Philip Yale - meet Northwich’s horse photographer

Xanthe Goldsack and Nibbles at Somerford Park Farm

Xanthe Goldsack and Nibbles at Somerford Park Farm - Credit: Philip Yale

One Northwich photographer has combined his two passions to create stunning results. Words by Rebekka O’Grady.

Philip Yale

Philip Yale - Credit: Philip Yale

‘For me, it’s all about capturing the relationship between the person and the horse. There’s a bond between the two, and that’s what really gets my attention,’ explained photographer, Philip Yale. ‘Often when people want equestrian photography, it’s because they want to keep an image of that, it’s like a family portraiture.’

The equine photographer from Northwich has been taking photographs of people and their horses for a number of years. From capturing an image in a fine art style to those riding in action, Philip has explored many of Cheshire’s scenic locations to get that perfect shot – despite never having ridden a horse himself.

‘I’ve always loved horses. I think they are such magnificent and majestic animals. I’ve never ridden, which in the past has just been down to lack of opportunity, but now I have a rather bad back so it wouldn’t be the best idea!’

Despite being a late entrant into the specific field of equine photography, Philip has been taking photographs since he was eight years old. His father taught him how to develop film and create prints, and he was lucky enough to have a dark room in the spare room of his childhood home.

Sophie Farndon and Bailey at Niki de Macedo's XC clinic

Sophie Farndon and Bailey at Niki de Macedo's XC clinic - Credit: Philip Yale

‘I certainly had a good background in photography, and then I carried on into digital. It was only a few years ago that I thought of combining my love of horses and photography. I started to photograph riders at events like Kelsall Hill in Tarporley and I showed one particular girl, Xanthe Goldsack, some images I had taken of her.’

Philip gave Xanthe copies of the photos and later got in touch to see if she would be interested in taking part in some test shots at Somerford Park Farm in Congleton. The photographer was very pleased with how the images came out, and the rest, as they say, is history.

‘They’re still some of the best shots I have taken. Word started to spread from there and I built up a good following on social media.

‘I got to know Niki De Macedo, who is very active in the horse community and runs regular indoor and outdoor jumping clinics. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I photographed a few sessions, and that way I got to meet new riders and it was a great way of gaining some more clients and a larger network of people.’

Abby Jones and her horse Champ at Tatton Park

Abby Jones and her horse Champ at Tatton Park - Credit: Philip Yale

Philip’s favourite type of image is a fine art portraiture style where the horse and owner are posed in stunning scenic locations. Somerford Park Farm is his favoured Cheshire location because of the wide range of scenery, and he has also taken pictures at Tatton Park in Knutsford and within the Arley Estate.

‘With the equine photography, people often like being in their own stables and yards. It may be smaller than some of the beautiful Cheshire landscapes on offer, but you get more intimate shots in these spaces. I am now trying to find someone to do a beach shoot with – I would love to go up to Formby and take some shots there.’

Abby Jones and Champ at Tatton Park

Abby Jones and Champ at Tatton Park - Credit: Philip Yale