I was thrilled when Voyage Dallas reached out to learn more about my passion and business! They asked some great questions, so I thought I'd share my interview here & let you get to know me a little better. Head over to Voyage Dallas to find even more great content!
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I actually came to photography by way of journalism. I’ve always enjoyed snapping pictures, but I first picked up a “big, fancy” camera in college as means of adding new skills to my resume and helping out at my summer job. My first subjects were equestrian campers and horses at Camp Tecumseh YMCA in Brookston, Indiana, and I spent a whole summer capturing the pure joy of camp and the fun of horses to share with campers’ parents.
In 2013, I packed up my horse trailer and my Quarter Horse, Herbie, to make the arduous trek from Indiana to Fort Worth for an editing internship at the American Paint Horse Association. At the internship, I suddenly found myself working with incredible professional equipment under an amazing mentor and taking photographs to help tell the stories I was writing—action-packed event reporting, detailed how-to instructionals, portraits for inspiring profiles and more.
I fell in love with the challenge of equine photography—angles, settings, timing, expression… and that’s just for the horse!—but what really grabs me is the little “ah-hah” feeling I get when I press my shutter on a quick candid moment that perfectly captures the intimate relationship a horse and rider pair shares.
Equine portraits stemmed naturally from there; I think there’s something beautiful and incredible in the stories of every relationship—not just the top athletes and professional riders you see in magazines—and I began offering private portrait sessions in late 2016.
Each horse that enters our lives helps shape us into better versions of ourselves. We are changed because of them, and our lives would be dimmer without them. Whether I’m capturing a trail rider and her longtime mount, a young girl and her brand-new partner or anyone in between, I believe every single equine relationship deserves to be celebrated, captured and preserved.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
If someone’s small business didn’t come with a bumpy road, I’d like to know their secrets! Of course, there are pains and challenges in learning the business side of things, but I discovered that I’m fascinated by all the possibilities and ideas involved in growing a business.
Equine portrait photography does come with a few challenges, though, and it’s mostly because it is a little less of a mainstream service than traditional family and couple sessions. But horse people invest SO much into their horses—time, money and emotional sacrifices—that it is simply a disservice to their riding passion to not document and preserve something that takes up such a large chunk of their lives.
I’m a lifelong rider myself, and I know how important it is to have tangible, quality memories dedicated to the horses that impact our lives. Even more, I personally know how devastating it feels when years go by and you no longer have that incredible horse… and you only have a handful of tiny snapshots with which to remember your time together.
So I’m always striving to share my own story and educate horse owners about the emotional importance—both now and in the future—of investing in keepsake portraits that can bring those powerful memories to life, even when pulled out of a box decades later. Trust me, your future nostalgic self with thank you!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Rachel Florman Creative story. Tell us more about the business.
My mission at Rachel Florman Creative is to tell stories and preserve them in timeless keepsakes. Though I love working with couples, families and even pet owners, my specialty and passion are horse and rider portrait sessions.
My storytelling background means I approach sessions a little differently (it also means I naturally ask a lot of questions—sorry!). I like to learn as much as I can about a rider and her horse before and during a session, and their unique stories and personalities tend to be reflected in the portraits.
I think the skill I am most proud of in my business is the ability to make clients feel great about themselves during a session and love the way they look at the end result. It’s probably in the same gene that makes someone horse-crazy, but so many (beautiful) horsewomen adore their horses but put off a session because they battle insecurities about themselves. I absolutely understand their worries, and I work to help set them up to feel confident during the session, as well as capture them in images that flatter their best features. Trust me, though, laughing and snuggling with a horse just lights you up… and you can’t help but look beautiful when you’re glowing from the inside out!
I think what helps my work stand out from more mainstream photographers is my personal lifelong background with horses—I see those same equine expressions and mannerisms that owners see but many non-horse people miss. What’s the fun of having cute portraits with your horse if he looks completely bored?! So beyond making sure you look and feel amazing, I have a few treats—err, tricks—up my sleeve to ensure your horse looks his best, too.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It seems that the more prepared you are and the more you surround yourself with amazing, incredible friends… the luckier you become!
Probably the greatest luck I’ve had in business is having a few close friends or connections who have cheered me on, shared me with their connections and pushed me forward… all for the simple sake of helping me chase a wild dream. I don’t think anything I’ve accomplished in the past few years could have been done without their fantastic support.