8 Mistakes to Avoid when Planning a Photo shoot with your Horse

When you are investing in a professional photography session for your horse, its important to take some time to prepare for the session so that both you and your horse enjoy the experience together and you end up with beautiful artwork that you absolutely adore.

All Michelle Wrighton Photography clients receive a fully comprehensive Welcome Guide that covers everything you need to know to ensure you get the most from your session. 

These are the some common mistakes you can easily avoid when planning your equine photoshoot.

1. Not exercising your horse.

A light lunge on the morning of your session will allow your horse to stretch his legs and burn off some energy which will make it easier for him stay calm for the photography session.

prepare your horse for for a photoshoot exercise-lunge

2. Not feeding your horse.

Giving your horse a small feed or at least a hay net earlier in the day will make him less inclined to want to graze during your session. This is particularly important if other horses nearby will be fed their dinner during your photoshoot.

8 Mistakes to avoid when planning a photoshoot with your horse

3. Completely changing the horses schedule on the day of the session.

Horses are creatures of habit, so if your horse is in a strict routine, try to stick to it as close as possible on the day.

photo of a chestnut horse prepared for a photoshoot

4. Trying something new for the first time with your horse at the photoshoot.

If you plan to wear a long dress or want canter bareback across the paddock for your photos, then you need to practice this before your session to make sure your horse is comfortable with the idea.

black horse and girl prepare for a photoshoot
girl in long flowing dress and horse photoshoot

5. Not washing your horse.

The camera picks up every little detail, so for the best results in your photos dust, mud, dirt and poo stains need to be removed and any white markings scrubbed clean for your photoshoot.  

Black and white photo of horse with water drops from hose

6. Not applying bug spray on your horse.

Flies, mozzies and midgies drive horses up the wall and make it uncomfortable for them to stand patiently while we take photos.  Keep it handy in case we need to -re-apply during the session.

We may not be able to get rid of the bugs and flies, but your horse will be happier if they aren’t bothering him.

two appaloosa horses and woman walking in backlit pasture

7. Leaving everything to the last minute.

Give yourself plenty of time in the time leading up to your horse photography session so that you can prepare yourself and your horse with minimal stress so you both enjoy your photography session. Allow some time for unexpected delays so that you are not rushing around getting your hair, makeup and clothes dirty at the last minute. 

photo of a chestnut horse prepared for a photoshoot

8. Hiring a photographer who dosn’t personally know & understand horses.

This is probably the biggest mistake you can make when planning a photography session with your horse. Horses are big animals, they are fast, they are reactive and things can go wrong in the blink of an eye even with experienced horse people.

It might seem like a photographers job is just to click a button, however creating quality photographs, guiding clients through the session and helping them feel comfortable in front of the camera takes considerable concentration from the photographer.

When a horse is added to the mix, the photographer also needs to be constantly aware of horse and human safety as well as be able to read the horse’s body language to know when to offer the horse a break.  

Add to that the photographer needs to know how to safely get the horse’s attention, how to desensitise your horse safely to equipment, why facial expression and ears are so important to us horse people, what poses are flattering (and very unflattering) for horses as well as the nuances between disciplines that make the difference been an amazing ridden photograph and a very ordinary (or very unflattering) one.

The photographer also needs to know what equipment, lenses and camera settings are suitable to use for horse photography so that you don’t end up with your beautiful horse looking ugly in your photographs, and from a legal point of view, the Public Liability insurance that many generalist photographers have will not necessarily cover you or them when horses are involved.

Dressage frieisan stallion trotting

A photography session with your horse is an investment not only in dollars but also in your time and your memories.  Hopefully this will help you avoid these 8 common mistakes so you can make the best of your equine photos shoot and end up with beautiful photo’s that you will treasure forever.

Would you love beautiful photographs of your horse so you can remember the special connection you share forever?

Book an obligation free phone call to discuss your ideas and find out how we can capture the special relationship you share with your horse in beautiful artwork that will last a lifetime.  

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