And in a Flash…It Just Happened
Owner and founder of Copper Arrow Photography, Aubray Vande Corput has been smitten by horses since she was a little girl. She knew that becoming a veterinarian was not her calling but also needed to find a niche in the world of horses. In 2018, she choose to combine her love of photography with her love of horses. “Something just clicked. I immediately loved it. I could foresee this being my business, and something that I would be proud to build on and grow,” says Corput.
It all started at a fair. You know those pony rides where the children can ride the miniature horses? My parents made the mistake of letting me ride the pony. It also didn’t help that my cousin was taking riding lessons and that the barn was less than a mile from my house. So it began. I was 5 years old when I started taking riding lessons. I remember wanting to learn how to ride, and my trainer would take the whole lesson to teach me the parts on a saddle, or how to tack a horse up, or simply feeding, grooming and caring for horses. As a child, I was so impatient because all I wanted to do was get on the back of the horse and ride. But it taught me what owning a horse really entailed. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop me from wanting my own horse.
When I was 9, that dream became a reality. I was the proud owner of a very large, very young, paint gelding named Flash. Sadly, he tried to buck me off every chance he had. I learned how to have a good seat, so I am grateful for his ability to teach me that! He found a perfect new owner who was more experienced than I was, and that led me to my “heart horse” as the horse world calls it. She was a short, chestnut mare with an attitude. But I loved that mare with every bit of my heart. After 7 wonderful years, old age got the best of her, and I lost my best friend. My heart was broken. I had a few snapshots that my mom had taken and a couple from our shows together. But after she was gone, I didn’t have much left of our memories together. I saved her halter, I still have it to this day, along with her stall plaque. But, as technology changed and grew, the digital photos I had of her were lost. Once I started high school, I took up photography and I loved it. (Turns out my great-grandpa was also a photographer. I didn’t learn that until later in life.) But photography was set aside when I graduated. At the time, I never thought it was an option for me. But the second time around, it took off, and I don’t plan on putting it down anytime soon.
Horses Only? What Makes Photographing Horses Unique?
No. I also specialize in high school senior portraits. High school seniors seem to go hand in hand with their horses. They are such big parts of our lives and how we are shaped over the years. They really define us. If you meet a true horse girl, you will know almost immediately how much she loves horses. To include horses in your senior pictures helps tell the story of who you are as a person, and it helps tell this chapter in your life.
Photographing horses is unique because you have to know horses. You have to know what is flattering on a horse and what isn’t. You have to look for certain expressions; They can be so minor, but an owner is going to be able to pick out how their horse was feeling in that exact moment. Beyond knowing what to look for, you need to be able to safely work with the horse to achieve the right expressions and poses. You have to make sure the horse isn’t getting stressed out. Working with horses for over 20 years has given me the insight and experience to accomplish successful photoshoots.
Do You Travel?
I am always up for travel! I am based in Green Bay, Wis., but I will travel anywhere. I will be in Florida this March photographing many hunter/jumpers down in Wellington. I also have plans to be in Texas this summer to photograph reiners and cow horses. In late summer, I will be in Pennsylvania for some lovely East Coast portrait sessions.
What is the best shoot you’ve done?
Oh, this is a tough one. I can’t pick a best ONE. I have things I love about each and every session. There are aspects of every session that make it wonderful. I try to take the positives from every session and remember why I loved that aspect of it, and what made it so wonderful and so forth. That can range from the client’s story, or maybe it was a beautiful backdrop, or maybe it was just the laughter shared.
I can’t say I have had a “worst” session. I don’t know that I can say I have had even a “bad” session. If ever there is a negative aspect from a session, I analyze why that was. I try to learn from it to prevent it from happening again or to help me handle tough situations. I strive to give each and every client a fairytale session with the best experience possible.
Anything else you would like to add? People can view my website at copperarrowphotography.com or visit me on Facebook and Instagram.