Are you thinking of booking a photographer to capture the bond between yourself and your horse or pony? Or maybe the special relationship your child has with their pony?
In this blog, I walk you through the process of a photo session with your horse, and answer any questions you may have about what’s involved. And hopefully leave you really excited about getting some professional photos taken of you and your horse!
This is probably the first aspect to consider in booking a pony session. Will it be at your home, at a riding stable or are you happy to travel? The open moors are a gorgeous backdrop for horse or pony sessions for instance. It may very well depend on the age of the rider too and the temperament of the horse. As the horse owner you will have a very good idea of what would work best.
A great location would typically have two or three options in terms of where we could take the horse to be photographed to create a gallery full of variety. Ideally, I would be looking for a couple of options that may include: the barn/yard, fields (preferably with long grass) and an area of open woodland or tree-lined field. Useful ‘props’ such as log piles, gates, walls, stable yard, old chairs/benches/tractors/trailers are all great to have within easy access.
Preparation is key to the final look of your photographs; I can’t stress this enough! Prepare your horse and know what time of day would be best to book your session - usually early morning or before sunset works best for photography. Wash your horse or pony until they are sparkling, especially if they are white! I would generally not recommend platted as natural looks much nicer in horse portraits, unless you specifically want this look. Have a black or brown leather bridal, head collar and lead ropes available – a bright purple rope is really going to be distracting your portrait! And if you wish for the saddle to be include in the pictures, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s also clean and polished.
I will walk you through clothing before the day of your session. I would recommend having a couple of outfits ready. One outfit could perhaps be your riding gear or a more casual riding look with boots, and another more relaxed outfit in a colour similar to your horse/pony. For example, for little girls with a white pony, a white lacey dress looks gorgeous, or for brown ponies, more creams/beiges would look great. For boys, a pair of smart/casual trousers or shorts with a shirt and casual waistcoat and leather shoes or wellies. Accessories look amazing too, such as hats, scarves and gloves.
I understand that this may be your first photo session, so I make sure that you know the plan on the day and I will talk you through the plan for every location and give you lots of directing so you know what both you and the horse should be doing. It’s always good to have a few nuts handy to encourage a stubborn horse or to tell them they are doing a great job! But most importantly, enjoy this moment where you and your horse can spent some downtime together.
This is a big one! As the horse owner you are in control of the shoot at all times. The majority of the photo session will take place with the rider on the ground, with a big emphasis placed on the bond between horse and rider. But most people do want those precious riding photos. This is entirely your decision, I will not ask you to do anything you are not comfortable with. Bareback riding does lend a lovely natural feel to photographs, however, if your horse is not used to being ridden bareback, I would recommend having the saddle ready. With young children, mum or dad are always within arm’s reach and can hold the lead rope (which can easily be removed during editing).
The featured shoot in this blog was taken at Cadover Bridge on Dartmoor. The evening light at this location is just incredible. The journey for this family was not a problem as their pony, Frosty, was used to traveling for shows. Only two of the daughters were riders, so we started the session with some photographs of all the girls together and separately to include a sibling photo session as well as a pony session. We all had a lovely time, and I think everyone including Frosty enjoyed the little adventure!
If you have any questions I may not have covered or you would like to book your own pony session, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!