Preparing for the Photo Shoot

© Carien Schippers
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As a horse owner you know the value of using good photos to promote your farm and horses.

Seeking out a professional photographer is a decision that takes much planning and consideration.

  • 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, condition and growth spurts in your horses and your location will all be factors, as well as your advertising and farm promotion goals.
  • Find some photos in magazines that you like to give the photographer some idea of how you would like your horses photographed. Obviously you will need to be much more prepared for a session of conformation and action shots of your stallion and sale horses than if you want candid and casual mare and foal or pasture type photos.
  • You will need to scout some possible spots on your property that will make suitable backgrounds. Before the shoot mow an area and move 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 should be over the photographer’s back. If there is really no spot that you can find, then you may need to consider taking your horse somewhere more suitable.
  • Have your horse bathed, clipped and immaculately groomed before the photographer arrives. Pick out a nice halter and lead that won't distract from your horse. A simple leather halter is best.
  • 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
  • Last minute touch ups on your horse include fly spray, show sheen, hoof black, grease on the face, final mane and tail brush out, body wiped down with a towel.
  • When your horse is ready to be presented for the photographer you will need an assistant to help 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.
  • For free action shots position yourself 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.

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.