Standing in front of the camera can be scary. I’ve done it myself and let me be honest: I hated it. But just like you, I also want to have nice pictures of me and my loved ones. So how can it become a little bit easier?
My tip: the right preparation. When you feel ready and prepared for what is coming, it can take a lot of the stress away. Chances are big, that the results will even be better because you can get to enjoy the experience and one will see that in the pictures. Also, your horse will be easier to handle. Horses are like a mirror and when you are insecure and stressed, so will the horse be.
So - what to do? Follow the steps below in order to prepare your photo session with your horse and I promise you it will be much less overwhelming. Even more: the results will be much better!
Choose a concept or theme
Decide on the look and feel you want to achieve for your photoshoot. It could be anything from a particular style of clothing to a specific location or a color scheme. And of course, make sure to communicate this to your photographer, so he or she can prepare accordingly. You can even send example pictures! If you can’t decide, it can be a good idea to search for inspiration; for example in the portfolio of your photographer, on Instagram, or Pinterest.
Pick your outfits
Choose your outfits based on the theme you've selected. It's also a good idea to bring multiple options in case some outfits don't look as good in photos as you imagined. It is a good idea to check in with your photographer beforehand about what he or she says. These are my preferences:
- Choose natural colors since they create a great harmony with the horse and nature colors.
- Black is not a very pleasing color for a photo session, at least not in the style I am going for. It is challenging and swallows a lot of light. For most skin types, black is not pleasing and creates too much of a color block. If you are not comfortable wearing color, you can go for a grey option, which will already change a lot!
- Avoid bright colors (except if we have a unique plan for the picture), patterns, and brand names. Those will draw the attention away from the main objects, which should be you and your horse.
- Coordinate your accessories like shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup with your outfits.
- Make sure to have fixed all the little details, like old nail polish or wrinkles on the clothes, etc. But don't you worry about the pimple on your face or anything like that! Photoshop will take care of that.
- Most importantly: You need to feel comfortable in it! You will likely transport that feeling in the picture if you feel like a clown in a costume. Whatever you feel comfortable or pretty with is what we will go with!
Clean your tack
Do you have a beautiful headcollar or other equipment you want to have in the picture? This should be cleaned before. The best is, to get this kind of preparation done on the day before the photo shoot, so you don't need to stress about that when the appointment is there.
Scout the location
Most of the time, I am taking pictures right at the stable where the horse stands. Usually, there is always a corner that fits perfectly. If you already have an idea, of where that could be, you can send pictures to your photographer beforehand. This will save you time on the day of the shooting.
If you're shooting at another location, visit the site beforehand to get an idea of the lighting and any potential obstacles you may encounter during the shoot. If possible: also bring your horse there. It is excellent training for the actual shoot if your horse already knows the area.
Train your horse
Horse photographers usually use the same poses over and, because that’s how horses look the best. You can check out the typical poses and start training those with your horse. It actually is great training as well. Positioning the horse in a specific way and making it hold this position for some seconds takes a lot of communication between you and your horse.
Practice your poses
if you are going to be in the pictures as well, try the typical poses beforehand. That way your photographer will have much less to explain and your shoot will go smoothly like butter!
Communicate with your photographer
Ask all the questions, share your concerns, and inform him or her about any idea or wish you have. This is the key, to get the pictures you actually wish for! This counts before the shooting, but also meanwhile, of course!
Get an assistant
Standing in front of the camera, smiling, handling your horse and making it pose nicely, having all the necessary things by hand, and making sure that the horse's ears are pointing forward? That’s simply too much for one person. Find one or two friends, that can help you with the shooting. The more the merrier!
Get plenty of rest
Be sure to get enough sleep the night before your photoshoot, so you look and feel your best.
The final preparation
Make sure to come to the stable at a good time, so even if your horse has been sleeping in the biggest mudhole, you clean it up before your appointment. Your horse should be well fed before the session, so it is relaxed and not stressed.
A lot to think of, before your photo session. Download my checklist and make sure to be fully prepared for your next photoshoot with your horse!