Monday, April 1, 2013
Laurie Comfort, Equine Photographer
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Laurie Comfort is a world-class photographer. She has photographed Draft Horses in Texas, Dressage Horses in New York, and Wild Horses in Virginia, to name a few. Laurie has been riding since she was ten. She is an accomplished all-around equestrian, having competed in Western Pleasure, Dressage, Hunter, English Pleasure, Halter and Saddleseat. Horses have built the foundation for her sensational photography….
How long have you been a photographer?
I've been doing Photography since 2001. I was dating a guy whose father ran a large commercial studio. He got me started and I haven't looked back since. My main focuses are equine, theater/dance and weddings. I love things with motion.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
My favorite things to photograph would have to be horses. Especially foals. I started riding when I was young, so I find I learned to read equine body language. It helps in judging what they're going to do next. And let's face it, the beauty of the horse is something special.
Would you rather photograph inside or outside?
Outside. I prefer natural light whenever possible. It's more flattering to almost any subject.
Do you have a favorite photo session anecdote?
My favorite story is one that has a photo that most people just drop their jaw when they see. I have a series of photos of a young boy in a halter class with a weanling. The baby was acting up as babies want to do in their first time showing. This foal reared up and unfortunately lost his balance and toppled over backwards. The child just stood at the end of the lead and watched it happen. You could tell he had dealt with something like this before. The expression on the judge is also priceless. Once the baby landed, it got up and shook itself off. No one was hurt and suddenly it was the most behaved foal in the ring. It's a funny and scary photo all at the same time. If someone or the horse had been hurt, this photo would never have seen the light of day. Since no one was, it ends up being rather a fun story to tell people when they see the photo.
What is the funniest photo you've taken?
My funniest photo would probably be one I did for a family and their horses. The youngest girl wanted photos of her and her pony in a stream together. She was dressed in overalls and a straw hat. They were posing for the photos when her pony stole the hat off her head and started dunking it in the stream. Everyone was caught off guard and we all started laughing. The pony kept the hat for about 10 min before she would finally give it back to her owner. It made everyone laugh and really brought a relaxed feeling to the rest of the shoot.
Your equine photography is lovely. Have you run into any issues with unruly animals?
I do occasionally run into unruly horses. If they're in a show ring, I find that usually makes for exciting pictures. However if it's a portrait session, it is usually a horse who refuses to put their ears up or a dog who gets distracted. I carry a "bag of tricks" with me to shoot to help with this. Every animal reacts differently, so I carry various items that seem to work, no matter what.
What's the secret to capturing a horse's beauty on camera?
Well, I find the biggest secret to capturing the beauty of anything, be it horse, dancer or bride is to understand what motivates your subject. I try and capture the movement of the horse, because let's face it, they are poetry in motion. Knowing your subject allows you to try and figure what they are doing next and travel with them. Also, remember every horse and every breed is unique. Don't treat them all the same! After that, it's just practice, practice, practice! :)