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10 things to know about booking a Photo Shoot with your Horse

Mar 27, 2023 | Latest, Preparing for a Photo Shoot

Whether it’s nerves at the thought of being in front of the camera when booking a Photo Shoot with your Horse, or you’re worried about how your Horse may behave or what you’re going to wear there are always going to be things on your mind in the run-up to your session. I send out as much information ahead of time as possible to all my clients and discuss any concerns on their pre-shoot phone consultations to make sure everyone is as prepared as can be but I thought I would put this blog together as an extra resource for anyone preparing for or thinking about booking a Photo Shoot with your Horse.

Here are my top 10 things I want everyone to know about booking a Photo Shoot with your Horse…

  1. Everyone is nervous, it’s NOT just you…
  2. Your horse isn’t just going to stand and pose BUT thats ok…
  3. The sun isn’t forecast to shine BUT we might get better photos as a result…
  4. Prepare, prepare, prepare! You – Outfits, hair, makeup & shoes…
  5. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Your horse – Bath, trim, tidy & tack…
  6. This might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience…
  7. You’re going to love your images, DESPITE thinking you hate having your picture taken
  8. What are you going to do with your images now that you love them…
  9. Details: bra, shorts, sun cream, water, fly spray, sleep, layers…
  10. There is never the perfect time, there is only now!

1. Everyone is nervous, it’s NOT just you…

It’s easy to look at everyone else’s end results and think they were born to be that side of the camera and you’re never going to look that relaxed on a Photo Shoot! 😱 EVERYONE is nervous before their Photo Shoot! I’ve even worked with actors and models who pose for a living and they were nervous beforehand!! This is why I don’t turn up for a 5 minute shoot and aim to nail ‘that shot’ in the first 5 minutes! Every shoot is a process, I arrive, we chat, I (might) have a cuddle with your horse(!), we have a look around, we make a plan and hopefully by this stage you’re feeling 10% less nervous as I’m really not a very scary person…! We then get started, I take some test shots, I get you to have a walk around, focus on your horse, ignore me and before you know it you’re loosening up and in the midst of having a Photo Shoot! We’ll usually have a break or two during the session, let your horse have a much deserved munch, change outfits and by the time we get back out there you know what you’re doing and have forgotten all about your nerves! This is where the magic happens!

2. My horse isn’t just going to stand and pose BUT thats ok…

I hate to break it to you but it’s highly unlikely that your horse is just going to stand there for an hour or so with pricked ears and not want to swipe a mouthful or two of the green stuff! However like with the point above, this happens on EVERY SINGLE PHOTO SHOOT and it’s ok! Even with the most highly strung or greediest of greedy ponies there will be ways of getting the perfect shot. Whether it’s with distractions, bribery, keeping things varied or staying in a place they feel safe and secure we will get some amazing images which you might not feel are possible right now. Trust me and let your horse be a horse.
A top tip is to keep them in their routine as much as possible before your Photo Shoot. If this means discussing or adapting the best time for your shoot or risking a roll in the field for better behavior then I would generally say do it! These are all things we will discuss on your pre-shoot consultation too to make sure we set everything up for as successful a session as possible!

3. The sun isn’t forecast to shine BUT I might get better photos as a result…

A common misconception when it comes to photography is that you need the sun to be out! Most of the time I would like to assure you that it’s much better if it isn’t out! Especially when it comes to booking a Photo Shoot with your Horse! You get richer colours, fewer shadows and we can use a backdrop in any direction on a cloudy day! Don’t get me wrong, with the right backdrop (lots of trees, hedges etc) and at certain times of the day (first thing and as late in the day as possible) the sun is definitely our friend and can make the lighting and mood extra special in a photo but I’m going to have to get pretty specific about where you stand to make it work. If you have a wide open space with little to filter the sun through, a cloudy day is generally going to result in better photographs. I feel this point deserves a blog all to itself so watch this space!!

4. Prepare, prepare, prepare! You – Outfits, hair, makeup & shoes…

This again is worthy of an entire blog post in itelf… in fact you can find one RIGHT HERE! But in brief, don’t leave it until the night before to decide what to wear! Plan your outfits in advance, think about whether you need to book a visit to the hairdresser in advance in order to feel great on the day. What are you going to do about makeup? Do you want me to organise someone to come and do your hair & makeup before your Photo Shoot? And what are you going to wear on your feet to both keep your toes safe and look great on your session?!!

5. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Your horse – Bath, trim, tidy & tack…

(*Adds this to my ‘to blog about’ list…) What time of the year is it? Does your horse need to be clipped a few weeks in advance? Or do they just need a trim and a tidy up? Do they need their main pulling? Feet trimming? Or just a good old bath the day before? (Or 48 hours before if their coat is likely to fluff up and take a day or two to settle again…) Is your tack clean? Do you need to borrow or buy a smart headcollar? Do you need to swap bits and nosebands to something simple and not distracting? And finally (without getting yourself covered) a little hoof oil is the finishing touch on a well turned out horse!

6. This might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience…

I don’t mean to get all dramatic on you but this could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make the effort to the small details right and you will feel so much more relaxed and confident on the day.

7. You’re going to love your images, DESPITE thinking you hate having your picture taken

‘I hate having my photo taken.’ I hear this all the time. Posing awkwardly for an impromptu photo can be agonising, I’m with you on that. Having a whole Photo Shoot session with a professional photographer is an entirely different experience, I promise! From me guiding you through the whole process from what to do with your hands (seriously why do they have to feel so awkward when a camera is pointed in your direction?) to knowing how to stand to look comfortable, relaxed and natural with your horse I will help you every step of the way. Not to mention you have your large, 4 legged bestie beside you throughout the whole experience… If you’ve not had a professional Photo Shoot then you’ll have to book one to believe me! It is literally my job to make you look good!

booking a Photo Shoot with your Horse

8. What are you going to do with your images now that you love them…

This is something most people don’t think about or know until after the Photo Shoot. This is absolutely fine… However if you do have ideas, such as a specific place in your house that you’d really love a portrait of your Horse or you and your Horse then this can be really useful to know in advance. Most people end up going for some sort of collection which includes a Photo Book with all of their favourite images, some art for the walls, this could be a classic canvass or a framed print collection and some high resolution digital files to make copies for family and loved ones. I know a lot of people prioritise digital and are super excited to share their images on social media but I cannot encourage you enough to get them off your screen and into print. This is when they truly come alive and will become even more treasured as time moves on.

9. Details: bra, shorts, sun cream, water, fly spray, sleep, layers…

The all-important and sometimes vital details that are easy to overlook! Ladies, most of these are for you! Do you need a strapless bra? Do you need a backless bra? (Please don’t make me edit out bra straps from 50 different photos!) You will also be so much more comfortable if you have a properly fitting bra on the day! Are you planning on riding bareback in a dress? PLEASE BRING SHORTS if you are! Or leggings which won’t show when your dress is slightly hitched up over your horses’s back. Also will your dress or skirt sit comfortably over your horses’s back or are you best doing any ridden shots in trousers? If it doubt test it out before the shoot. Do you need suncream, water (for you and your horse), fly spray, layers (in case you get cold or there’s a shower) and please please please get a good nights sleep before your photo shoot!

10. There is never the perfect time, there is only now!

And we’ve circled back to the dramatic….! There’s always a reason to put a Photo Shoot off. I realise it’s not at the very top of your ‘to-do’ list but there is unlikely to ever be the perfect time. I hear so many regrets from people who put it off and put it off only to regret it for all the obvious reasons. It honestly breaks my heart.
If you’ve got kids and ponies, embrace the chaos! They’re not that small for very long and you will definitely not regret setting the time aside to capture their relationship with their first pony and creating some special memories. Take the plunge, get in touch and let’s chat about what your dream photo shoot would look like!

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