Meet a Member: Heidi Nyland Melocco

Location: Mead, Colorado

Business: The Whole Picture, LLC, specializing in freelance photography, magazine writing, public relations, website design, social media management and advertising for equine-related companies. 

AHP Affiliation: I first met Chris Brune at Equine Affaire Ohio in 1999 when I was in graduate school at Ohio University. Then I volunteered at the AHP booth at Ohio events, and I was hooked and have been connected to AHP, either through an employer or a business client, ever since. Now, I’m proud to be a media professional member through my own business, and I always encourage my clients to become members, too! 

Education: Bachelor of Science in English and Education, Ohio Wesleyan University; master’s degree in Journalism (Magazine and Photojournalism/Design concentrations) from Ohio University.

Years in Equine Publishing: I began posting the monthly event calendar for EquiSearch in 1999. Then Horse & Rider hired me as assistant editor and I moved to Colorado for my first fulltime publishing job in 2001. 

AHP: What project in equine media are you most proud of and why?

HM: I am always honored to hear when an article I wrote touched a reader or really helped them. I have been blessed to work in many facets of equine media—from magazine and book writing, to photography, video production, marketing and social media adventures. It’s a creative life to lead and there’s always a new project on the horizon! I love getting out to meet horse owners and take photos and videos in the field. It’s a good balance to be out and about to gather information then use time in the studio to put it all together. I’m always up for helping new companies with video or photography production, design and writing. 

I’m most proud, though, of the books I have written. Books always feel a bit like the birthing process. It’s hard work to collect all the information but when you see the finished product and know that there’s a new resource to help readers, it feels amazing. I loved contributing to the Western Horseman Legends books as well as co-authoring Understanding Lameness with Terry Swanson, DVM.

AHP: What are the biggest benefits of AHP to your business?

HM: AHP is a way to stay connected and to make sure that your message is getting to the right people. I love the camaraderie at conferences and throughout the year when you see friends at different equine events. I think it’s the No. 1 way for those who work in media to network and find support in the equine community. Some of my very best friends are members, and I enjoy keeping up with all the work others are doing. Though many AHP members move from publication to publication, we all stay connected through the organization. 

AHP: How do you make the most of your membership?

HM: I help my clients utilize the PR benefits each month. That is a huge benefit and has helped my clients reach out to the industry. I also check in on the Facebook groups and do my best to contribute there, sharing ideas and suggestions when possible. I also reach out to the friends I have in the organization when I need help finding a good source or need information or photography that I can’t easily get. I believe you have to look at others as members of your network rather than competitors. 

AHP: What projects do you have coming up that you’re excited about?

HM: I’m actually working on a children’s book with my daughter, Savannah. It has been so fun to do photo-shoots with her and her pony. We’re finishing up the writing and going to layout soon. This is a new venture for sure! Even though I have authored six books, this one is so different and exciting because we’re working on it together. We hope to teach other children what it’s like to have a pony through this fun and educational book. I’ll be excited to share it first with AHP when it’s complete! 

AHP: How have you stayed busy and kept your creativity during the pandemic?

HM: I sure haven’t been bored during this time. The blessing of my work is having magazine assignments for the whole year and having set time to work with my marketing clients. While it was tough to go get new photographs for a while, I had plenty to do to finish up what I already had “in the can.” I’m also homeschooling Savannah and her best friend so my days are packed! We have a good schedule of school and work time set up now. The hardest part has been making a schedule I could stick to— that is sometimes tough when you work from home and everyone is home, too! I hope that during the pandemic everyone has allowed a little more time at home to spend with horses and family. I don’t regret that extra time at home at all. With a horse and pony (plus four chickens, three barn cats and two dogs) at home, there is always something to go do.