Bug and his mom Kerstin win the award for “shiniest and most well-prepared for their black background portrait session”. Bug was SPOTLESS. This guy is hysterical – he has such a huge personality and is so dang sweet – it was so much fun making these portraits with him.
So while we’re on the topic of shininess and preparedness – let me share with you my top 6 (yes – 6 – I had more than 5) tips for black background portrait session prep! Trust me on this – if you spend the time beforehand to properly prepare yourself and your horse, not only will I be much happier (and who doesn’t want a happy photographer?!), your photos will be better and the entire experience will run more smoothly.
Make sure your horse is either turned out, worked, hand-walked or hand-grazed before our session. I know you’ve spent hours bathing and grooming your horse to absolute perfection, but finding a way to get out a little bit of energy before the photo shoot is a huge help. We’re going to ask him/her to stand perfectly still for a few minutes at a time – even I get fidgety after a few minutes! So a light lunge before your session or some turnout in a light sheet or rug are good options.
Speaking of grooming – do as much as possible as early as possible! You want your horse to be clean AND dry for your session – make sure you leave plenty of time for a nice leisurely air dry (perfect time for some hand grazing).
Feed a light meal or snack before our session. I realize this may result in a sloppy face covered in grain, but a damp towel should take care of that quickly enough. I mean – if you ask me to stand still for 15 minutes and I’m really hungry, it’s not gonna be pretty – assume the same for your horse.
Whiskers – to trim or not to trim? That is the question. And it’s totally up to you – I don’t personally trim my horse’s whiskers because he lives outside, but if this is something you’re comfortable with, go ahead and trim the day of the shoot.
Tack. Inspect your tack – it should be spotless, including the bit. Every little detail will show up in these photos, so if there’s gunk on your bit and your noseband is a little crooked, you will not be pleased with the finished product. I do my best to inspect each horse before I take their picture, and you should do the same.
And last but not least – use hoof grease or polish – clean, shiny hooves really make these images. It’s the little things – the little details – that really make these images special, and gorgeous shiny hooves go a long way in doing that.
That said – here are the photos from Bug’s session. He and his mom were such a pleasure to work with – I’m looking forward to more sessions with them in the future!