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The Key to Success in Equine Photography with Danielle Long and Chelsea Turner Jones

As time progresses, so does the success and growth of equine photography. As the industry grows, the number of those becoming involved in equine photography continues to grow.

However, some individuals, such as Chelsea Jones and Danielle Long, are not new to equine photography, but rather have developed their practice as time goes on.

Chelsea Jones, a resident of Wendell, North Carolina, works as a lifestyle photographer and graphic designer. As a lifelong horse lover, Chelsea developed her passion for horses when she began taking riding lessons and showing horses out of a local barn in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As Jones became more involved with horses, she became hooked. Soon after, her parents purchased her first horse, Z-Beau (Zippo Marx). As Chelsea stated, “he was the start of it all.” Chelsea then began competing in local AQHA and 4-H horse shows. Eventually, she began competing at larger horse shows, including the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, where she often placed among the nation’s top riders.

Chelsea explained how her career came to surround photography and the creative aspects of design. “I have always had a love for all things creative, and being behind a camera has just always been fun!”

Jones’ journey led her to pursue a degree from Appalachian State University. As Chelsea continued to work on her creative designs and images, she often referred back to a quote from a previous trainer who said, “let your horse do the talking because hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” After hearing that quote, Chelsea continued to apply it to her work and strives to offer her best work all the time.

Creativity comes easy for Jones, but when asked what drives her creativity explicitly, she wants to create timeless images the client will love for many years. Chelsea stated, “In ‘posing,’ I always try to capture the bond between the horse and their owner because every bond is so different.”

Jones explained that she enjoys a more candid and organic form of photography that allows the client to loosen up and not appear as posed because that makes it more fun. She believes that this creates genuine emotions throughout the pictures and allows the animal to relax and interact with their owners.

Across the country, but on a similar path, Danielle Long works as an artist, photographer, and videographer, specializing in equine production. Long grew up with horses in her home state of Alaska. She would ride and compete at local shows throughout Alaska.

As she progressed, she began to compete under the guidance of Carolyn Rice Quarter Horses and began competing at a national level, where she won several titles at prestigious shows, including the All-American Quarter Horse Congress and the AQHYA World Show.

Following her youth career, Long competed at the collegiate level with Auburn University’s Equestrian Team. Although Danielle is not currently competing, her family stays involved through their horses under Highpoint Performance Horses’ guidance.

As a child, Long received a film camera and began taking pictures, which grew into a lifestyle. She started by taking pictures of animals around the farm and taking pictures of her friends and horses. Long began to combine her passion for horses and photography by taking candid photos for GoHorseShow at various shows, in addition to taking pictures for Auburn’s Equestrian Team to use with their social media. As a more experienced photographer, Danielle continues to take candid photographs for GoHorseShow, in addition to individual client sessions, to preserve unforgettable memories, wins, and promote events.

When asked what drives her creativeness, Long stated that she has always been a very thoughtful person. “After growing up around horses and animals, I understand that there’s an extraordinary bond between them and us…I am always trying to capture that bond and that one moment that says it all.”

In capturing that bond, Danielle explained how she positions the horse to reveal their expression and the perfect angles for that individual horse. She explained that by posing the horses in such a way, she could often allow each horse’s personality to shine through.

Additionally, after developing on the horse’s unique aspect, Long can add in the owner or rider, and with each horse comes each rider. When adding in the client, Danielle explained, “I try to capture their style and story with their horse…through prompts, tips, and tricks, I’ve learned throughout the years to try and make everyone comfortable and natural to themselves.”

About the Author – Olivia Turner competed within the American Quarter Horse Association industry for most of her life in western pleasure, horsemanship, showmanship, hunter under saddle, and equitation. Recently, Olivia graduated from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, receiving her Juris Doctorate. She is an Assistant District Attorney in Johnston County, which is located in Smithfield, North Carolina. Olivia has followed a new path with the horses and is now competing in AQHA and NRHA events with her mare, Island Life Kwu, better known as “Lady.”