Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Equine Photoshoots

So way back before I even started blogging, one of the first blogs I read was She Moved to Texas.  And I remember clicking through all of her related articles one day, and stumbling upon this one, regarding tips for portraits with your horse.  I really liked this article and thought that if I ever started blogging one day, I'd like to do my own spin on it.

As you may have noticed from the photos on my blog, I love photos of myself and my horse.  I spent years lusting over images on google, and later pinterest, and always thought of what I would do if I got photos done of Mollie and myself.  A few years ago I got friendly with a girl who took absolutely fabulous photos as a hobby.  As a fellow horse back rider, her favorite subjects were horses, and lets just say Mollie and I were willing participants :)  Here are a few things I've learned along the way.

So serious
1. Select an EQUINE photographer: I cannot stress this point enough.  I'm not going to lie, I've seen some friends of mine post "professional photos" that they've had done that I wasn't overly impressed with.  Just because someone advertises themselves as a photographer doesn't mean they've worked with horses, or outdoors at all!  All three of the photographers that I have used happen to be equestrians themselves which I think helped tremendously.  They knew what I was looking for from a horse-y perspective and I really believe it played a part in how the photos turned out.

I like photos where my horse looks good
2. Think long and hard about your outfit choice(s): This is something that I learned a bit through trial and error.  It is SO important to go into a photo shoot with a clear idea of what kind of "look" you're going for.  Do you want formal photos?  Do you want to ride your horse for some of the photos?  Do you want to look more country, or classic equestrian?  All of these things are important in selecting your outfit.  Along the same lines, make sure that you feel confident and comfortable in the clothes.  There was nothing worse than picking an outfit that I thought would be cute, and then realizing it wasn't cute at all in the photos.  While I want my horse to look nice, I really want to look nice in the pictures too :)

Not my favorite outfit because the shirt was too billowy :(

3. Practice: This sounds kind of silly, but it isn't a bad idea to practice standing around with your horse.  Not only did my friend at Knoopdawg Photography take my photos, but I also "assisted" her on many other photo shoots and there was nothing worse than a horse and rider that were awkward on the ground.  If your horse can't stand on a patch of grass without dragging you all over it, that photo you wanted in the pretty field with your horses head in your arms probably won't work out.  Make sure your horse is comfortable with the various locations you plan on shooting in, and isn't a total tool when asked to stand still.

Not what we were going for Molls....
4. Communicate to your photographer: If there's a certain photo you have in mind, TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER.  Even better, bring in/show them inspiration photos ahead of time so you're both on the same page.  If you want candids, tell them.  If you want to look at the camera, do it.  If you want them to take the lead and have a really artsy shoot, be open to their ideas.  This is your shoot, and you should get what you want.

So art-c
5. Have a game plan: This is a really easy way to make or break a photo shoot.  If you show up at the barn with 16 different outfits, still haven't decided how you're going to "dress" your horse, and are already wearing a photo shoot outfit to get your horse ready... you're screwed.  Always have your outfits narrowed down, but make sure you have a big t-shirt or something barn appropriate to wear when getting your horse ready.  Decide ahead of time how you want your horse to look (whiskers trimmed and mane pulled?  braided?  au natural?) and take the appropriate steps to getting them ready.

Fuzzy winter horse is fuzzy

6. Have fun: Corny as all get out, but have fun when you're taking these photos and enjoy the moment.  It sounds cheesy but when I'm standing out there with Molls getting our photos done it really causes me to reminisce about everything we've been through together, and that's part of why our photos mean so much to me.

Sometimes candids are the best :)

Photo Credit goes out to Knoopdawg Photography (photos 4, 5, 6, and 7), Doug Foscale Equine Photography (photos 2 and 8), and Polar Square Designs (photo 3).


  1. I definitely regret some of my outfit choices for photoshoots.

  2. Great tips!! I'm spoiled with friends who have cameras and I always insist on solid ground manners, but I'd be a lot more nervous if I was actually paying for a photo session. :-)

  3. nice tips! one of these days i'll get something profesh done... til then it's just friends and cell phone pics!

  4. It's so important to try to be as relaxed as possible and just be yourself!

  5. I never do Brantley justice in our photos. Ever... I did my first photo shoot alone with my friend from Dowaliby Photography and it was stressful only because I'm just not confident in myself. It worked out though because he really likes to do eyes and attitude. I got that! I love all your pictures with you pony. These tips are great. Next shoot will be with the B-Man!

  6. Definitely takes practice to be relaxed in front of the camera!