Seeking out a professional photographer is a decision that takes much planning and consideration. As a horse owner, you know the value of using good photos to promote yourself or your business. I have drafted a list of the key takeaways for you to read. You will save a lot of time with this reading. Understanding how to approach the shoot, all requirements to meet for getting best results, you will thank me. Everything will turn into a simpler and greater experience
- Setup your expectations. When making contact with a photographer spend some time discussing your ideas, objectives, and options to make the session a success. Time of day, time of year, weather, the condition of your horses and your location will all be factors, as well as your advertising and farm promotion goals.
- Make some research by yourself. Find some photos in magazines or on the internet that you like to give the photographer some idea of how you would like your horses photographed. Search on Pinterest and fashion blogs to get a sense of what types of outfits photograph well. Get three to six outfit variations prepared.
- Adapt your availability to the “golden hours” rule. In case you haven’t heard, in photography, it’s tested and all specialists agree that perfect light is early in the morning or late evening, before the sunset. All photographers will try to apply this rule to their work for outdoor shoots getting spectacular results. Keep this in mind!
- Find the perfect shoot place. You will need to scout some possible spots on your property that will make suitable backgrounds with no distracting elements(fences, old cabins, electricity poles, ugly buildings etc). Before the shoot mows an area and moves objects out of the way that may clutter up your background. Make sure you prepare a large area if you need action shots. The sun always should be over the photographer’s back.
- Be sure your horse is ready before you. Have your horse bathed, clipped, combed and immaculately groomed before the photographer arrives. Pick out a nice halter that won’t distract from your horse. A simple leather halter is best.
- Offer a great meal to your horse. Make sure that your subjects have had a good meal and no other stressful or distracting events will be happening that day. A happy horse will be more alert and cooperative than one that is fretting or unhappy. This is also true for you, the handler, so keep a happy and relaxed attitude, because this will be reflected in your final product.
- Practice special poses before the shoot. Spend time thinking about the look you’re hoping to achieve with your session and prepare to make that a reality. If you’d love bareback pictures or posing with your horse bridleless, it’s a good idea to practice those things beforehand in the same location as the shoot. Practicing will help ensure that your horse is comfortable and ready for your session.
- Bring with you at the shooting place the last minute touch ups. That include fly spray, show sheen, hoof black, grease on the face, final mane and tail brush out, body wiped down with a towel. They might be needed.
- Bring there an assistant that usually works with your horse. When your horse is ready to be presented for the photographer he/she will help to get the horse properly positioned and to help with getting the horse’s ears up. Many photographers will carry props to help with this, but a few things that are good to have on hand are mirrors and squeaky toys. The key is not to show any of these to the horse until everyone is in place and ready! Be patient and trust the photographer to see and capture that special moment through the lens.
- Action photo shoots need larger spaces. For free action shots position you and your assistant on either side of the photographer to keep the horse moving in a controlled area. Whips with plastic bags attached and cans with pebbles in them will help get the horse more animated.
- Don’t forget about preparing yourself. Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure because the camera lens sees everything! Avoid spray tans, unless you’re confident that it will give you an even tan. If you want a new haircut/color, schedule it for 10+ days before the shoot. Hiring a professional hair stylist and makeup artist is strongly recommended. Professionals know exactly how to highlight and contour your features and know what looks best on camera. If you do your makeup yourself, use a bit more foundation than normal and blend well.
- You don’t need to buy all new clothes; you can go shopping in your own closet! Collect some bright pieces, some neutral pieces, lots of layers, and lots of accessories. Avoid stripes and big printing on your shirt. Wear something that reflects your personal style, personality, and compliments your horse’s coat color. The most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident in your clothing. Don’t forget a small detail. Your outfits should be laid out and ironed the night before you shoot.
By following some of these simple steps to prepare yourself for your horses’ photo session you will ensure that you will have photos that will preserve your memories of your favorite equine friends.
Still, have a question? Please drop me a line.