behind the lens
meet the photographer
hi there! my name is shelby and i am a manhattan based photographer who specializes in horses and portraits. i have a bfa in drama from nyu’s tisch school of the arts with a minor in child and adolescent mental health studies. my dream is to one day establish an equine therapy program for adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, and things of the like. filling people’s souls with life from the bottom up is my passion, and photography helps keep me artistic between acting jobs.
the most important thing to me when i’m working with anybody (weddings, engagements, horses, dogs… you name it!) is that my client is comfortable and able to be themselves in front of the camera. i like to believe i’ve become an expert at minimizing the presence of the camera and giving my clients the space to relax and enjoy themselves. most of my clients start off with “i’m really awkward,” and i always assure them (you) not to worry, because the more present you are able to be, and the more comfortable you become with discomfort, the more you will shine through the camera. i believe in not having a client-photographer relationship while i shoot, but rather a relationship between people who are all there to achieve the same goal: capturing a relationship, personality, and life.
my favorite things to shoot are horses and their riders, whether it be stylized portraits or action shots. i also specialize in stylized portraits (bloggers, senior portraits, styled portraits, and engagements) and headshots. over the course of 7 years, i have developed a keen ability to photograph people in a way that captures their personality, something, as an actor myself, i know is incredibly important when getting the “perfect” shot.
horses fix everything
when i'm not rushing down fifth avenue in stilettos or lugging my scripts to rehearsals, you can find me riding. horses have always been my safe space, something to turn to when i need to reset. i started riding every summer at my aunt's barn on long island, and it was my favorite part of the year. when i started at nyu, i made it a weekly saturday vacation. that weekly outing turned into a bi-weekly adventure, which eventually evolved into a multi-weekly mission to become a competitive rider, and now has me preoccupied four to six times a week. riding feeds me in ways acting cannot: there is a technical perfection that can be achieved, and it demands physical specificity that acting can sometimes forgive. it is my therapy, and definitely the only thing that nurtures my soul in the midst of bustling taxis and clueless tourists.
i was a member of nyu’s ihsa team for three years, and was lucky enough to co-captain the team my senior year. prior to co-captaining, i loved taking photos of my teammates and giving them mementos to remember their unlikely sundays with. riding is always a team effort between the horse and rider, but riding on a team of 20 girls (and the occasional guy) is a truly special experience.
my girl’s name is royal chanel, or “nel”, “nelly”, “chanelly”… you get the point. she was a very special graduation gift from my parents, and she got me through my last year of college. we spent a year doing the adult eq and rounded off our year together in the hunters. career highlights include: marshall & sterling finals, winning the hits hunter twos out of a group of 30 amateurs and professionals, pha finals, and winning our hack at old salem (our very last class together!). since my lease ended in december, i have been lucky enough to continue to half board her, and she keeps me smiling every week.
photos courtesy of nicole schultz photography