5 Tips For Taking Professional Pictures With Your Horse

Recently I was perusing the World Wide Web and found a professional portrait of a young woman and her paint horse…with a rather large and unsightly green spot on his neck. This really got me thinking about my own professional photos I have had taken with my horses and what advice I would pass on to others to get the most of your money. Think about it, you are probably paying at least a few hundred dollars for a session with professional equine photographer. Make sure that you are spending that money wisely and not having professional photos of your horse’s green spots or other blemishes that are easily fixable through the right preparation.

  1. Do Your Research: When hiring a photographer make sure you do your research and know what the photographer’s capabilities are. Ask to see samples from other sessions they have done. Capturing you and your horse in the best light is truly a talent and knowing how to pose you both to bring out that bond into the photos is an even greater talent. A good equine photographer should do both of these things for you.
  2. Location, Location, Location: Know where is a good place to take the photos. This can be dependent upon your goals for the photos and what the photographer feels is a good fit. Another thing to keep in mind is the time of day that will give the best light for the photos.
  3. Know Your Horse: If your horse is not good in certain situations like near busy roads, then save yourself the hassle and don’t plan your pictures to be taken around a busy road. Remember if he is relaxed, it will show in the pictures as well.
  4. Turn Your Horse Out: No not literally, but turn your horse out as in shine him up like you would for a show. Make sure he is first and foremost clean! Other good factors to consider are making sure he is freshly clipped and if the mane is shortened, banding his mane is ALWAYS a good idea. For long manes, make sure they are clean, and debris or tangle free. Make sure hooves are clean, look at the whole horse and ensure he is clean and picture perfect so you don’t have unfortunate pictures of green spots floating around.
  5. Look the part: Meaning, look the part yourself. Also keep in mind what are the point or goal of the pictures. Is it senior portraits? Engagement photos? Advertisement or promotional pictures? You will want to dress in a manner that is appropriate for the purpose and goals of the portraits. Also ensure all the tack you are using on your horse is clean and looks the part as well.

Perhaps my last piece of advice is one of reality. Light colored horses get dirty even in the seemingly cleanest of scenarios. Talk to your photographer about their capabilities of editing those unsightly areas. However, don’t forget to look at the big picture. Keep in mind those small things that the camera will save forever, like a dirty horse.

-Emily Bomgardner