When I arrive at your barn for your equine photo session, we will take some time to walk the property and find a location with minimal distractions. The ideal area should be clean and uncluttered featuring things you would like to have in the photograph as well. We will look for a subtle background of trees, foliage or a clean barn with minimal visual distractions.
Before taking photographs, I always spend a little time getting to know the horse. I let them sniff the camera and me. I allow them enough time to feel comfortable in my presence and to become familiar with my camera, so they are not spooked by it. Having patience is key for good equestrian photography.
Depending on your horse, you may need to lunge them down for a little while. Horses always get more energy when they are out in the field and in front of the camera lens!
Bath time for your horse.
Get your equine clean before the photo shoot. It’s good to give your horse a bath the day of your session. This will ensure a shiny, clean coat ready for photos! Also, make sure your horse will have plenty of time to dry before the start of your photo session, and of course, keep your horse from rolling in the dirt before the photo session. Keep a soft brush or rag on hand to quickly remove any dust before we start and to wipe their nose.
If your horse’s photo session is scheduled during feeding time, go ahead and feed a little bit before I arrive, otherwise, they may spend their entire time at the fence line trying to rush back to the barn for dinner. They tend to get jealous if everyone else is eating first.
In most cases I will have an assistant with me, but it’s always helpful to have an extra set of hands, so feel free to bring a friend along for some fun! A horse will perk his ears up all day long until a photographer is standing in front of him. We may need to get creative with plastic bags, noisy items or reflective mirrors. Plus, somebody has to get the horse running around the arena so I can capture those great action shots!
Light is crucial when it comes to any equine photo session.
I always plan shoots based on where the light is going to be at a specific location and how long the best light is going to last. I prefer evening light- that golden hour before sunset. The sun creates a blanket of light across the horse. Evening light is not intense and shadows are much softer.
Morning light is soft but I prefer the warm tones of evening light.
If I’m photographing your horse in his tack then please take a few moments to clean it before the photo session. It is very important because my portraits will incorporate close-up images and you will see the details of the tack. I recommend using a nice bridle or leather halter on your horse during the photo session.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that we want to have fun and not feel rushed. We want to all be relaxed and create a special memory for you to have for years to come. Within a few days after your session I will upload your proofs to an online web gallery for viewing.
Feel free to send me a message or call to discuss your particular horse photo needs.
Jody Miller is a professional photographer specializing in Horse Photography, Equine Photography, and Equestrian photography. Her work can be viewed online here in her gallery section, and she is also featured at Arts Prescott Gallery, in Arizona.