Taking photos of horses is an art form all to itself! I was chatting with a fellow photographer the other day who works only with human clients. They asked me what it was like taking photos of horses. I shared some of the extra things that have to be taken into consideration when photographing horses. As I talked, I realized just how many extra details and tricks go into photographing horses that won't even cross most people's minds! Sometimes you forget that things that come natural to you are foreign to other people!
I thought it would be fun to come on and share some of my tips for working with your horse both before and during the session so your horse photographs well.
BEFORE YOUR SESSION
Practice Ground Work
Ensure that you horse is respectful to you on the ground. Have them stand still while you move around their heads as well as away from them a few feet while still holding the lead rope. Practice having them stand still but moving their head one side to another or touching their nose to the ground. If you are comfortable and your horse is calm, practice squatting or sitting in front of or next to them.
Everyone ought to look their best for photos! Bathe and groom your horse the day before or morning of your session. Trim whiskers, ears, bridle path so that your horse looks ready.
Select and clean a beautiful leather bridle or halter for your horse to be photographed in. Make sure that both metal and leather parts are clean.
Have your wardrobe selected well ahead of time so there is not last minute rushing. Have everything clean and laid out the night before. Make sure things are steams or ironed, too! If possible, bring your outfit(s) to change into after last minute prep so they stay clean.
Make arrangements with a friend who is comfortable and familiar with your horse. You will be handling your horse directly, while and your friend will assist with getting their attention with sounds or props.
DAY OF YOUR SESSION
Arrive On Time
Having everything ready and prepared ahead of time allows the day of our session to run as smoothly as possible.
Get Your Horse Ready
You know your horse best, but I suggest that you lunge your horse ahead of time to get their energy out and are ready to pose. Just don’t work up a sweat!
Do a final groom before the session. I recommend using show sheen to accentuate that beautiful coat.
Everything will be great! Even if things aren’t going perfectly, we will still get beautiful images for you! Just be patient and the magic will happen!
Last but least are the all important ears! If those ears aren't forward, your horse tends to look a bit silly. Here's just a few tricks we'll use to get your horses attention and ears forward:
- Crinkly wrapper
- Grain bucket
- Whinny sounds from a phone app
- Broomstick with a sparkly pom pom on the end
- Throwing dirt the air behind me!
As you can see, there many small details that all add up to making your session run smoother and get great images of your horse! I can't express enough how important it is to work with a photographer who understands horse behavior and knows how to work with not only you, but your horse as well!