Charging into 2014!

We’re only two days into 2014 and it’s already getting busy!

I’m loving the Central Texas winter weather and all the fabulous photo opportunities it presents. To make sure that everyone can take advantage of it, I’m offering a spectacular special for those who book in January!

central texas equestrian photographer klsmithphotography.com

Catching Up and Happy Holidays Wish

Merry Christmas from klsmithphotography.com

This fall has FLOWN!

Seriously- how is Christmas just a couple weeks away? It doesn’t seem possible.

My family has a whirlwind 2013. Work trips, horse shows, a military PCS, my husband going on assignment across the country for 3 months, my son starting school…..no wonder I’m tired!

There have been some really wonderful things too. Texas sunrises and sunsets are simply amazing.

I’ve found a wonderful new barn. I’ve met some wonderful people. And business is getting going again.

FallDay

I’m waaaay behind on my blogging. So, I’ll spend the next couple weeks catching up and getting ready for BIG things in 2014 (you might notice the site is a little messy as it undergoes some changes). It’s going to be another wonderful, whirlwind year!

Show Time: Jenn S.

Horse shows are the most wonderful place to meet new friends- you know you have a common interest, you get to celebrate accomplishments and it gathers people from all over.

JenStLouis-06

Jenn and her mom came to St Louis to horse show with Andrea Stephens of Andrea Stephens Sporthorses  and Andrea’s coach Karissa Cassidy of Katalyst Sporthorses.

Jenn and her fabulous partner were a joy to be around and photograph. Fidego definitely knew how to ham it up for the camera!

JenStLouis-09

JenStLouis-10

JenStLouis-19

Show Time: Andrea Stephens Sporthorses

Whew, it’s been a crazy 2013….a super busy spring, a whirlwind of a summer moving to Texas, and now things are finally settling as Fall rolls in.

That means it’s time for me to get caught up with sharing some of the wonderful people and horses and place that I’ve been so fortunate to photograph this year!

It always adds an extra punch of fun to photograph friends while you’re rooting for them. Andrea Stephens of Clarksville, TN was my neighbor for a time while we were stationed at Ft Leonard Wood, MO. She was also my riding and horse show buddy. Watching her meet some major horse show goals and grow tremendously as a professional definitely makes the highlight reel for 2013. You can find more information about her lesson and training program on her facebook page Andrea Stephens Sporthorses.

AndreaMemphis1

AndreaMemphis2

Is it Your Passion?❘Marketing Strategy and Branding

Today I watched one of my role models- Sue Bryce, internationally renowned New Zealand photographer- talk about success and the “blocks” that we construct along the way. While there were any number of precious gems of advice, there was one statement that really stood out to me.

“I don’t believe in time management. If you love what you’re doing, you’ll get it done”

Think about that for a minute. When was the last time you were so full of joy about a project you were working on that you couldn’t sleep? You were so deep into your work that the first time you look at a clock you’re shocked to see that half the day or night has flown by?

There are many pieces of my work that put me in that sort of groove- editing images, writing, working on editorial design, research. But those are all tasks that I am frequently bored by as well. What’s the difference in those two scenarios? The why. What I enjoy is helping clients identify their goals and make a plan to get their business headed in the right direction. Nothing energizes my brain more than talking to a client about what ignites their passion.

It is the best part of what I do. There is something about surrounding yourself with people whose blood is humming with excitement for the future- entrepreneurs who just can’t wait for their future to be here now.

Are you ready to be excited about the future of your business? Email kristen@klsmithphotography.com and tell me where you want your business to grow.

Balancing Art and Science KLSmith | integrated social media marketing for equestrians

 

This is one of my favorite George Morris quotes of all time. It encapsulates that fine balance between art and science, theory and feel. Knowing how to walk that fine line is one of the biggest life lessons that my riding has taught me.

It translates directly to marketing, branding and most business principles. It is vital that you understand the theory, the rules, the reasons that things are done the way they are. As business owners, we must understand how to read analytics, position ourselves for optimum exposure to our prime market, and execute a coherent strategy. But in between those boundaries is plenty of room for art, for feel. The most successful business owners I’ve met, in any industry, have a passion and an instinct for what they are doing. Learning to balance all of those inputs is key to effective business.

ScienceArt

Horse Show Paparazzi│Irish Fox Horse Show │St Louis Equine Photographer

 

Horse Show Paparazzi

It’s that time of year again!

Winter horse show circuits through out the country are ramping up. Here in the Mid West, we have the fabulous Irish Fox Shows and Queenie Production’s AA shows.

I had the opportunity to see the facility for the first time last weekend when my TB had his first outing in just over a year. I was thoroughly impressed by the facility, the show managers and fun, friendly atmosphere in the barns.

Since I’ll be going back there next week, I’m offering a truly spectacular personal horse show photography deal for the Irish Fox Show on Feb 2 &3. Rates available for individuals or groups with additional discounts available for groups who arrange for 1 person to handle splitting the fee! Email me as soon as possible at kristen@klsmithphotography.com

Happy Horse Showing!

5 Ways for Sporthorse Breeders to Use Facebook

5WaystoFacebookBreeders copy

 

Not so very long ago, the core of a breeding operation’s advertising consisted of beautifully designed magazine ads featuring professional images of a stallion or young stock or in hand win photos. While magazine ads are still one avenue, the advent of smartphones and mobile devices makes your web presence a vital aspect of your position in the horse industry.

For many small businesses, like the majority of breeders, social media is an attractive method for marketing stock for sale. Facebook in particular has become a necessity. According to Inc. Magazine, 90% of small businesses (including your competitors) are on Facebook with direct, daily access to consumers. Are you?

If you have made the jump to social media for your business, is it working for you? The same Inc Magazine survey found that 43% of small business owner/managers spend 6 or more hours a week on social media. Try keeping track for a week of how much time you spend on social media- and make a note how much of that is actual “work” (creating ads, responding to fans) and how much is “surfing”.

Not sure how to use social media in a productive way? Here are five “tasks” for you Facebook page to boost the value of your social media investment.

Create anticipation for the goals of your program: in-utero.
Do your fans know what you are trying to produce? Why not? Talk about it! Share pictures of the stallions you are considering matching with your broodmares with an explanation of WHY. Tell them you are looking to improve your mare’s shoulder while keeping her stunning trot and fabulous work ethic. Talking about your goals will help fans who have the SAME goals find you and the horses you have for sale.

Foster a bond between fans and your young stock.
Let’s be honest, there are not many things cuter than a very young foal. Long wobbly legs, big bright eyes and an insatiable curiosity make for daily adorable photo opportunities. Invest in a decent camera, learn the basics of how to use it, and make the time to get photos regularly. Fans watching your foals grow up, getting to know their personalities through your stories and photos are going to be more willing to take the leap and make an investment in the future.

Share young stock with a national/international audience
Successful social media marketing will not just happen by posting information and pictures. At it’s most basic, social media is about interaction. It gives fans from all over the country (and the world) the opportunity to ask you questions or have a conversation. To get your horses in front of that international audience, seek out your ideal buyer. “Like” the facebook page for trainers at the barns you would like to see your horses with. Start the conversation. Other people (with similar interests) will see that interaction which can generate traffic to your page, putting more eyes on your horses. And not just more eyes, but more of the right eyes.

Highlight achievements of breeding stock and related horses.
Chances are that many of the achievements of your program are spread across various pages on your website. Have you checked your website analytics to see how many people are actually getting to those pages? It is likely that the majority of viewers that land on your website are there for less than minute- scanning page titles and images but missing much of the important information about your program. Facebook offers you a way to break those accomplishments into snack size bits of information that you can share regularly to remind fans of your breeding program’s success. At it’s best, you can pair these accomplishments with how this will help you reach your goal (see #1) and in turn, how the owners of your young stock will also reach their goals.

Stay in touch and keep track “graduates”.
In every conversation with American breeders, the challenge of keeping track of sold horses and their accomplishments is raised as a major obstacle. With name changes, increase in cross country sales, and the frequency of “details” like breeding being lost, it can feel impossible for breeders to accurately track the long term accomplishments of the horses sold. Facebook offers a partial answer. Make it worth the buyer’s time to “like” your facebook page. Share their accomplishments when they post about the horse you sold them. Share baby pictures and tag them in the images. Post pictures of mom or siblings that share behaviors and traits and tag them. Make them part of your farm family. Then, when or if the horse gets sold on, you are more likely to know/see via facebook. And offer those same pictures and stories to the new owner. Repeat the process, again making the new owner part of your farm family. Will it work with eveyone? No. But each horse you do keep track of gives you that much more feedback on the longterm success of your breedings. It gives you one more superfan who is sharing your business page and telling all their friends (a portion of which likely ride and will be horse shopping at some point) how much they LOVE what you have produced. That’s more powerful than any magazine ad.

 

Need help managing your social media? Check out my social media management page or email me to schedule a complimentary social media review.

Foals, Jumps and more!

SLEC AHS

 

Last week, I spent a lovely (although chilly!) fall day up at Saint Louis Equestrian Center near St Louis, MO for the 2012 American Hanoverian Society Inspection.

Three mares were presented and two completed the Mare Performance Test (free jumping!). There were several foals presented- both at their dam’s sides and a few who had already been weaned. The day wrapped up with Futurity classes.

Those who stuck around had an extra treat when St Louis Equestrian Center’s two stallions were worked under saddle. It is always an education to watch both young horses and mature horses under saddle and hear what the Inspection judges have to say!

Gorgeous horses, baby antics, and wonderful hospitality? I’ll take it!

The full gallery and image ordering can be found here.

For your business: Social Media for Breeders

Social Media Management copy

Whether you breed one foal a year or have a roster of internationally competing stallions, social media can broaden your market and your visibility.

Breeders in North America face a number of challenges unique to this market. Sheer geography is a major hurdle for many breeders. It is essential to put your young stock in front of riders and trainers. The traditional way- shows, inspections and training- is time consuming and cost prohibitive. Social media can put your stock in front of the equestrian audience on a every day basis, building name recognition and a personal connection. Who doesn’t love adorable foal photos and anecdotes? Paired with consistent branding and relevant content to contribute to your reputation  as an expert, social media can make your breeding program a front and center matter for thousands of people.
KLSmith Photography offers social media services for equestrian businesses. We work with you to develop a customized social media marketing plan. Tailored to fit your program and your budget, your plan might involve photography, scheduled facebook and twitter postings, a blog site, content creation, presenting your articles to industry magazines and more.
The perfect home for each of your young horses is out there. There is a rider looking for the qualities you have produced and willing to pay a premium price to get them. Let KLSmith Photography Equine put you in front of that client on a regular, consistent basis in the role of a trusted friend.