Fantasy Photo Shoot with Ashley Morgan Rhodes

If you like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings or the new show Emerald City, you will LOVE Ashley’s portfolio. She is a model, horse trainer and breeds beautiful Friesian horses, raises Andalusians and of course LOVES fantasy photo shoots!

I met Ashley last year at Bartley Ranch at a horse expo. She and Leah Earle performed some Mounted Archery which grabbed my attention immediately. When I saw Ashley ride her Andalusian Stallion Thor and reared him up with her bow…OMG I couldn’t believe how beautiful they looked. I absolutely needed to photograph them! After her performance, I literally ran to her. She told me that she invites twice a year photographers for special photo shoots, so I was all ears! Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the one in June of 2016, so we scheduled another one later in Fall. I envisioned to do some sort of a Renaissance/ Game of Thrones kinda shoot and also wanted to get Michael Artemis involved with his HAWK Leonidis. I thought that would be epic and Ashley loved the idea working with a Hawk.

Later in September I scouted out a few areas at our local Galena State Park which is picturesque already by itself, and the colors were beyond magnificent! Finally my ideas came to life! Ashley also wanted to tie in a “Legend” shoot and brought a very fairytale looking like handmade Renaissance dress. There were two more photographers there – Nicole Sepulveda from Sacrament0 and Judy Solomon, another equinotographer.

Michael, Leonidis (Hawk) and Ashley meet for the first time.

Getting ready:

First we did some shots without Leonidis.



Then we slowly introduced Leonidis to Xander, her horse.

We weren’t sure how Xander would react to the Hawk once he was on his back with Ashley, but surprisingly he did just fine. We took our time to ensure Ashley is comfortable and Michael, who is an expert in wild bird handling, was guiding Ashley of how to work with him.


Ashley really enjoyed Leonidis and started to play and cuddle with him 🙂 I must say I was impressed of how long she could hold him on her arm! Here some more photos without the horse.




By now it was 4 pm and we ran out of sunlight. So we rushed back to the trailers, Ashley changed into her gorgeous “Legend” Renaissance dress and Thor was made into a Unicorn 🙂

Here two edited final images. Since we were rushing to get to the location, I did forget my other wide angle lens, so my 70-200 didn’t do me any good because the space we had was extremely tied.


I must admit that the MOST challenging part for me was the editing. I was soo excited to go home with 800! images and to start the edit, but when I went thru the images I was really disappointed in the quality. And I just couldn’t get the images to look the way I wanted to, so after many long agonizing hours and days of frustration and eye tiredness, I finally gave up and stopped working on them.

I don’t know what made me think of them this week, but I revisited the shoot and found a few images that I was quite happy with and started to edit . Maybe it was a new fresh eye, maybe my new super speedy laptop…I don’t know but at the sudden I see all these images and I went crazy. I edited the last two nights and these are the results. I do have a LOT more. The entire gallery will be added to my portfolio on my website shortly.

I hope you enjoyed the blog and photos as much as I did the photo shoot. Ashley is truly a professional model, easy to work with and a passionate horse trainer. Also a BIG thank you to Michael Artemis who came along with us and was open minded to my idea. If you ever need any info on Hawks and how to care for them, feel free and contact him. He is a Master of his craft.

As usual, any feedback is appreciated, good or constructive!



Bye Bye 2016

I have been really busy during the holiday season and the remaining time was spent with my family decorating the house, Christmas parties, making cookies among other things you do during Christmas. And I just now realized I have not written a blog for two months!

I started doing Holiday Photo Sessions with kids/ families and their horses two years ago and everyone just loved the idea. My slogan is…”You can’t bring your horse to JC Penney but I can come to you!” And this year my business during this time has more than doubled thanks to my repeated customers, word of mouth and social media. I loved seeing families getting dressed up, decorating their horses and falling slowly into the Christmas spirit. It’s always a lot of fun,  even if the weather is sometimes freezing cold. Here are some of my favorites:


In October I decided to create my first Horse Calendar for 2017 and it kept me busier than expected. From sourcing the right printing company, pricing & deciding on a specific design to choosing the quality of paper, it was definitely an interesting learning curve. At the end I was very happy the way it turned out and received really great feedback, people loved the spiral top and the glossy heavy paper it was printed on. I also decided to make a desktop calendar. There is still a limited amount available on my website.


I got extremely frustrated with my 7 year old laptop during that busy time because it just couldn’t keep up with the work load and the speed I needed to use my editing programs. Oh and it ran out of space! It was time to get a new one! So I asked Santa for a new one and he delivered!! Woohoo…so now I am in the middle of transferring my photo shoots, Photoshop and Light Room presets and everything else over…talk about time consuming!

I can’t wait what 2017 has in store for us, my family and my horse photography! I truly love what I do and am fortunate enough to have someone by my side that supports my vision and ideas 100%!

Happy New Year!





What happens after the shoot?

In an effort to make the entire photo shoot memorable, I am always looking for new and creative ways to enhance the experience, from beginning to end. I added a new feature for my clients that I would love to share with you, because I think it puts the icing on the cake and makes the entire photo shoot experience complete.

It always amazes me with how many photos I come home with. For an 1.5-2 hour shoot I have anywhere between 300- 450 photos, depending on the different poses, action photos, horse’s cooperation, etc. As I go thru and edit them I rate them 1-5, 5 being the highest. I LOVE when I have 5 star photos, because they are pretty much perfect straight out of the camera. They need little retouching, maybe a little more exposure, cropping or color. Three star photos would require more work like fixing shadows, touching up eyes, cropping, adjusting brightness and so on. Here are some examples:

I didn’t have to retouch a lot on that image. I simply cropped it slightly and added a little contrast and done! And I do love the shadow of leaves showing on the horse’s coat. I was actually going back and forth in my head and not sure if it looked good but at the end looking at the entire shoot I love the way they turned out.

Another image that didn’t need much work. A simple crop and zoom, some contrast and done! Sometimes it is the crop that decides if the image is worth keeping or not.

Here is an image I worked on quite a bit. At first I didn’t pay much attention to this photo, it was too dark and the background just didn’t work, so I gave it one star. But looking at it again I just loved how he his ears were perked up and how she hugged him with her eyes closed.

Thanks to Lightroom and Photoshop I was able to save this image and turn it into a “5 Star”! I really love the finished photo.

Once the entire shoot is edited, the photos are downloaded to my client’s page onto my website for review. My package includes a personalized USB Card with all digital high res photos and a customized photo book with your images, great for your coffee table or gift!

So, what did I add? I truly believe your photos should be looked at, loved, felt, touched and seen by your friends and family when they come into your home. How many people have thousands of photos on their iPhone and computer and never look at them again? Sound familiar? I personally have canvases and framed photos ALL over my house from the Flume Trail, Lake Tahoe, my son, US- our family, memories. People always comment on how many pictures I have up. And I just love looking at them and remembering that moment!

I now offer wall art for all clients AND I will create your personal in home design.

All I need is a photo of your space, your room, hallway or bedroom and I will show you what a canvas or photo on the wall would look like in your house! Even if you are not a client you can purchase any of my horse photography for your wall! Existing and new clients receive 20% off on any wall art.

Here are some examples:


Here are some client images:


I mean, isn’t that really cool? No more hassle trying to figure out if it fits or not! And you know what it looks like before you buy anything! And the possibilities are endless.

I can show you different designs with your photos, if it is one canvas or several in your hallway or over your fire place! I think that is pretty darn good!

I am really super excited about that feature! I will post more about it on facebook and also add it to my webpage shortly.

I would LOVE to hear your feedback about my added feature and what you think about it!

You can also leave a comment!