Maybe I should have titled this post “Organizing My Reference Photos.” But what really matters for our purposes in the model horse hobby is that we have reference pictures and can find them when we need to use them… in whatever system works best for us. As of today my reference library contains 712 photos. To keep them organized, I use iPhoto, a standard program which came with my Mac computer.
I am one of those people who is neurotically organized, so it’s important to me to have my reference photos carefully catalogued by factors such as color, breed, or position so that I can always find exactly what I’m looking for. And I like to be able to put photos in multiple albums (for example, under palomino, dapples, and trotting), and have albums within albums (for example Appaloosa –> Leopard). I like iPhoto because it allows this level of organization and because since I do not use it to organize my other photos (vacations, my cats, etc.) it can be devoted to reference photos.
At right is a screenshot from iPhoto, showing my folders and albums. Besides the obvious divisions I have the “In Use” folder with albums for each one of the customs I’m currently working on- with all the reference photos that are relevant to that work. That way I’m always organized when switching from horse to horse.
Today I was working on what I call my “Hairy Pony Project,” which is my mission to customize a G3 Standing Pony into a shaggy Shetland. Right now he has much shortened legs, chopped hindquarters, and an elongated belly, all of which leave him looking rather strange. One of the fun parts about this project is that looking for references is what experts call a “Squee Fest” where everything is adorable and must be saved for further viewing. So within my “In Use” folder is my “Hairy Pony Project” album, full of wee shaggy beasts:
Then within the folder I can easily find the picture that works best for my current needs and see it in its full glory:
And it works similarly when I am looking for things such as pangare shading, a horse’s shoulder muscle when rearing, proper breed type, teeth detail, etc. I love how easy this system makes finding and using my many reference pictures. And although I do also use many photos from books, the ease of finding and organizing pictures on the computer is invaluable.
And so my advice for reference pictures is: have many of them, and keep them easily within your grasp. Your plastic ponies will thank you.