A creative Photo shoot with Hero Douglas and the Pen-Llyn Luistanos

Hero & the Pen-Llyn Lusitanos

Jul 7, 2017 | Horse and Rider Photo Shoots

I first met Hero Douglas back in 2015 at Bonnie Fishburn’s Wedding. Hero was playing the harp and singing and I was (of course) taking all the photos! I was blown away by Hero’s voice and her harp playing was just divine. I later learnt that not only could Hero sing and play the harp to an exceptional level but that was just the beginning of her talents! Horse riding is another of them and combined with her modelling and acting skills I was really keen to organise a creative photo shoot with Hero.

As a photographer, I feel it is so important to work on my own creative projects as well as obviously all my wonderful client’s shoots. I love testing out new ideas and concepts and creating images which I hope will help enhance my portfolio and continue to push me to constantly improve my skills and creativity. I feel blessed that my job is something that I absolutely love doing and so creative shoots like this one with Hero are exciting, motivating and inspiring days!

Hero and her Mum Alice were very excited about the prospect of the shoot and so I set about organising. To be completely truthful they’re not always the easiest of days to organise when you’re trying to work with several (very busy) people’s diaries! Hero, in particular, has a pretty intense schedule. At the time of the shoot she was very busy studying for her A levels all the while getting prepared for a very busy summer ahead of filming and performing on the West End. She is also the owner of a very up and coming eventer based with Ben Hobday and somehow manages to fit in a very active life style.

Next was finding the perfect horses for the shoot. With this type of shoot I am very fussy with the horses I like to use. While I think (and always have done) that every horse is an incredibly beautiful creature there is just something about the Spanish and Portugese breeds and I have been totally hooked on them ever since working with them in the film industry but that’s a story for another day….

The next element was finding a florist who was interested in collaborating on the shoot and who could make not only some gorgeous flower crowns but also fancied taking on the challenge of making a wreath for a horses neck! Joseph Massie came up trumps on this front and wowed us all!

Everything was set but inevitably when trying to arrange something with several busy people involved something had to give. Four days before the shoot, the horses I was supposed to be using fell through due to filming commitments and so we were almost back to square one. With the weather set to be good though (and this was back in April) and with a brief respite in Hero’s schedule over half term I was determined to make the shoot happen. I rang around to several contacts with Andalusian and Lusitano horses but for one reason or another everyone was already busy or their horses weren’t suitable. Finally to my immensely grateful relief Janine of Pen-Llyn Lusitano’s saved the day and we were back on track for a shoot on the Monday.

Monday morning arrived and with it a somewhat overcast sky but I still had over 100 miles to drive so I figured it might have changed a lot by then! I first headed up to Joseph Massie flowers by Aintree racecourse to pick up my horse wreath and flower crowns and with them safely sprayed with water and secured in the boot I hit to road to the Llyn Peninsula.

What can I say about the shoot itself…. hopefully the photos will do more justice to it that my words can. Hero was an absolute star and such a joy to work with. Working with big powerful (extremely well trained I might add!) stallions that you don’t know is always going to be a slightly daunting experience….. add in ballet pumps, flower crowns and then being asked to lean in and give said large stallion a kiss and a cuddle is definitely above and beyond the norm! Hero was amazing, riding in a dress, working without a bridle, lying down with them, nothing was too much to ask and was all obviously only carried out with Janine on hand and with her consent that what we were trying to achieve was within the Stallions’ comfort zone and safe to do.

Janine was incredible (as are her horses!) Considering she had had 4 days notice she was so welcoming and we had our pick from her stunning line up of horses. The horses really were a credit to her and are not only to die for looks wise but are all seriously talented horses. All I see on her social media is stacks of rosetts on a weekly basis and the horses qualifying for shows all over the country and Europe!

It was a fantastic day and such a pleasure to work with such a lovely bunch of people. From Joseph who created the most beautiful flower pieces (which the horses did attempt to eat on several occasions….! Sorry Joseph!) to Hero who is a true budding star and her Mum Alice who was so helpful and supportive throughout the whole process and of course Janine who went above and beyond in allowing us to work with her beautiful horses. I am so grateful to everyone involved in the shoot and so happy with the results we got from the afternoon. Thank you all again for your time, skills, flowers, horses, daughter(!) and most of all your trust.

I hope you enjoy the results and if you are interested in booking your own photo shoot with your horse please do get in touch via any of the links below. Please also check out Joseph Massie’s beautiful work and you can see more of Janine’s amazing horses by following their Facebook page. I would highly recommend both if you are ever looking for beautiful flowers or anything Lusitano related in North Wales! Keep your eyes peeled for Hero on the screen and the stage and you can follow her current Horse & Hound blog for updates on her life as an owner of a quickly advancing eventer.

Thank you again to everyone who was involved in making this shoot happen and I can’t wait for the next creative shoot lined up for next month although next time it’s going to be a slightly different theme…..! Stay tuned to find out more!

Until next time,

Ciara x



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