Oh, how I LOVE equestrian sessions! I asked a few weeks ago if anyone would like to know some tips for planning your equestrian session, and the response was over-whelming! I started providing the 'Equestrian Mini Sessions' last summer to groups of 4-5 equestrians who would like to have 30 minute sessions done with their favorite horses, and the outcome has been wonderful. The mini sessions allow me to work with a few clients, and you get to have photos done with your horse for just the right amount of time - before your pony gets a wee-bit too annoyed to stand pretty for us anymore.
So, let's get to it - here are my top 5 tips for preparing for your equestrian session.
You are definitely going to want to bring a little (or not-so-little) bad of treats with you! You definitely don't want to forget this. All those incredible photos of your horse nuzzling into you all cozy and lovable - yep, that person was holding a treat in their hand. You won't want to bring apples or carrots, though. Apples get your horses mouth super foamy, and carrots get them all orange. Bring those little horse-grain treats instead or peppermints. And maybe have a towel handy, just in case.
You're going to need to have an extra pair of hands handy. You'll need someone to hold that towel and bag of treats for you, of course. And you'll also need someone to hold onto your horse if you want to do a quick outfit change or if you need someone on your tack fixed. Think of it just as having a groom handy when you're heading into the ring at a horse show.
What to Wear
Of course, you always want to be comfortable when you're having photos done. Don't buy an outfit if you don't feel totally like yourself in it. I personally love flowy outfits - you don't want what you're wearing to be so tight that you can't move freely. Earthy tones go so well with horses! I love the inspiration about by French photographer, Greg Finck in the above photos. The link to his Instagram page is there if you click on the image. Be mindful of footwear - I will not photograph a person wearing flipflops! Yes, you want to be pretty in your photos - but you also want to be SAFE. Safety is always the number one priority. Blundstones are a great option.
Location is a huge component of photography! It's ideal for me to shoot somewhere with lots of space. It's super fun to explore different parts of the barn during your photoshoot, because lighting and composition varies so much depending on where you are and where the sun is at that time. For example, when I am doing the Restless Pines Farm sessions, we start by the paddocks, head to the trail behind the farm, and finish off in the riding ring. These three locations all offer completely different photos! You'll get so much more out of your album this way.
We also do not have to do your photos at the farm! Owl's Ridge Farm has hosted their mini sessions at the beach down the road and it was amazing. Their horses are used to going to the beach, so it was no surprise for them. If you've got incredible trails - let me know! Be open to areas around your farm that you like to go to. There's a farm in the valley with trails through the vineyards and a cliff-side overlooking Blomidon! Absolutely incredible. We have so many beautiful coastal views in Nova Scotia.
The time of day for photos is also incredibly important. The two best times are sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is probably the most impressive - but it can be hard to get up so early. If you're up for it though, I guarantee your photographer will be up for it as well! Light is incredible early in the morning. Seasons would be another thing to mention. Consider the season you'd like to have your photos taken. Summer can be difficult, as they are really busy for photographers. I can only fit one or two mini sessions into a summer season. Spring would be beautiful if you live somewhere with gorgeous spring blooms. Fall is so beautiful as well! Winter can be tricky - since horses have their winter coats - which brings me to a bonus point -
Your horse HAS to be properly groomed! Curry, curry, curry. You can even clip a few days before (not right before) as you would for a horse show. You'll want to bathe your horse before the photos, but make sure they have ample time to be dry. The sunset will really reflect off your horse if it's still wet from their bath.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog post, I hope you've enjoyed it! If you have any questions please reach out. And if you'd like to learn more about my Equestrian Mini Sessions, please send me a message. I'd love to come photograph you and your horse!