Equine Photoshoot Prep Guide
Hello !!! I have created this guide to help you and your horse get prepped for your Photoshoot! You are always welcome to ask me ANY questions regarding your shoot and how to get ready for it. My job is to help you however I can so we can make sure that your session is one you remember!
Prepping Your Horse
Your horse SHOULD be clean for your session! Bathing is recommended but not required!
You want to make sure your horse is free of dirt and stains. Some stains can be hidden in photoshop if they cannot be removed.
If you bathe PLEASE ensure your horse is DRY before the session.
Clean out nose, ears, and the "eye goop" from the sides of the horses eyes.
Mane and tail should be brushed and dirt free & bridle paths should be tidy. Braided manes ARE OK!
I call this being "Show Ready" since we are "showing off" your horse in photographs! We WANT them to look their best!!!
If you have a FEATHERED horse. (Gypsy, Friesian, Clyde...etc) Their Feather should ALSO be clean and DRY. To help drying and whitening you can use corn starch !!
I AM able to do slight color correction in photoshop of feather when needed but they should be prepped and as natural as possible before shooting!
Keep a brush handy to brush out feather!
It is not your photographers job to trim your horses hooves in Photoshop. It goes beyond saying that a horses hooves should be clean and either freshly trimmed or well presentable before a photoshoot. This is a basic horse care.
This can drastically change the look of your horse. You are more than welcome to put on hoof polish, but it is not a necessity!
If you are interested in putting a favorite halter or bridle...or even your saddle on your horse for some photos. Please be sure that your tack is properly cleaned and fits properly.
For Black Background portraits I have a variety of halters that are suitable for ANY horse if you want your horse to look "Natural."
Location. Location. Location.
I know...not all of us have access to top of the line 5 Star Barns like we have in our dreams. HOWEVER. Location is absolutely everything when it comes to sessions.
You DO NOT have to have the best of the best. In fact...simple barns and simple pastures are often the BEST.
Barns should be picked up and free from debris (as we will use your barn alley way for black backgrounds!)
Fences should be clean and well taken care of. Pastures should be rock/hole free for horse safety.
THE BLACK BACKGROUND
The series of images that is the hottest request...the classy images that are timeless that make a horse pop !!
These images are taken in the entrance to your barn alleyway or arena opening that is away from direct sunlight coming in. Barn alley way's should be tidy for these sessions. A horse *safe* concrete floor IS preferred but not a necessity. If you do not have either of these please contact me.
You are welcome to use your tack (halters, bridles, saddles...etc) for these images. If you are wanting a "natural look" I have a variety of halters that are suitable for ANY horse. I will later go in with photoshop and remove the halter and touch up the background to reveal a beautiful work of art of your horse!
These photos are best done from 11am-3pm.
Be on time & be ready !!
Time waits for no one, unfortunately this includes for me.
When shooting...time IS of the essence. Being late or not ready and causing us to push back the shoot by even 30 minutes can ruin photos for your session. I do not use flash so natural light is LIFE. Time seems to move super fast when it's go-time for shooting.
Especially if your session is an evening session we have about 1-2 hours before the sun is gone. Sometimes you can stretch to about 10-15 minutes after the sun has set, however photos don't always have the best quality then.
If you have a morning session it can be a lot of "hurry up and wait" and then a "rush" into the session as the light changes so quickly as it moves up over the horizon.
Have some help!
It's always a GREAT idea to have some extra hands on board for your session. This person (or these people) should have extensive knowledge of horses and a good attitude! I always do my best to grab your horses attention but having a little helper behind me or beside me is always the icing on the cake!
Plus... we always have more fun with more people!
Photoshoots can sometimes be stressful...It's my job to make sure it's not. Years spent around horses can help me read when a horse is stressed or just being rebellious and to KNOW the difference quickly.
BE sure to teach your horse these simple things....that make a WORLD of difference when it comes to photoshoots.
Your horse should know how to stand properly and quietly...when they dance around for minutes on end we waste time and the horse gets frustrated.
Your horse should pick up all four feet respectfully if we need to re-set feet for photos.
Your horse should also know how to lunge properly and respectfully incase we need to lunge instead of turned out and at liberty for safety reasons.
In addition to standing quietly your horse should also know how to move hips and shoulders over from the ground to make it easier for us to pose the horse - quickly and efficiently.
At the end of the day, you have to know that horses sometimes can have off days too...just like us... my job is to also read those and work with the horse to make sure we can still get our shots quickly.
Most of my equine sessions come with some black backgrounds and some "liberty" shots. These are FUN and action packed. Most of the time I ask that clients stall their horse 1-2 days before the session. (no riding or turn out.)
The most important part of this is: HORSE SAFETY IS ABSOLUTELY KEY. Human safety is next.
Fences and pastures should be well kept and clean. If we are turning your horse out into a pasture for your heart rate AND mine don't choose the largest field you have. Somewhere between a medium and large is perfect. We want the horse to express ALL gaits during their outdoor romp! Too large of a field will only hinder me from getting the best shots of your horse...as they tend to do the most epic actions while I'm 400+ yards away.
We also want to make sure that the background behind the horse is NOT busy....ie: no buildings, parked cars, other pens and horses. This can drastically change the quality of your photos. If your pastures are surrounded by buildings etc - PLEASE contact me! I will help you find either a suitable location or I will do a video call with you and we can discuss your property and how we can best utilize it!
Contrary to popular belief: liberty sessions are not about how fast you can chase a horse. It's about reading their body language. I often miss awesome shots by having to yell across the pasture/paddock/field to back off or push a horse to get the desired action out of the horse. This part of the session really is ALL about horsemanship and reading your horse. It also is about working with me and your horse to get them to move their feet and body to where I need to best get the photos we need!
If you do not feel safe turning your horse loose...we can always LUNGE your horse with one of the halters I bring to your session. A 30-50FT Lunge line will be needed for these shots. Afterwards I will edit out the halter & lunge line in photoshop. Horses should properly know how to lunge for this last resort to work as this could be dangerous or harmful to the horse. Remember we want to make this a great experience not a negative one!
Let's Get Booking!
If all of this sounds like fun and you're ready to jump in get in touch with me below!
Let me know if you have ANY questions, comments, or concerns regarding your session or prepping for it!
I am more than willing to send you links for products or even come early to help you prep! This is a hands on experience!
bottom photo by: Unbranded photography