KHS sophomore Erin Arndt starts Bits and Stirrups, a photography business

By on February 26, 2010

by Madi Bluml
Kaneland Krier Reporter

Kaneland—Distance or up-close? A quick shutter or a normal-speed shutter? How is the lighting?

These are a few of the many questions sophomore Erin Arndt asks herself when she prepares for a photo shoot for her photography business, Bits and Stirrups.

Arndt has been riding horses since age 8. As an avid rider, Arndt has a wall in her room camouflaged by awards she has won. She became interested in photography when she received her first digital camera around age 10. Two years ago, in 2008, she decided to start her own business.

The name Bits and Stirrups comes from horse terms, Arndt said. A bit is a metal piece that goes into the horse’s mouth, and stirrups are the metal loops on the saddle for the rider’s feet.

“I was interested in photography, and I had a friend who was a professional photographer,” Arndt said.

Her friend, Violetta Jackowski, was Arndt’s inspiration to become a photographer.

Arndt primarily photographs horses and riders. Sophomore Ally Bumbar is a rider Arndt has photographed.

“She’s gone to my horse shows, and she takes pictures while I’m riding and of lessons,” Bumbar said. “I think she’s really good.”

The aspiring photographer has regular clients; she will go to different shows for the same people.

Horses and their riders aren’t the only things Arndt photographs. She does individual portraits and family shots, too.

Fifth-grader Devon Buri, a student at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School, has had family and individual portraits done by Arndt.

“She was fun because she did poses I’ve never done. It was great,” Buri said. “(The pictures) were good because of the shadowing.”

Junior Linnea Scherer has also had portraits done by Arndt.

“She gives good directions. She’s really easy to work with,” Scherer said.

Arndt said she enjoys editing some photos for fun in her free time. She continues to ride horses and competes in dressage and eventing. Dressage is a test that has to be memorized and then performed in front of a judge. Eventing is a series of three events that includes dressage, cross-country jumping and stadium jumping.

“I (want to) go far with riding horses, and I love bonding with the horses that I ride,” Arndt said, adding that horse-riding has made her learn responsibility to take care of horses.

Arndt has advice for aspiring riders.

“Find a place to ride and keep going for it,” she said. “Even if you fall, just get back on and try again.”