Stockport-based horse photographer Joanne Thibodeau

Georgie and Magic - Georgie's photoshoot was in Stockport, only a couple of miles from my home. She

Georgie and Magic - Georgie's photoshoot was in Stockport, only a couple of miles from my home. She was with her gelding, Magic, whos seven. Hes a hunter type and she enjoys going on hunts with him. - Credit: Archant

Owning a horse changed the life of Stockport photographer Joanne Thibodeau, writes Janet Reeder

Joanne Thibodeau

Joanne Thibodeau - Credit: Archant

Buying a horse two years ago has been a life-changing experience in more ways than one for Stockport-based Joanne Thibodeau.

The 47-year-old not only acquired a new love in her life, her Gypsy Cobb, named Badger, but gained a new career as an equestrian and pet photographer, producing stunning images for her clients.

Originally from Quebec in Canada, Joanne moved to the UK in the year 2000 after meeting her husband Stephen over there - saying she just had to follow him back to the UK. She worked as a software developer but last June was made redundant and rather than head back into the rat race she decided to embrace change and take the opportunity to do what she’d always wanted - embark on a career as a full-time professional photographer, with horses and pets as her speciality.

‘It was taking up riding relatively later on in my life that had inspired me,’ she explains.

Ellie and Lily - Ellie is the girl and Lily is the mare and I took this close to where I live in Sto

Ellie and Lily - Ellie is the girl and Lily is the mare and I took this close to where I live in Stockport. This is what I do most. People love to have portraits taken of them with their horse. - Credit: Archant

‘I had started as an antidote to the stress I was feeling at work and I really enjoyed it, so I was toying with the idea of perhaps buying a horse. I was a little apprehensive but then Badger came up for sale at the school where I was riding and I liked the look of him. He was also really laid back and I thought I could deal with him. So it just happened. I fell in love!’

Wielding a Nikon D750, Joanne began taking pictures of horses as a hobby before starting to build up her portfolio and discovered that things don’t always go to plan where animals are concerned - especially when they’re a little frisky.

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‘Before I became “official” I met a girl who offered her horse for a photoshoot,’ says Joanne.

‘He was quite nervous and although I was trying to keep my distance he quickly backed into me and kicked my camera, breaking my lens. And I wasn’t insured at the time!’

Not wanting any repeats of that kind of expensive error, Joanne quickly learned how to put the horses at ease during the shoot and get the most out of them in front of the lens. Last year her career began in earnest when she embarked upon two amazing overseas trips. One in Poland, where she had the chance to photograph some beautiful horses such as Gypsy, Fresian, Polish Warmblood and Haflinger and the other back to her native Quebec, where she worked on four different commissions.

‘The first one was at Les Gitans d’Amerique, a Gypsy Vanner breeder, owner of a stallion with amazing feathers,’ she says.

‘The second one was at a breeder - La Ferme Equestre Excalibur - who specialises in Quarter Horses and the last photoshoot was with a client who wanted some portraits of her horse, Moonlight a TB Quarter Horse.’

Joanne now with her own business Joanne Photography, has a growing list of clients keen for her to take pictures of their horses, including breeders, as well as individuals keen to preserve their mount for posterity. She also undertakes commissions of pets, mostly dogs and possibly the most popular pictures are of owners with their horse or pet.

Price for a two hour shoot starts at £110, after which Joanne visits the home with a range of purchase options, depending upon the client wants a framed, image, digital images etc.

Anyone interested in booking Joanne can visit her website for further details