Equestrian, News, Personality Profiles


October 2, 2019, Author: Contributor

With the SA Derby 2019 show kicking off this week in Johannesburg,  we’ll be sure to see the recogniseable Denford Studios logo all over our social media feeds as husband and wife team, Hanlie and Barnie, capture the moments, the mishaps and the magic within the ring!

Barnie and Hanlie are two of the most approachable and accommodating photographers within the horse-riding industry – always willing to assist with images – which we, at Equestrian Life SA, have experienced first-hand. This hard-working husband and wife team were both forced to leave the corporate world and decided to turn their love and passion for photography into a full time, professional career. That was just over 5 years ago and the best appears yet to come:

What Types of Photography do you do? 

For our bread and butter, we specialise in equine action photography covering everything from SANESA shows through to World Cup qualifiers. We love all disciplines – from the grace of Vaulting and the dedication of the showjumpers to the precision of dressage and the military style of the tentpeggers. Not to forget the speed and accuracy of the Western Mounted games!  

When we’re not taking photos professionally and commercially, photography also forms a large part of  our personal lives  – we love wildlife and nature photography.  Hanlie loves taking pictures of people and fine detail, so our subject range is fairly diverse. 

How did you get into Equine Photography? 

By chance….  

We did a Western Mounted Games event for a family member where the Kritzingers from Goudhoek Boerperd stud) gave us an opportunity to learn more about Western riding. The Lowveld Equestrian club, Kraai Kampher and Laura van den Heever, opened their doors to us and that is where we developed a love for dressage and jumping.  

SANESA shows are very close to our hearts.  We did the first Nationals in 2016, with little to no understanding of the multiple classes and disciplines.  We met one of our angels, Alta Olivier, during this event and she assisted us in understanding the logistics behind the 1105 classes! It was one of those “sink or swim” moments and we’re pleased to report we’re still going along swimmingly. 

After meeting Arnold Botha at one of the Lowveld shows he asked us to put in a bid to be the photographers at Kyalami Park Club, and the rest is history! 

We should reach another giant milestone by the end of 2019 when we will take photos at our 250th event – of which, 97% are equestrian events. 



Role Within the Team:  

Hanlie thinks she’s the boss and Barnie acts as if he is the boss 

Previous Occupation:  

Barnie was Operational Support Manager for DHL Global Forwarding and Hanlie was the Director of Financial Management at Department of Public Enterprises. 

How would you describe yourself in 3 words:   

Barnie: Dedicated Loyal Peoples-person 

Hanlie: Creative Passionate Stroke-Survivor 

Preferred Camera Brand: 

We have always been using Canon.  The support we get from Nicky Mungle at Canon South Africa is just amazing and we look forward to a bright, well focused future with Canon. 

Most challenging part of equine photography:   

Capturing dark, dappled horses with a rider in white jodphurs and a black riding jacket… and Horses refusing to put their ears forward during prize giving. 

Most rewarding part of equine photography:   

Online sales pay-out at the end of each month, due to support from riders! No, on a serious note, seeing our images used in the press especially the front page. 

If I wasn’t a photographer, I would be a…. 

A dead man….! Just kidding. 

Barnie would live his dream as a short story writer and poet living in the middle of the Central Karoo. Hanlie would be a full-time artist. 

Motto / quote that you live by:   

Apply your God given talents in faith and gratitude in humbleness