March 29, 2021 | Features

An Interview with Sinéad Ní Riain – Portrait Photographer of the Year 2021

No Comments

5 latest blogs

Sinéad Ní Riain won the coveted title of Portrait Photographer of the Year 2021 Placed 2nd Overall with her signature-lit horse portraits.

Sinéad’s series of Coolmore Stud’s most prized stallions is the product of many years of developing a unique lighting style and technique. She has been able to capture the form and beauty of some of the most valuable and successful horses in the industry, and we’re delighted to be able to share her interview with you, here.

Black horse posed laterally in front of a dark background
Sinead Ní Riain — Gold Award, Portrait Category

Would you share with us a little bit of background on the awarded work?

The Coolmore Stallions are part of a series of signature lit portraits I’m still working on.

Having created my signature studio lighting I use the light to paint the beauty, conformation, and character of these high-performance horses.

  • No Nay Never — Champion Sire, commissioned by Coolmore Stud, Fethard, Co. Tipperary
  • Latrobe — Group 1 winner, commissioned by Joseph O’Brien, Racehorse Trainer
  • Duco — commissioned by Olympic Showjumper, Greg Broderick, Ballypatrick Stables
lighr-brown thoroughbred horse in front of a black background
Sinead Ní Riain — Bronze Award, Portrait Category

Joseph O’Brien commissioned me to capture his Group 1 winners. Latrobe was trained by Joseph and was ridden by Donnacha his brother — a rare combination.

Winning the Gold Medal, followed by the IPPVA Portrait Photographer of the Year Award for the second time, and then winning the World Cup Best of Nation was confirmation of my successful lighting techniques over a long period.

Working with the most valuable horses in both racing, showjumping, dressage, and eventing has been both challenging and rewarding.

Each year — pre-covid — I exhibit at the Dublin Horse Show, and Tattersall International Horse Trials has given my work an international window.

Brown thoroughbred horse posed in front of a dark brown background
Sinead Ní Riain — Bronze Award, Portrait Category

We know a lot our readers will love to hear more about gear, equipment and post-treatment. Tell us more.

My Hasselblad X1D camera and Profoto lights are state-of-the-art and have enabled me to achieve the quality and detail you see in my imagery.

My composition and lighting techniques have evolved over the years in my purpose-built studio in Cassestown, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

brown thoroughbred horse posed in front of a black background
Sinead Ní Riain — Bronze Award, Portrait Category

Is there a particular image or artist that has inspired/moved you?

Rembrandt lighting would have always inspired me, and I’ve always admired the artistic beauty and quality of fellow professional photographer, Vincent O’Byrne.

As a child, I won art competitions, and my 1st cousin, Cathy Carmen, is a renowned sculptor. Her son, Simon, is equally talented in equine sculpture and painting.

white thoroughbred posed in front of a black background
Sinead Ní Riain — Bronze Award, Portrait Category

What would be your 3 main tips for a photographer with a strong portfolio of personal work wanting to start a business?

  1. I would recommend joining the IPPVA as I have made great friends and learnt a lot from them. The various courses run by the IPPVA over the years are both inspiring and informative.
  2. Visit galleries and study lighting and composition from the Masters.
  3. Mentors in different areas of photography and business are worth investing in to improve all the skills that are needed to be successful both in photography, marketing, and the business aspect of a successful career.
black thoroughbred horse posed in front of a black background
Sinead Ní Riain — Bronze Award, Portrait Category

What would you most love to photograph right now if Covid restrictions weren’t a reality?

Once conditions allow, I look forward to travelling to the US to finish my series with the Coolmore America stallions.

#

Find out more about Sinead Ni Riain

Member profile

https://www.niriainphotography.com

No Comments

Leave Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *