Equine Session Photography - Session Preparation Guide
Congratulations on booking your Equine Photo Session! I'm so excited to meet you and your horse or horses soon. I hope you are similarly excited to get started, create beautiful photographs and stunning artwork for your home.
My number one priority is to ensure both your horse and yourself enjoy the photography experience. When we meet on the day of your session, we'll take a moment, have a chat, scout the location around your yard, go over our game plan and most importantly, let your horse get used to me and my camera. We'll then jump into the session, have fun with your horse and create a variety of beautiful images for you to choose from after your session.
Please feel free to join my private client Facebook group, in there you can ask any questions you might have and I will be posting useful guides and tips, as well as upcoming events and special offers.
To get the most from your photography experience, please have a look through my session preparation guide for tips on how how to prepare yourself and your horse. If you have any questions or concerns at the end of the preparation guide, please do get in touch! I'm always here to help and am more than happy to answer any additional questions.
Photographing horses, we know, takes time – like humans they have good and bad days, and it can take a little patience. Good preparation helps make a wonderful experience and allows us to capture amazing images for you to treasure for years to come.
The day before your shoot and on the day, make sure you allow plenty of time to prepare your horse. I recommend bathing your horse either the night before or on the morning of the shoot, just make sure they are completely dry in time for your session. Groom your horse as if you were going to a show, and have hoof oil ready for just before the session starts.
Most of the time, I suggest manes and tails to be left loose, clean, brushed and tidy; that being said, if you would like to have your horses mane plaited, go for it!
Any tack you'd like to use during your session should be as sparkling clean as your horse. Give your headcollar, lead rope, bridle (and bit), saddle, numnah's, boots and/or bandages a deep clean before your photo session!
I recommend using a black or brown leather headcollar or bridle in the photographs. If you don't have a leather headcollar, this might be the perfect reason for a new purchase. A nylon headcollar will work as well, but please choose a muted natural colour, rather than bright and neon colours. The same goes for the lead rope.
Exercise or rest
If your horse can be a little nervous or “full of beans”, I recommend lunging or riding him/her on the morning of the shoot. Just to take the edge off and let them settle down. Just make sure your horse has time to cool down before the session and you get a chance to clean them up again.
Keep your horse in his or her daily routine as much as possible. Although, I would recommend feeding them a smaller portion, if it's their feed time just before the session. They can have the rest of the meal afterwards. Let’s be honest, a horse who can be bribed with food makes a great model!
Arrange for a friend to help
Having a friend, family member or partner at the session is very helpful! They can carry a bag or bucket with wipes, treats, change of clothes, etc and they are invaluable to help getting your horses attention and get those ears to prick up. I'm sure you'll be able to find someone, just bribe them with chocolate or their favourite beverage!
Remember on the day, all you have to do is relax and have fun with your four-legged partner, and I will do the rest!
Preparing your Horse for the Session
Now that we've discussed how to prepare your horse for the upcoming photo session, let's have a look at preparing yourself! Have a look through my style guide and please let me know if you have any questions.
Wardrobe options and styles
Choosing your outfit for the session is the fun part! There are countless options, think of casual, smart-casual, country or if you like even full glam. See some examples below.
Most importantly, I always recommend wearing something you feel comfortable in, ideally stay away from baggy clothing, bright colours and busy pattern. Muted colours photograph really well, perhaps even colour coordinate with your horse.
Jumpers, Jeans, a floaty top or plain t-shirt or dress with country boots, trainers or any other fun pair of shoes.
Casual / Smart Look
Smart jumpers, fitted trousers, smart jeans, shirt with tall boots or smart ankle boots.
Tweed jacket, blouse or shirt, waistcoat, fitted trousers with smart tall boots. If you show or compete your horse, perhaps even your show outfit.
Scarfs, hats, necklace, bracelets or watches.
If you need any styling help, you might want to consider a colour and style analysis and consultation. Check out Rosee Elliott, who is a fantastic colour and style consultant with House of Colour.
Hair and Makeup
This one is more for the ladies. If you fancy the full pamper package, I'd be more than happy to arrange a hair and makeup artist for the day of your session (at an additional charge), or I can recommend some fantastic MUA's for you to get in touch with yourself.
You can of course also do your own hair and makeup! A couple of tips for long hair. If you would like to have your hair down in the photos, try not to tie it into a tight ponytail, as you'll end up with a big crease in your hair. Best to either have it either in a very loose ponytail or loosely plaited, or even better not tied up at all.
We all love to take advantage of any sunny days and head out to enjoy the sunshine at any opportunity. In the run-up to your photo session, make sure you are well protected from the UV rays, watch for tan lines and sunburn, as both don't photograph well.
Preparing yourself for the Session
As much as I don't want to be a party-pooper, I do have to mention a few safety caveats...
I have 30+ years of experience around horses and have worked with many different breeds, from competition fit international showjumpers and dressage horses to the most relaxed and unflappable cobs. But in the end, you know your horse, their character and temperament best, please be sure to let me know if at any point during your session something feels uncomfortable or you think it might be too much for your horse.
Hat or no hat
I personally recommend wearing a hat anytime you are riding your horse, but I understand that for the purpose of photographs, you might want to take it off.
If you would like to sit on your horse bareback, I am happy for you to do so, but please make sure you practise this in a safe environment first, especially if you are not wearing a hat.
Barefeet and open sandals
This is one safety aspect I will not compromise on! Please wear sensible and closed footwear around your horse at all times.
All of these safety considerations are your decision and at your own risk! I can not be held responsible for any accidents or injuries occurred during the session.
Your Session Check List
Things to remember for your horse
Clean headcollar and/or bridle
Clean saddle and numnah
Any other Accessories
Polo's or other non-staining treats
Towel or wipes and brushes
Things to remember for yourself
Outfit changes (if you wish)
Appropriate closed footwear
Water and perhaps a wee snack for longer shoots
Makeup bag for potential makeup top-ups
What happens after the Session?
Once we finish our session and I got my last cuddles from your horse, we'll say our good-byes and I will head home, where I will upload and back up all of your gorgeous photographs, to make sure they are all safe!
I then start the post-processing, in the first run I select my favourite images from your session and get rid of any duplicates, closed eyes and other unflattering moments. In the second run, I go through the selected images again and hand edit every single one of them to perfection.
Approx 10-14 days after your session, I will upload your images to my online viewing gallery (normally between 30-40 images). I then send you an exciting email with the link and your password, so that you can view your images for the very first time. At the same time, we also arrange your ordering appointment.
Your ordering appointment can take place in the comfort of your own home or another mutually agreed location. At your ordering appointment, I will show you my stunning product samples and you decide which sizes and styles you would like to purchase. I am happy to advise and give you my opinion on what would work well, but I promise - no hard sales!
Your order can be paid for by bank transfer, card or cash.
Approx 2 week after placing your product order, it'll be time for the big product reveal! After double-checking your printed products, I will hand-deliver these to you. All you have to do is hang them on the wall, sit back and enjoy your new artwork.
All products are handmade to the highest standards and produced by professional printing labs here in the UK.
Please feel free to download my Product Pricing Guide, by clicking on the PDF icon below.