Meet Shelley

Horses are the thread woven throughout my story.

The Horses Came First...

Growing up, my summers were spent on my uncle’s farm taming kittens, helping little piggies come into the world, and, of course, riding horses. I spent countless weekends competing at local horse shows on leased horses, all the while, longing for a horse of my own.

When I finally earned my first full-time salary, I bought a horse of my own —Maggie Sue, a two-year-old Quarter horse who has been with me ever since (28 years and counting). Around that time, I also married my husband, Tracy, who continues to be my best friend, biggest cheerleader, and personal comedian.

My creative career started in graphic and web design, which lead to a job at an advertising agency where I learned the ins and outs of working on a creative team. In 2001, I started my own freelance design business and I came to be known for creating work that is customized and truly reflects each client.  

My love for photography grew ….

Over time, my passion for creating beautiful, meaningful imagery grew and I made a natural pivot away from design to focus solely on photography. What first drew me to wedding photography is what continues to keep my passion for photography alive: my innate ability to create a unique story through images.  

Early on, I discovered my love for teaching and mentoring. I’ve led workshops and mentored photographers for more than 17 years, helping other photographers grow in their craft and build a successful business on their own terms. 

All the while, I loved taking pictures of Maggie Sue and creating beautiful, meaningful images for my growing list of equestrian clients. Eventually, even after being named one of the Top 50 Wedding Photographers in the U.S. by Weddzilla in 2014, the tug on my heart to photograph horses full-time was getting stronger.

The horses drew me back in …

In 2015, after an accident that happened while traveling lead to a traumatic brain injury, I had to step away from wedding photography and go all-in with my equine photography business. It was sink or swim and I dove in headfirst, with no assurance I could make a living just doing equine work. 

Around that time, my childhood wish came true and we moved from the suburbs to the country and bought 5-acre hobby farm. I even bought a new horse to complete the package, Fritzie, my #supermodelhorse, who introduced me to dressage. She’s a very smart mare which has made me 10x a better equestrian. Thanks to riding Maggie Sue in Western events and Fritzie in dressage, I have a good understanding of both Western and English disciplines. 

My versatile riding and training experience allows me to capture both Western and English disciplines from an insider’s perspective. 

In 2018, a book of my work called “Horses, Portraits and Stories” was published by Amherst Media. It went on to win first place in the American Horse Publications Equine Media Awards. 

2021, as much schedule filled and my workload intensified, I transitioned away from offering portrait work to focus working primarily in the commercial  and editorial side of the photography business. 

Working with major brands such as Farnam and Nutrena, my ad agency background provides a unique client-focused perspective. Working with publications such as Horse Illustrated, Young Rider and the American Quarter Horse Journal allows me to put my documentary wedding photography skills to use, showcasing my ability to tell a story through compelling images.

Still going strong...

These days, you’ll still find me with a camera in hand, creating captivating images of horses for equine brands, businesses and publications either through custom photo shoots or my Equine Stock Library.

Through my Wings and Pegasus mentorship programs, I continue to find great joy and fulfillment in mentoring other equestrian photographers. 

My passion for the craft of photography and for photographing horses means I will never be neutral about the work I do. I’ll forever be obsessed with light and sunsets … and horses.