I embarked on a new and exciting project earlier this year with the investment in a set of studio lights (as if photographing horses wasn’t interesting enough in the first place….!) and I absolutely love the results! With a great deal of experience working with studio lighting in a ‘human’ studio and having working with horses on film sets with lighting and filled with a lot of creative inspiration I was keen to get my first shoot underway! I enlisted the help of Bonnie Fishburn’s herd of beautiful horses and so Florence, Percy and Elfie became my first studio horses! It was a particularly wet and windy day for it (which I was rather smug about to be honest as I spend a great deal of my time obsessing over forecasts in the run up to photo shoots) and we set up a fab little studio in Tushingham’s indoor school.
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret here, horses don’t actually mind flash lighting….. They’re not particularly comfortable with light stands or for that matter anything large above head height and you have to get them use to the set up ie. the big ‘scary’ backdrop and the umbrellas and the soft boxes on the lights themselves but like with any new and very different situation it usually just takes a little encouragement and patience and the horse will settle into the environment. In terms of the flash itself it’s more the noise than the light that will give the horses a little start so it’s always important to build the flash up gradually from a flash gun before using the studio lights and starting with minimum power before introducing the kind of power you need to light a horse. And once they have got use to the ‘pop’ of the light you’re in business!
We had a great few hours down at Tushingham Arena playing with both of Bonnie’s homebred eventers Florence and Percy before seeing what her youngster Elfie made of the situation. Still only rising 4 and quite new to the life of being driven around the place and put in new and unusual situations Elfie took to the studio extremely well indeed and it was a pleasure to get to work with him for the first time. Both Florence and Percy have had more than their fair share of time in front of my lens!
I love my new set up and the results which are very different to my usual work out on location using natural light. Both have their own merits for sure and result in a very different feel to the portraits. One of my favourite aspects of the studio set up is the total lack of distraction, the focus is entirely on the horse and you can get a real sense of their beauty and character. Having said that though there are so many reasons for being out on location using natural light, beautiful landscapes and photographing horses in their natural environment. I think the bottom line is horses are simply beautiful creatures and it depends on the way in which you want to capture and treasure their image. I just love getting to know them and photographing them!
Huge thanks to Bonnie and her gorgeous horses for getting the studio sessions off to a great start and I’m looking forward to having many more beautiful horses in my studio!
If you are interested in having your horses photographed in the studio or out on location please get in touch to discuss what you are looking for or to book a shoot in.
Until next time,