Jody Miller creates stirring horse photo

Transforming a trashy horse photo into a top seller

Jody Miller Horse photo special momentOne of my top selling horse photos in the past few years is an image I call Ethereal.  The image was taken on a photo shoot in Palm Desert, California.  I was visiting my friend who got me started with horses many years ago.  She invited me to her ranch to photograph her Arabian Gelding.  My friend has multiple sclerosis and doesn’t get the opportunity to spend as much time with her horses anymore.  It was difficult for me to watch her struggle to find the strength to even walk her horse to the arena.  It was my intention to create a touching and emotional photograph that captured her connection to her horse.  Unfortunately, this was one of those ranches filled with distracting backgrounds and “things” piled everywhere.  I snapped away as she released him out to run in the arena.  He was so expressive and powerful as he galloped in the dirt.  He was snorting and kicking and creating quite a ruckus.  After just a few minutes this gentle giant slowed down and turned back and walked over to his owner as calm as ever.  It was such a peaceful and tender moment.

Cleaning up the horse photo.

I caught the expression I wanted.  It wasn’t an action shot and it wasn’t the snorting power image that I originally thought I was going there for.  Instead, it was that connection shot. My dear friend had introduced me to horses years ago and here she sat with tears streaming down her face as she watched her gelding run the arena.  It’s been years since she rode but she can still enjoy the horse from the ground and still has the amazing talent to be quiet and just listen to the horse.  This is exactly what she taught me so many years ago about relating to a horse.

After I returned home and loaded the images to my computer I began my editing process.  I stared at this one image over and over to determine what to do with it.  The horses expression sent chills up my spine.  But what to do with all that distracting fencing and those trees in the background.  First I tried blurring it out, then I thought I could just clone out the tree.  I played and played with this photo until I finally decided to try erasing the background.  During working with Photoshop, my erasing went a bit too far I thought, or did it?  The results turned out to be just what I was feeling at the time.  Just what we were all feeling at the time.  The horse was still there, but all the other distractions of the world had faded away.  All that was left was the deep connection.  I stared at this edited photo for hours-reliving the experience.  The definition of Ethereal is “extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.”

I’ve received a lot of compliments on this photo I call Ethereal.  It’s available in my horse collection gallery.

Jody Miller Horse Photo before touch up

Before Cleanup

Jody Miller creates stirring horse photo

After Cleanup




Jody Miller is a










Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography.  Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at these Arizona Galleries:    Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ and Coops Coffee House at Talking Rock Ranch. Gift Shop at The Phippen Western Art Museum


  1. Hi Jody – you continue to inspire that ” Old Mann ” from the UK……when we met in the shop in Prescott last year ( 2015 ) with my wife and your photos are well just…….Just …….the Best

    If ever you plan to run any photo workshops let us know we would love to learn & improve our abilities

    Kind Regards
    Janet & Vince Mann

    1. Author

      Hi Vince and Janet.
      Yes, I remember meeting you and also remember the great story how Janet surprised you with one of my photos. Hope you are enjoying it and thanks for the comments. Stay tuned for some new work being released soon of Wild Horses!
      All the best to you in the UK.

  2. Great post Jody! I’d love to see a full process on one of your images sometime. From the original, through the steps in Photoshop, to the final. I always like seeing what tricks other photographers have up their sleeves!

  3. Jody, I just found this.
    It is my very favorite photograph of me and Nick.
    I cherish all the photo’s from the many, many horses and years we’ve shared!
    I’m in tears again, reading your beautiful words about the day we took these photos.
    I remember all of the horses we worked with and you photographed during that short ten days!

    With love, as always,

    1. Author

      Glad you have the same fond memories. I treasure all you have given me over the years with the gift of horses and friendship!
      Love you,

  4. Pingback: I love Arabian Horses continues - Jody L Miller Horse Photography

  5. Jody, your story behind Ethereal touched my heart. Your artist’s soul shines through in your photos.

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