Now that hairs are flying everywhere and your horse is about to look his shiniest and glossiest best, here are 10 tips to get the best results out of a professional photo shoot with your four-legged supermodel:
- Obviously you know all about brushing, washing, a shampoo that suits his coat colour, mane-and-tail detangler, etc. It's like going to a show. Just be prepared for some last minute adjustments. A damp (but not wet) flannel or towel will usually do the trick, removing those sudden specks of dust, dribble and dirt.
- Keepers. Of course, you're applying the same to the tack you want to use to portray your horse in. Small, but important, detail: make sure all the keepers are done up.
- Actually... what tack do you want to use, if any? That pink and silver head collar may be very fashionable, but it will detract the attention from your horse and his character? And will you still like pink and silver in a few years' time?
- What background would you like? It seems such a simple question, but it is a very important one for the overall mood and story of the portrait. Do you prefer a neutral or a dramatic black background? Or perhaps a soft and natural scene? Perhaps you'd like to include your beautiful surroundings. Or maybe a dramatic sky.
Even if you'd like your photographer to help you decide, you might want to think ahead about where in your house you would like the portrait, so that you can both make sure it truly fits into your home.
- When you have a good location in mind, it is very useful to make sure the horse is used to it and happy to be there. All horses are different, also during photo shoots, but whites of the eyes showing is generally not a good look (apart from those horses who have a white rim even when they're asleep).
- Trying to make a Thoroughbred stand still on grass? Might take a bit of training. Trying to make any pony keep his head up and look intelligent on grass? Good luck!
Want to pose a grey on grass in strong (sun)light? Be prepared for some lovely black-and-white images, because in colour your horse will have some alien green reflections on his coat.
- Quite often, the weather and time of day can have quite an impact on the outcome of your images and their mood. Your photographer will be able to advise you, but be prepared to be flexible.
- Patience, patience, patience.
Did I mention patience?
Generally, there are two types of horses: those who are more than happy to stand still, but look half asleep, and those who look impressive and intelligent all the time, but hate standing still whilst doing so.
- Clicking, rattling feed scoops, scary umbrellas, helpful passers-by, etc. Whatever works for one horse, most likely doesn't work for another. As a general rule, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. And if it does work, it probably won't work for long.
- Last, but not least, is safety. For your horse, yourself and your photographer. Even though your photographer will be insured for injuries, vet's fees and equipment, obviously it's always preferable to avoid situations that are too risky.
And, last not but least, I hope you will both have a wonderful time during the shoot and that you will be very proud when you have the final image of your loved one being the most eye catching piece of art in your home !