Everything You Need To Know About Having A Fine Art Equine Photoshoot
You have seen the images of other horses, you have admired them and you have decided that you want the same thing for your precious horse. But it’s a daunting prospect, having a professional studio photoshoot done of your horse. There is a considerable investment of time, energy and money so I thought that I would write this post to help you understand what it’s involved in a fine art equine photoshoot and how it isn’t scary or worrisome at all!
A Fine Art Equine Photoshoot of Your Horse
Every horse is a superstar! From the hairy family pony to the super smart competition horse. Each and every horse deserves to have their portrait taken. Imagine having your horse as the star of a piece of wall art that you would be proud to hang in any room in your house.
But you might be wondering…what exactly does a fine art equine photoshoot entail? What’s involved? Will my horse cope? What can I expect?
The Set-Up of a Fine Art Equine Photoshoot
So, to start with. The set up.
Have you ever had your portrait taken at a photographer’s studio? If you have, then you would recognise that this is similar. Except that you don’t need to to anywhere because I bring all the equipment to you. This includes the lights, a variety of backdrops as well as things like leather headcollars and leather ropes just in case you would like to use them.
If you haven’t ever been to a photography studio, then it’s great fun to see your barn or stable transformed into an equine photography studio!
When I arrive, I will spend a bit of time getting to know you and your horse. We will sit down and talk about your hopes for what you want from the shoot. Then I will walk around your yard with you to see where is best to set up the studio. Ideally you would have a barn or an indoor school (luxury!) but it is totally possible to do it in a stable or even a field shelter.
As I mentioned, I bring a variety of different studio lights and, although having access to electricity is great, I don’t actually need it as I have lights that run off batteries so can therefore set up anywhere.
When I have found a suitable location, then I will take around 15 minutes to set up.
I hang the backdrop at the back of the barn or stable, or on the wall of the indoor school and then I place the lights depending on the space we have and the type of images you want. And yes, I even bring ladders and all sorts of helping bits and pieces so that I can ensure that I can get the backdrops in the best places possible.
Will My Horse Be Scared?
And the next question that most people ask is ‘will my horse be scared of the lights and the backdrop?’ I can honestly say that I have never had a horse who was too scared of the set up to be able to continue with the photoshoot. So please don’t worry! And anyway, we spend time with your horse allowing him to get used to the new environment to make sure that he is comfortable and happy with the situation. He can sniff and look and have as much time as he needs.
It’s so counter productive with horses to force them or push them in situations where they can get stressed. Particularly when they are being photographed. Stress in a horse is really obvious and, as you have invested time and money in this photoshoot, it’s absolutely worth giving each horse as much time as he needs to get comfortable.
Does This Work For Any Type of Horse?
I have worked with all sorts of horses. Old, young, stallions, mares and foals as well as top class competition horses. They all get the hang of the situation. Some faster than others but if we stay relaxed and not get ourselves stressed by time, then they relax too.
I work slowly and methodically. I am always watching the horses and seeing if I can see any discomfort or fear. I back off and stop as soon as I see anything that I think might be worrying them. Often, if a horse does get a bit nervous, the best thing to do is to take him away, out of the location itself, and after a few minutes bring him back in. This is a really handy trick to help him to relax. It’s amazing how often this helps!
The Studio Equipment
The flashlights that I use run off batteries and I chose them deliberately as I wanted to avoid as many cables as I could when photographing. I know that a skittish horse and an anxious owner, at the height of the stress, may not see cables and trip and hurt themselves.
Sometimes we can do extra fun things like have the horse loose in the area, or take his head collar or bridle off so that he is completely unattached. We can also even use a smoke machine.
Again, amazingly with all the noise and smoke that the machine produces, horses just get used to it. But I will never push the situation and if either the horse or the owner is nervous, then we just don’t do it. Nothing is worth putting either horse or owner in any kind of danger.
I hope that I have eased any potential concerns you may have about having a fine art equine photoshoot. It really isn’t as scary for you, or your horse, as you may think! And you will end with a stunning piece of art that you will be proud to have in your home, or office.
As a horse owner myself for many (many!) years, I genuinely understand the value of having images of our horses. They are such important members of our family and it is truly wonderful to have a unique and stylish photograph of them that will remain with you long after they are gone.
In my next post, I will explain a bit more what you can do to prepare your horse for his moment in the spotlight! In the meantime, have a look at my equine portfolio to help you get some more ideas.
If you are thinking of having a fine art equine photoshoot, then please do book a consultation call with me before you do. We can then go over all your questions, wishes and requirements. Although I am based in France, I am available to travel all over Europe including the UK. The photoshoots start from €250 per horse with travel in addition. But before you book your shoot, book a call here and we can discuss your thoughts and any requirements you may have. The calls are free and don’t commit you to anything.