked me if I would like it. So since then really I've just kept at it, taking photos daily, mostly of my very patient horse (and model!), Bella.
I then set up Hoof Behind The Lens in March 2011, really as something to take my mind off things as I had recently lost my Grandma, and it grew from there, with more and more people wanting photo-shoots. So it's just endless practice really that's got me where I am now, and I still have a long way to go!
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by horses in general really, just the way they move, interact with both people and other horses, and just generally everything about them. I think they're stunning creatures, and I strive to create photos that reflect that. There's not really a main human figure that inspires me, there are many Equine Photographers that I look up to, including Tim Flach and Bob Langrish, but I am mainly inspired by the beauty of the equine species itself.
What's your favourite photograph you have taken and why?
You know what, I really couldn't pick. I do have a few that I really love, nearly all of those are of my own horse but really, I love all the photos that I take, and am just as excited about the ones I've taken and love already, as the ones I haven't even taken yet, because I want to take better photos each time.
Do you have any tips for anyone starting a photography business?
I'd say just practice really, keep on taking photos, never stop, and always look critically at your work and try to see what you could do better - then do it! Start doing shoots for friends and family, and start up a website and/or Facebook page as they're great publicity, and get the word out about your business. I started from nothing not even a year ago now, and now I've got a successful little business at the age of 16, just by getting out there, taking as many photos as I could and getting the word out that I'm different. Also, never ever give up! It's a hard business because everyone nowadays has a camera, but keep at it and you can only improve!
What is my favourite photograph?
Well that is an easy one for me but I am biased! Nell posted this photo onto my Facebook page last week. It is a photograph she too of the pendant I made for her last year and it is awesome!
Oh and this one!
Nell has definitely got a photographic talent and business awareness that will see her good for the future and is definitely someone to look out for. She is also already a great role model and inspiration for any young person who wishes to start a business.
Thank you again Nell for letting me share your equine photography story so far....