It’s foaling season! The most exciting (not to mention exhausting) time of year for breeders. When your foal is born - a wet mass of legs and potential - you already have a lot invested: planning, work, time, and money. You’re hoping it’s also the beginning of a glorious future, because your business is to produce foals with talent and potential. Now it’s your job to let the world know what you've got.
Taking pictures of your foal to share with the world is something we naturally want to do. As a breeder, you’ll probably have that excited, “new parent” feeling - even if you've done this many times before - and you’ll naturally want to document those first moments, first steps, first day outside, and so on. I’d like to recommend that you also consider each photo in marketing terms. Like training a horse (every time you interact with a horse you’re training it, whether you’re thinking of it as “training” or not) - every time you make an image public, you are publicizing your business - whether you think of it as “marketing” or not.
With that in mind, here are some things to think about as you document your foal’s first summer:
Get used to carrying a camera with you at all times. Phones make this so easy! You just have to remember to use it. :-) Sometimes it’s a challenge if you’re by yourself, and you’ll miss some great shots, but pull out your camera whenever you can. The nice thing about digital pics is that it’s easy and cheap to take lots - and just delete the ones that don’t turn out.
Give some thought to where you post your photos. These are my top three recommendations, in order of importance:
I recommend having your own “naming convention” for all your farm photos: a format that you use consistently to name all your pictures. One small technical point: for internet use, don’t leave spaces in your image names; use hyphens or underscores instead. Here are a couple of examples:
Farm name first, foal name second (with a number for each picture of that foal), followed by the year the photo was taken. If the foal doesn’t have a name yet, use something like “2015foal.” This basic format will do wonders!
Better yet! This provides a world of information in a short amount of space.
Remember that every image you post is publicity for your farm. Only post images that show off your best. No matter how cute a baby picture is, don’t use if it makes the foal - or the mom or surroundings - look bad. Take a lot of pictures so you have some great choices. Consider hiring a professional photographer, and if possible, time it for when your foal is going through a “good phase”! Photographing horses is actually pretty difficult to do well. For every do-it-yourself photographer, I recommend reading some professional tips and advice for getting the best results.
I wish everyone a successful foaling season, not too many sleepless nights, and some great images to promote your breeding business!
Anna Goebel is the publisher of Warmblood Stallions of North America, www.WarmbloodStallionsNA.com, and has been involved in equine publishing, marketing, and design for over twenty years. Her new website for international breeder news is www.WarmbloodBreeding.com.
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