Preparing For Your Equine Photoshoot
Most people are nervous about photoshoots which is fine and to be expected, so I want you to know that I aim to create the best images that you have have ever seen of you and your horse and to reflect the relationship you have with each other. All I need you to do is prepare a little and then on the day relax and enjoy spending time with your horse and to gaze lovingly at them and to keep smiling.
With that in mind I have pulled together all the advice I have for you with regard to preparing you and your horse for the big day. None of this is compulsory but will enable your and your horse to look your best and answer a lot of the questions I regularly get asked.
Please invite a friend to come along and assist with the shoot.
A spare pair of hands and eyes is always useful to have around.
1. If this is a private yard then please let the yard owner/manager know that you are having a photoshoot and that I will be arriving.
2. I will need directions to the location, information on where is best to park, where I am meeting you and any instructions regarding access to the property.
3. Think about nice locations we could use. Do you have a path/private road, woodland, stream, field of long grass, nice views? When I arrive the first thing I like to do is take a walk around and plan the route and where will be best to go, but obviously you are the expert and know where your horse is going to be the most relaxed.
4. I will also need to know if there is anywhere or anything that you do not wish or are not allowed to be photographed.
Preparing Your Horse - General
We need your horse looking its very best so ideally:
1. Keep the horse in its normal routine as much as possible. I'll always ask about their routine and try to fit photoshoots in at the best time of day for them.
2. Feed the horse at the normal time. A hungry horse is not a happy horse and may over-react to the idea of a treat bucket.
3. If you have a highly strung horse or a competition horse you might consider lunging or exercising the more before bathing and getting them ready, just to take the edge off and help them to feel relaxed.
4. We will always have plenty of time, so there is no rush and if your horse needs a break at any time then that is absolutely no problem.
5. If your horse lives out at night then bathe your horse in the morning a few hours before the shoot. Let them sleep outside at night as normal, do not change their routine as keeping them inside for the night can cause stress which is not helpful.
6. If your horse lives in a night or it is an early morning photoshoot then bathe the afternoon or evening before and make sure they wear a stable rug, so no lying down in any dirt and getting stains on their beautiful coats for the big day.
7. The horse needs to be 100% dry before we start the shoot as wet coats do not look good in images.
8. The horse should be well groomed with clean hooves with maybe some hoof oil added to really make them shine and sparkle.
9. Manes unplaited or plaited? Its a personal choice but I prefer manes to be un-plaited as I like the freedom and movement int he mane and allows the images to look more relaxed. But if you would prefer for the mane to be plaited that is also fine, especially if they are a competition horse as this will reflect more of their personality and the relationship they have with you.
10. Clipping - If you wish to have your horse clipped before a photoshoot, please have it done no closer than a week before as the clip lines can really show up and be distracting the shots. About7 or 8 days before is about perfect and allow the lines to soften a little.
11. Baby Oil or a soft brush can be used to create a little extra sheen on the horses in order to maker his coat 'pop' a little in the images.
Preparing Your Horse - Tack
1. Ideally have a leather head collar, either black or brown. This is preferable to a brightly coloured one so if you do not have one, see if you may be able to borrow one from a stable mate or pop it on the shopping list for a treat.
2. Same advice goes for the lead rope. Also a lunge line is sometimes useful to have to hand.
3. As with head collar, make sure your bridle is nice and clean.
4. Accessorise - If you have fancy headbands then maybe this is the time to get them out.
5. Try to avoid using a double bridle as this can be a lot of leather and distracting on the horse.
6. No boots on the horse unless of course you would feel safer with the horse wearing them, but again they can become distracting in the final image.
7. Please give the saddle and or Numnah a clean as well before the shoot as any marks will show.
What Should I Wear?
I always get asked about what clients should wear so I hope the following information helps.
Just remember to be comfortable in your own clothes, consider the weather, matching the outfit with the season and just have various options and possible accessories available.
Let me start with what NOT to wear:
1. Avoid Bright or Luminous Colours.
2. Avoid Big Logos.
3. Avoid Busy Patterns.
4. Avoid Mucking Out Gear.
5. Avoid Overly Dirty Boots although with a nice dress this can add a nice touch.
All of the above will be distracting in images and pull the eye away from what is important - You and your Horse.
I Would Suggest
Muted Colours and Soft Fabrics are a winner in all looks.
For Ladies: Loose Jumpers, Casual Denim Shirt, Trousers or Fitted or Casual Jeans, Slip On Shoes. Shoes can be matched to the colour of your top and to the colours at the location.
For Men: Nice Casual Shirt (that has been ironed), Plain T-Shirts and Fitted Jumpers, A Cap, Casual Jeans, Fitted Trousers.
For Ladies: As above but with an added Smart Coat and or Boots, Chino Trousers, Soft Fabric Polo Neck Top.
For Men: A Smart Shirt, Chinos or very Smart Jeans
3. Smart Equestrian
For Ladies: Tweed Jacket, White Shirt, Cowboy or Riding Boots, Smart Fitted Jeans, White Jumper, Black Trousers, Dress, Cardigan, Neck Scarf, Hat, Designer Clothes.
For Men: Tweed Jacket, White Shirt, Cowboy or Riding Boots, Smart Fitted Jeans, Professional Riding Outfits, Top Hat, Long Coat, Shiny Boots and Buckles.
4. Country Style
For Ladies and Men: Think tones and textures - Hat, Coat, Boots, Equestrian Long Boots, Relaxed Jeans, Casual Shirt, Bobble Hats, Country Living Style.
5. Accessories and Extras
For Ladies and Men: Props such as Books, Hay Bales, Dogs, Scarves, Hats, Belts.
Hair and Make Up
1. If you have long hair and wish to wear it down for the photoshoot then please do not tie it up in a pony tail beforehand as it will create a kink.
2. A loose plait will be ok as it will create waves not kinks.
3. Make up should be clean and minimal for the start of the shoot but can be added to later idf necessary.
4. Please make sure your nails are clean as some of the images will be close up and everything shows.
Here is a Pinterest Board to give you an idea of clothing but remember they need to be clothes that you would feel comfortable to wear.
Equine Photoshoot Checklist
Keep the Horse in routine
Feed as normal
Lunge or exercise before hand if necessary to take the edge off
Allow plenty of time when booking your appointment
Bathed the night before or early morning
Unplaited or Plaited?
Baby Oil / Soft Brush
Leather Headcollar - Black or Brown
Lead Rope - Black or Brown
Avoid Double Bridles
Accessories and Props
Hair and Make Up
Loose Hair - No Kink
Loosely Plaited as an option
Clean and Minimal Make Up
Glamorous Make Up at The End
Nice Clean Nails