New Skill: Photo Assistant

By Jennifer Paulson, Managing Editor

Steve Schwartzenberger, Mallory Beinborn, and I wrap-up our shoot on Tuesday in Longmont.

A good photo assistant’s hands are never empty. And she’s always on the move, pulling a horse’s gaze one direction, moving a reflector from here to there, running to get a rag to wipe snot from a horse’s nose.

I learned that yesterday while assisting photographer Mallory Beinborn of Impulse Photography on a shoot in Longmont. I’m used to being the one holding the camera, directing folks where to stand, when to run their horse past me again, or when to quit squinting (I don’t care that the sun is in your eyes! Smile!).

Pinky the Pony, scoop of grain, extra hat in the left hand; iPhone for documenting our shoot via Instagram in the right.

So my job yesterday afternoon of shaking a scoop of grain, holding a reflector, and making a toy stick horse whinny was new for me.

While I often longed to have my Canon 7D in my hands, I knew our photo shoot was in capable hands. Mallory’s been photographing horses for quite a few years now. She’s now responsible for capturing top riders and horses, both amateur and open, across the country. If you’re an avid H&R reader, you’ve seen her photography on the May and June covers?and a great shot of her’s is on July’s cover, too. Mallory has a unique eye for framing a shot and a keen sense of what’ll work. Spending a 2-day shoot with her was truly a welcome diversion. Especially since my last big shoot in California was almost completely rained out.

I learned a lot working behind Mallory, including some interesting noises to make so dogs will focus on the camera rather than their people, and to be brave and take risks. Mallory’s not afraid to look a stopping reiner right in the nostril, and that inspired me to try new perspectives and ideas in my own shooting.

I’m looking out my office window at a gorgeous Colorado spring afternoon, and I can’t wait to get out to my next shoot. Here’s hoping the rain is just enough at night to keep our scenery gorgeously green, and that the severe weather goes on permanent hiatus. With what’s happening in Oklahoma and North Texas, I appreciate my blue Colorado skies even more than ever.

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