With so many small equestrian businesses that are out there, Haynet is showcasing these companies and the hard working people behind them. The equestrian and countryside industry is tough and competition is high. However, it is a thriving industry with many small businesses opening every month.

Haynet is giving a small rural business one week on Haynet to showcase their company and what service they provide. You will find out about the person behind the brand, what service or products they have to offer even giving Haynet some generous discounts with them! We will also find out what their hopes are for the future within equestrian and countryside business, championing their enthusiasm for the products or services they provide.

So please come and follow this series on Haynet and show support for these unsung businesses that are making their way in the equestrian and countryside industry. You never know if this is something you are thinking about delving into, it may give you the inspiration you need to start your very own equestrian or countryside business!

5 Top Tips for Photographing Your Own Horse by Sophie Callahan

I hope you're all enjoying your long weekend and have plenty of chocolate to keep you busy over Easter. 
Today I've got a five top tips for you, for photographing your own horses. 

You can use the following tips with any level of equipment or experience. 

Whether you're trying to snap a quick iphone picture for Instagram or Snapchat, get images of a horse for sale, or you're a budding photographer yourself, these tips should give you a good start.

1. Ears Up!
Every horsey person knows that a good equine photo will have the horse's ears forward, so a good tip for this is to get a plastic bag, a bottle filled with stones or simply a feed bucket with a handful of nuts in, to attract maximum attention.  Have someone stand behind you, shaking, rattling or rustling and you should get those ears forward with no problem. 

2. Step Back
One of the biggest mistakes people make when photographing their horses is being too close to them. This distorts them and makes them appear out of proportion and badly put together. Step back a few paces and you'll find you'll get much better results. 


3. Stand Yourself at The Horse's Shoulder
The most flattering angle to photograph a horse is to stand facing their shoulder and also lower yourself to be level with the shoulder. 

4. Watch Your Background
Try and make sure your background is fairly simple and clear. Make sure there aren't any unsightly muck-heaps, machinery or other unwanted features behind your horse and also be aware of items 'growing' out of your horses head. The simpler, the better. Even walls, hedges or doorways can be good options.

5. Stand Square
Make sure your horse is standing as square and evenly as possible, to ensure they don't appear to have poor confirmation. This is especially important if you are taking photographs for advertising purposes.


For more information, please visit: http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com/

How I Became an Equine Photographer by Sophie Callahan

Good morning guys. It's day three of the Haynet Business Showcase and I want to thank you for all the support you've shown it so far.

Today I wanted to share with you, how I became an equine photographer.

It's a topic that comes up a lot and a question I get asked frequently. And I figured if there are any aspiring equine photographers out there, reading this, you may be interested in reading about my journey.

Firstly, I think it's important to remember that everybody's story will be entirely different. There is no definitive, mapped out route to success, in a creative industry like photography, which is definitely a positive thing, because it means that is also no 'wrong' way.

I started taking photographs when I was at university, at Writtle College, studying for my degree in Equine Studies and Stud Management. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I always knew I'd probably end up working with horses, as it's the only thing I've ever really been truly passionate about.

I actually suffered a nasty fall, lost a lot of confidence and ended up going to shows with a camera, more frequently than with a pony. I started taking photographs of my friends on their horses, out on cross country courses and at events and there began my newest addiction...

I've always been fairly creative, with art and English being two of the only subjects I enjoyed at school, and I'd taken art at A Level, but had just never really explored photography.

Friends and family (although perhaps slightly biased at the time, because I wasn't great) started telling me that they liked my images and it was on a family holiday in Mexico that my Dad said to me 'Sophie, what do you want to do when you graduate? You need to start thinking about it.' So, I told him that I was really enjoying learning about photography and that I might be interested in exploring a career as a photographer. And his answer, as is typical of my Dad and his 'can do' attitude, was 'Ok, so that's what we'll do. We'll make that happen.'

So, I actually started my event photography company whilst I was still at uni. I photographed events at Writtle, aswell as other local horse shows, black tie evenings, football tournaments and all kinds of other weird and wonderful events.

When I left uni, I continued to build my event photography business and my Dad noticed the potential in it. Now, let me begin by stating that whilst my Dad is an incredible business man, he is NOT a photographer and he is NOT horsey.

However, he decided that he wanted in on what I was building. And together we created Big Image, which we turned into a national event photography franchise. In the space of about a year and a half, we had twelve franchisees all across the UK and Ireland and were photographing national events, such as Best Ever Parties, Sports Tours and the United Dance Organisation.

At first, it was new and exciting and I loved it. But after a while, photographing another football tournament and dealing with franchisees became tedious. It was veering so far away from the reason I'd enjoyed photography in the first place... For it's creativity and artistic expression. Photographing events was more a case of just photographing whatever was in front of your lens and selling it quickly, onsight, for cheap prices. There was no making it beautiful in photoshop, or playing with light and location... I felt disheartened and unfulfilled.

In the meantime, I'd been closely following a few equine photographers, such as the very talented Emily Hancock and absolutely loved what they were doing. I religiously checked their pages for their next set of images and felt like I'd gone wrong somewhere... I was sitting here editing thousands of football photographers, whilst they were photographing beautiful ponies, in stunning countryside locations.

So, I decided that I could probably do some equine photoshoots on the side, to quell my creative needs, get my horsey fix, and still make the bulk of my living from the lucrative events we were photographing.

I put the idea to my Dad and he was sceptical, to say the least. He couldn't see how it'd work. He didn't understand why people would want pictures of their horses, let alone spend good money on it. But I suggested that it would just be something I'd enjoy and if it didn't work, I'd lost nothing.

So, I put a post out on Facebook and recruited some of my horsey friends (and their friends) to model for me. And I started exploring equine photography.

Once I had a few images, I set myself up a Facebook page, put a logo together very quickly and I started posting the photos. I tagged my friends and they shared it on their pages. And, suddenly, I had enquiries coming in.

I knew I needed to build my portfolio, if I was to prove my worth, so I decided to put out model call, asking for people to let me come and photograph their ponies for free. I was planning to choose ten, to give me a good base to my portfolio.

Well, I was absolutely inundated with volunteers. I ended up choosing ten and then booking multiple other shoots from the people who weren't chosen.

And that was the beginning for me.

After less than a year, we sold the event photography company because I just didn't have the time to dedicate to it. Moreover, I no longer had any motivation for it. As a lifelong horse lover, why would I want to be photographing dance competitions, when I could be photographing horses? It was difficult to find the enthusiasm I'd once had.

My Dad and my other half ran it without me for a while and I dipped in and out of it where I could, but really, as the founder of the business, without me it felt a little pointless. My other half had other opportunities that he wanted to pursue and my Dad has always had more than one thing going on at a time.

And so we all moved on. And I've never looked back. The business continued to grow and grow and I became addicted to building it, to nurturing my social media following and to soaking up everything there was to learn.

To be able to get up every day and do a job you absolutely live and breathe is, in my mind, the highest level of success. I very often pinch myself, because I can't believe how fortunate I am. And I'm so glad that I listened to the voice that told me this was what I was supposed to be doing!


For more information and how to book your equine photoshoot with Sophie with a 20% discount, please visit: http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com/


20% OFF your equine photoshoot with Sophie Callahan

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope your Monday was quick, sunny and painless, and ended with a nice evening hack. I've got a very special post to bring you today.

I'd like to offer you a very exciting 20% OFF of your equine photoshoot, if you book before 17th April!

All you have to do to claim this special offer, exclusive to Haynet readers, is email me at sophiecallahanphotography@gmail.com and let me know that you've come to me through Haynet!


I am currently fully booked until end of July, so am booking shoots for August onwards, but still have lots of spaces left for summer shoots, if you're quick.

Shoot prices start from £70 and a basic individual session can include one person, their immediate family (husband, kids, etc.), dogs and up to five horses. 

Your shoot will take approx. 1-2 hours shoot time, allows for up to three outfits, if you'd like them, full editing and enhancement of all images, a select handful of images on Facebook and my blog, for you to use on social media and one complimentary 8"x12" print of your choice. 

Other images can be purchased separately following the shoot. Product prices start from £30. Travel is free to clients within Essex, or 40p per mile for those in other areas.

And all of the above options can be purchased in the form of a gift voucher, if you know somebody who'd love a shoot with their ponies, for their birthday or other special occasion.

Please get in touch for full photoshoot and product price lists or to discuss your shoot. 


For more information then please visit: http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com/

Sophie Callahan Photography - An Introduction

Hello everybody! I'm super excited to be the first lucky person to be working alongside Haynet on the Business Showcase feature and I'll be with you all week long!


I thought I'd start by telling you a little about myself and what I do...


My name is Sophie Callahan and I'm a specialist equine photographer. I live in Essex and I work all over the UK, photographing horses and their humans and also working with other small rural businesses, helping create images to strengthen their brand and marketing efforts.


In addition to this, I'm a blogger and vlogger of all things equine and country. I post blog posts multiple times a week and I upload a weekly vlog every Monday. So there's plenty to take a look it if you're feeling nosey and want to find out more.


I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do the best job in the world. I absolutely love what I do and I think it's this passion that keeps me motivated and excited about every new project. 

On a more personal level, I'm twenty-nine (the big 3-0 is fast approaching) and live with my boyfriend of fourteen years, Sam and our delinquent Cocker Spaniel, Barney, in Chelmsford, Essex. I like milky tea, watching Friends, scrolling through Instagram and going out for dinner.


Sam and I will be getting married in June, so I'm currently juggling planning a wedding with running a business, which is an interesting challenge.


I've had horses in my life since I was just three years old and am currently horseless for the first time. Hopefully this sad situation will be rectified post wedding. 

My passion is for coloured ponies of the cob variety... either hairy or hogged, I love them just the same. But I truly enjoy meeting and photographing such a wide variety of horses. I've photographed all shapes and sizes, from Miniature Horses to Shire stallions, and everything in between. 


I'll be chatting to you later on in the week about some of my all time favourite shoots, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. There are some corkers, including an equestrian stunt team and their movie stars of the horse world, a very well known French horse-whisperer, an Olympic dressage superstar that you might recognise and more.


I'll also be offering a very special photoshoot discount, exclusively for Haynet readers, so definitely don't miss that!


If you’d like to find out more about me right now, you can follow me on various social media channels, at the links below…


Website: http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com/

Blog: http://www.sophiecallahanblog.com

Vlogs: https://www.youtube.com/sophiecallahanvlogs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SophieCallahanPhotos/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sophiecallahan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SophiecCallahan


Pop in and say hi at any of the above links and let me know you found me through Haynet! I’d love to chat and I look forward to bringing you a variety content over the course of the week.