Hi, I'm Aisling...
I am a professional photographer and licentiate member of the Irish Professional Photographers and Videographers Association, specialising in equine and pet photography. I live on a farm called close to Tullamore, Co. Offaly, in the heart of Ireland with my husband and daughter. I have always has a passion for animals - particularly horses, dogs and cats. In my free time, I ride and train homebred Irish Sport Horses for dressage competition with several national championship titles on the horses pictured here. I hold a first class honours B.Sc. Equine and am a Horse Sport Ireland accredited Coach and also enjoy helping riders train their own horses for competition. My deep knowledge of horses and other animals - how they behave, communicate and move, helps me to create the most beautiful images.
How I got started in photography...
My first memory using a camera was at Punchestown International Horse Trials in about 1993. I was using my father's Pentax 35mm film camera with him teaching me all about the various settings. In those days there was no auto focus or automatic settings so I had to learn how to set up each shot manually including using manual focus, a light meter and then shoot with a panning technique. While the Canon digital cameras I use today have progressed significantly from that Pentax film camera, that early education in how to use manual settings, set the exposure correctly and consider the composition required to get a shot worth keeping, has really stood to me.
Later I received a present of a Vivitar compact 35mm camera. If I wasn't sitting on a horse then this camera was probably in my hand all through secondary school and college! I did consider studying photography at third level, however at that stage my love for animals came out on top. I graduated from University of Limerick with a first class honours Bachelor of Science in Equine in 2001 - the same day as the 911 attack on the Twin Towers so a day I never forget!
Rapunzel, Rapunzel ....
While I grew up mad about horses I have also always been surrounded by cats and dogs. For my fifth birthday I was given two kittens. One of those was Rapunzel who grew up to be a very special cat - an amazing hunter she would bring home everything from mice to rabbits and even pheasant!
I later bred two litters of pedigree Cocker Spaniels registered with the Irish Kennel Club and I love German Shepherd Dogs also. There are always dogs and cats around the farm with some of my favorites including Tigger, a collie that was abandoned as a pup on the roadside outside the farm and Rocky, a Golden Labrador, rescued from the local dog pound. I have always found myself pointing my camera at animals more than the people around me and my favourite holiday is spending hours traveling around the African bush photographing the wildlife in Kenya and South Africa.
Eventing, Coaching & Lecturing
My career has always revolved around horses and coaching riders. For my 21st birthday I got my first horse - Alesi - a 4 year old Irish Sport Horse by Sea Crest. I produced him to Advanced level in eventing and competed with placings at international level. He is now 26 years old and enjoying a relaxed retirement!
In 2005, I achieved the British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor - now known as BHS Senior Eventing Coach. I qualified as a Horse Sport Ireland Coach (Level 2) in 2009. I spent 14 years working as an Equine Lecturer and managing an equine degree programme.
Equestrian Event Photography
While working full time as an Equine Lecturer an opportunity arose to become Official Photographer for events at Annaharvey Farm Equestrian Centre. I had always continued to upgrade my photography equipment and shoot horses at events as a hobby. I had thousands of images stored on hard drives that no one else got to see so this gave me an opportunity to share the thousands of images I would take anyway. In 2014, I set up Annaharvey Photos and began to shoot equestrian events at weekends selling prints and digital images to riders.
Since I first started using Photoshop CS5 in 2010, I have continued to enjoy editing and being creative with my images. I now use Adobe Creative Cloud working in both Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. In Spring 2022, I decided to take the plunge - I resigned from my full time position as Team Lead at Weatherbys Scientific Genotyping Laboratory and began the process to take my photography full time focusing on pet and equine fine art portraits alongside the event photography.
I still ride regularly and compete successfully at dressage on home bred horses, while continuing to coach other riders also. And so here I am, writing my story about how I became an equine and pet photographer :)
About my logo...
I created my logo in Adobe Photoshop starting with my actual signature drawn on my Wacom graphics tablet. I then added silhouette of my daughter riding a homebred horse called Dunowen taken from a photo I shot earlier this year. The silouette of Dunowen and Maeve is surrounded by an aperture I created to represent the camera.
Annaharvey Farm, Tullamore