We had the good fortune of connecting with Betsy Bird and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Betsy, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Honestly, I would say that most people think that photographers just spend the day taking pretty pictures. And as a horse and equestrian photographer, I can’t tell you how many times I get the comment, “Oh, you spend your days playing with horses.”

And, while yes, that is a component of being an equine photographer, it is not even the majority of what I do.

Running a successful photography business involves wearing many hats in order to make sure that your business is organized and running smoothly. Workflows and systems, as well as branding and marketing, play a huge role in allowing me to have not only a successful business but also a life outside of my business.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Before I became a full-time photographer I worked in the corporate world as a trainer in merchandising and marketing. Once my children came along, I opened my own marketing business that worked with entrepreneurial startups. Owning my own business allowed me to work the hours that were convenient for me while having young children at home.
I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I am definitely a self-starter. Ride the Sky Equine Photography actually started as a passion project just to keep my hand in the creative side while I was running my business.

However, the photography business grew exponentially and I eventually had to make a choice. With a husband who traveled much of the time for work and three young kids at home, two businesses were just too much. So, I returned to my roots – horses and photography.

I specialize in custom portrait sessions for equines and the equestrians who love them. I really enjoy working with high school senior equestrians for their senior portraits. I love to create custom artwork for my clients. It really is something to see your vision hung on a client’s wall.

Additionally, I work with equestrian brands and businesses to produce their photographic needs for both the digital and print marketing space.

I also mentor aspiring and existing horse photographers who struggle with workflows, branding, and in-person sales.
I think the biggest thing I have learned throughout my career is to never underestimate the power of your gut. I can think of two times when my gut was telling me to run, and I didn’t listen. Those experiences ended up being the two biggest mistakes I have ever made in the business.

Of course, even with mistakes you learn so it’s not all bad. But, women’s intuition and the power of your gut is real so don’t discount it.

I also think that when you own a business, you have to be able to recognize when it’s time to pivot in your business. Pivots can be scary but the important thing is to recognize new opportunities when they are there and to take advantage of them. You never know where they might lead.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To be honest there are many people and organizations that have helped me to become who I am today. First, I would say that my parents played a large role in my career. My father was an amateur photographer, focusing on landscapes, wildlife, and birds, his whole life. Once he retired, he became semi-professional. We spent a lot of our time together debating lenses, cameras, and editing programs. I really credit him with my love of photography.
I credit my mother with my love of horses. She is in her 70s and lives on our family farm with her horses. She still actively rides and participates in several horse-centric organizations. Having loved horses her entire life, she was thrilled to encourage that love in me, and her granddaughter, as well.

When it comes to business, my fantastic father-in-law, Jerry Bird, is my point man. He’s a font of business information and a great business mentor. I love to pick his brain. And, thankfully, he loves to share.

If I had to pick one organization that really means the world to me, I’d have to give a shout-out to the Oconee County Georgia 4-H Program. It really deserves a lot of credit for who I am today. They offered a wide variety of activities – horse shows, camps, clinics, and judging. I still use so many of these skills today. But, one of the best things I think it gave me was skills when it comes to public speaking and being confident in myself and my goals.

Website: https://ridetheskyequine.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ridetheskyequine

Facebook: https://facebook.com/ridetheskyequine.com

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