I have created a little step-by-step list (divided into three blog posts) to create the perfect photoshoot
• Go with neutral brown or black tack. I always prefer using my show halter or bridle. Use a simple bit (if possible) in the same color as the buckles of the bridle, and make sure that both the leather pieces and the bit is sparkling clean. Check that the bridle and bit are fitted correctly and isn’t tipping to one side. I prefer that the boys be pictured without a lead rope or reins. Luckily, they are well educated, so this is possible most of the time. Otherwise many photographers are skilled with photoshop and can edit these away.
• If your horse is energetic or the type that is a bit insecure in new environments, I suggest lunging it in the morning or have a lightly training session in the morning of the shoot. This can take the edge off a bit.
• Team up with one or two from the stable to help out during the shoot. It is always nice with some extra hands. Some horses love to pose for the camera whilst other will fidget. One person can help keeping the horse’s attention. We want the horse to look alert, happy and engaged. This shows the horse being confident and makes the image feel comfortable. I personally use rustling bags, horse (and animal) sounds on YouTube, knocking, food – whatever that catches their attention and ears forward.
• The last thing you want is to get your photos and see that the bridle is looking odd or the bit rings has twisted or that something in the background are catching the eye. If you have an extra set of eyes they will be able to see things that you can’t, and make adjustments to ensure that you and your horse look the sharpest.
• Pack a mini-grooming kit of flick brush, finishing brush, mane and tail brush, Oil it Well and towels. You are your horse’s glam squad. Finish off and add some volume to the tail during the location swaps. Wipe the bit, muzzle and eyes with the towel and add a bit of extra Oil it Well. This way your horse shines through the whole session. If you are getting your shoot taken during fly season, make sure to get generous with the fly spray and bring it along as well. This way your horse will be less irritated and more likely to stand still jurying the shoot.
• If you want pictures with a bridle, with a halter and without, make sure that there is not left any marking in the coat from the bridle and halter. Make sure to use the finishing or flick brush in the head to even out the markings.
• A photo shoot is not as daunting or as nerve wracking as they seem.
• Each horse has its own character and most of them are not professional equine models. They are ordinary, cheeky, naughty and love food. Sometimes the shoot can be extra tough if they decide not to cooperate. It might be a tree or area they get afraid of, they might get bored, try to eat the grass, bushes or branches. Most of the shoot will normally be about wiping slobber from their muzzle and reposition of the whole horse when they move out of position.
• Believe that the photographer can catch some lovely photos despite that. They are use to it and know how to deal with it. And be sure that there even might be some few bloopers that you fall in love with.
• The single best thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Your mood and level of comfortability will be evident in the photos. Nothing looks better that having a natural laugh or smile captured. The photographer will make sure that it is not a nerve wracking as you mind is telling you, and things will fast be natural and relaxed and fun!