On the Road with Shirley Trumbo
by Lyn Odom-Cherenzia


As I rode with Shirley to a show in Denver, it was with amazing recall that she told stories of horses and their owners. I answered Professional Equine Photographer, Shirley Trumbo's ad for a photographer's assistant. There was Rocky Mountain Paint Horse Association Futurity in Denver that Shirley had been hired to shoot. Shirley hired me to go along to man the booth. Another gal named Codey went also. As we traveled from San Antonio, through the Panhandle, New Mexico, and into Colorado, Shirley told stories of horses and people from many years ago. She remembers horses registered names, who's been bred to whom, who won what, who sold what horses, who are members of what associations, the events and lives of horses and people dating back over 30 years. Her memory serves her well in the public eye also as I saw her call nearly everyone and every horse in Denver by name.

That's not surprising as Shirley has been involved with horses her entire life. She started out showing Saddlebreds, and over the years Arabians, Quarter Horses, Pintos, and she's been involved in the Paint Horse world since 1978. Shirley has been involved in training, showing Halter & Pleasure horses, breeding, and judging all of which makes her a very good equine photographer. When she's not home in LaVernia, Texas working, showing or judging, she's on the road shooting horse shows. From Arabians to Miniatures, Pintos to Buckskins, and Paints to Quarter Horses, she keeps up with the individual breed standards, which makes her a highly requested show photographer and open show judge.

Shirley's decision to go into equine photography started when she became tired of horses looking like a totally different breed on their registration papers. Another incident that boosted Shirley's resolve to become an equine photographer was when a show photographer reprimanded one of her horses at a horse show. "I didn't feel it was right to physically correct a customer's horse", said Shirley.

Since that time, Shirley has become very good at her chosen profession and is requested year after year at shows through out the U.S. Shirley's booth is always set up to compliment the show she is shooting. It may be set for a simple curtain shot with a faux short wall, some flowers and an official show banner, to seasonal sets that include props for Christmas and Halloween. That's the easy part. What's truly amazing is Shirley's photographer's eye. With just a glance through the lens Shirley can tell if the shot is going to work. Legs have to be positioned just so. They may look right to the layman, but Shirley knows from years of experience that the finished product on flat photo paper can reflect illusions to a horses build. Getting the shot with the horses ears up and people with nice expressions can be tricky when owners are trying to get the horses to cooperate and aren't looking at Shirley. In steps the photographer's assistant. I was assigned to do the paper work, which means I was filling out contracts with names addresses and photo orders. I had to keep the film roll in order with the numbered contract, which can be rather difficult when there is a rush and people lined up for curtain shots, and in a hurry. I had to write descriptions of horses and people's clothes for proof reference as well as keep the contract/film roll correlated. Whew!

The other assistant, Codey, who is really a very nice girl, aside from her manly belches and psuedo karate chops to my head, was busy placing hoofs, getting ears up, switching signs for circuit champs and futurity winners and taking directions from Shirley by hand signal. It literally takes three people to run the booth. One of the most important things that I observed is that whenever you pass Shirley's booth, whether it's in the wee hours of the morning when warm up starts or late in the evening when the show is running down, there is someone at the booth to answer questions and finish the picture orders. Shirley may have to be in the ring shooting rail shots by request, but you can bet you'll have only a short wait to have your photo taken.

Time is important when horsemen and women have a class schedule to meet. At Shirley Trumbo's booth you can count on perfect posed photos with nice backgrounds. Her prices for single photos in various sizes and package deals are incredibly reasonable. Reprints and enlargements are always available. And you can be sure that the photographer looking through the lens knows just exactly what she's doing and that you're going to be more than pleased with the results.

I personally would like to thank Shirley for her patience with Codey and me. We spent a lot of the trip picking on each other like two little kids. Now I know what it would have been like to have a kid sister.

To contact Shirley for professional photography, be it at your farm or in the show ring, call 830-779-2429. "The Picture Lady" bids on shows nationally and will travel throughout the United States. You can also contact her about her Paint Stallions: The Catalyst, Skipa Jr Hi, Devastation, Cons Cowboy, and Great Expectations


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