Lori Sortino founded Essence Captured in October, 2006. Deb Hofstetter joined Lori as equine photography partner in 2019. Deb and Lori found so many similar interests in their photography pursuits, that the partnership made perfect sense.  Together, they formed the Essence Captured Equine Photography Group.

Essence Captured is the official photographer for several Hunter/Jumper Shows at the Paso Robles Horse Park.  Essence Captured is also covering some of the Arena Polo events in Los Osos at the Central Coast Polo Club.  In 2021 we were invited to cover the Combined Test and Horse Trials at the Fresno County Horse Park. 

The Essence Captured Equine Photography Group consists of Lori and Deb as well as Partner Photographers Cathy and Hunter (bios below) and contract photographers who work for us at the larger equine events we cover.

Lori, Deb and Hunter also cover several Central California sporting events, such as the Morro Bay Triathlon, SLO Marathon, Paso Half Marathon, SLO Ultra, Westlake Village Century, and more, working for Captivating Sports Photos.


Lori is an accomplished photographer, artist, and designer with experience in print media, landscape fine art photography, portrait photography, wedding photography, sports photography, and event photography. She joined a photography club in high school and has been developing her skills ever since. She studied art and photography at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and has a degree in Applied Art and Graphic Design.

Lori was the official photographer for the annual Long Dance ceremony held in SLO County every September from 2007 - 2018 and 2020.  Lori was the Image Editor for Conejo365, a quarterly event magazine published in Westlake Village, California from 2014 - 2019.  Lori provided extensive photography services for Naam Yoga L.A. and Rootlight, Inc. for web and publication projects.
In addition to her work for clients and her freelance work, Lori photographs wild mustangs and creates fine art image prints.  Her work is often on exhibit locally.  


Lori reminds us that we see with our heart.

See Lori's Paintings
woman in long coat and hat standing on hillside at sunset, holding camera
Lori Sortino, on location in San Luis Obispo.                 Photo by Pat Price.
female photographer
Deb Hofstetter, on location in Templeton.                 Photo by Lori Sortino.

Deb Hofstetter is a skilled technical photographer, has created a home studio and has been an artist in residence at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles.  She grew up here on the Central Coast and is extremely familiar with the area.

Equipped with the tools of the trade, life's experiences, years of practice, desire, education and training, Deb has embarked on a mission to fulfill her passion and capture the highest quality images for her clients.  "Every day is filled with new possibilities in photography and I want to be part of that discovery.  I want people to feel and be in the moment with every picture I capture."  "I'm excited to be living my dream - Photography."

Deb reminds us that we all have something to contribute and together we are greater than any one of us alone.

The Essence Captured Equine Photographry Group

Partner Photographers

Cathy Wallace

Cathy showed up at the Paso Robles Horse Park at one of the events we were covering, taking photos.  Lori said hello and they struck up a friendly conversation.  "Would you like to work for us?" was part of that and "send me the photos you're taking today to look at!" which Cathy did, and her photos were good and they keep getting better.  Cathy is a long time horse person.  She has ridden and competed for much of her life and knows what she's looking for with her camera, and since she no longer owns a horse, this gets her out with horses, which just makes her day.  It makes our day to have her on the team!

Cathy feels that when she's horseback, all is right with the world. Growing up in Ventura County, her focus was dressage and hunter/jumper events. In her younger days, she worked as a riding instructor, trail guide and pack horse wrangler before moving into a career in sales and logistics. Cathy had been intrigued by photography since she was a teenager. After retiring from her corporate career, she acquired a DSLR camera and took some classes. Photographing equine events was an obvious choice for her. When following a horse's movement with her camera, she will often times talk to the horse as though she was the rider!  Check out her web site!

Cathy reminds us that we bring our love of the horse's spirit to our photography work.

Cathy Wallace, on location in Los Osos at the Central Coast Polo club.                 Photo by Lori Sortino.
female photographer

Hunter Kilpatrick

Lori met Hunter during the break-down of Whale Rock Music Festival.  Lori was taking down her art and Hunter was part of the stage set-up and take-down crew.  He made a comment about her horse photos and being a photographer himself and they exchanged cards and continued the job at hand.  Hunter had set an intention to photograph horses.  Lori had set an intention to bring new photographers on to create the ECEPG.  They were meant to meet.  

Hunter is super hard working and passionate about photography.  From his web site, you can see that he's up for an adventure and willing to experiment and explore new things.  At the same time he's eager to please his clients and does his best to produce images that will bring the joy of the moment back to the subject when they view the image he's taken. The more time we spend with Hunter, the more we like and admire him.  We are so happy to have him on our team.

Hunter reminds us to pay attention to the details.

Hunter Kilpatrick, on location in Los Osos at the Central Coast Polo club.                 Photo by Cathy Wallace.
male photographer

Contract Photographers

Kyoshi Becker

We met Kyoshi through working sports photography together and invited him to join us in the equestrian arena.  We enjoy his laid back spirit and can do attitude.  He's got years of photography experience and excels at action photography, with motocross as one of his genres.  He lives in Southern California.  Check out his web site!

Kyoshi reminds us that it's never too far to drive for a photography adventure among friends.

Photo of Kyoshi in 2016 at a Motocross event.
Kyoshi Becker

Molly Virginia Morris

Molly was looking to shoot at the Paso Robles Horse Park, and we eagerly added her to our team.  One look at her web site and the fact that she grew up around horses and has studied photography at Cal Poly (Class of 2020) made it an easy decision.  And then we met her and we JUST LOVE HER!  She has a beautiful gentle spirit and she's kind -- on top of her wicked skills with a camera.

Molly is from Orange County and has competed in show jumping, dressage, and western pleasure.  She enjoys trail riding and guiding and simply loves continuing her learning in the world of horsemanship.  During the summer of 2019 she was a wrangler in a small mountain town in Colorado.  She's super interested in photographing (horses, obviously, AND...) the work of people in trades and agriculture.  She loves the outdoors and has a strong Christian Faith.

Molly reminds us that it's the light we are capturing in our images.

Molly Virginia Morris, as a Wrangler in Colorado.
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