We know lots of you love having photoshoots with your horse, but if you’re new to the game and decide to go for a shoot, we’ve got some great ideas for making sure you and your horse get the most out of your day in front of the camera.

Horse photographer Cotswolds Jo Hansford

We’d say the most important thing is to talk your ideas through with your photographer. We love it when our clients pick up the phone or email us with ideas, because we love personalising our sessions!

If you do make the leap and book a shoot, here are our top tips:

1. Preparation is everything!

Planning ahead is great where shoots are concerned. What time of year would you like your shoot – do you like moody winter shots or prefer summery sunny images? Do you want the main focus of your shoot to be to capture your connection with your horse, or to focus more just on your horse, for instance by photographing him at liberty in his field or in a studio style setting? Talk your ideas through with your photographer when you’re booking the shoot, it allows us to make it more personal and tailored to you and your style.

Once you’ve arranged the date, you can focus in on the details like clothing and location.

Horse photographer Cotswolds Jo Hansford

2. Plan your clothing and tack for your horse

Clothing and wardrobe have a huge impact on your photographs! As well as adding variety and style to your shots, they can also be distracting and unflattering if not planned well. Once a shoot is booked with us, we send our clients our information sheet of suggestions and tips regarding clothing for you, and tack for your horse. Essentially, we want you to look and feel yourself, and we usually recommend 1-3 outfit changes on a shoot, to create a mix of smart and casual wear depending on the shots planned. Likewise, we will give you our tips on tack for your horse, as preparing him or her to look his best is also important – we suggest a bath on the shoot day, a good grooming, and ideally a leather headcollar, combined with clean bridle, for his tack.

Again, talk this through with your photographer beforehand. On many of our shoots, our clients have a selection of clothing ready, and once on location we pin down the final outfits to be used as different ‘sets’.

Horse photographer Cotswolds Jo Hansford

3. Plan your location

Just like clothing, location and background are important elements in making your shoot work well and getting the best out of your photos. Many yards will have many lovely areas which will work as backdrops, or perhaps nearby, which will be enough for a photoshoot. Again, we would suggest you talk through your ideas and vision for your photos with your photographer – if needed, another location can be found ahead of the shoot. As well as your yard or stable setting, it may be that there is a local beauty spot or a hacking route which you love and is very pretty, near your stables, to offer variety in the background.

Horse photographer Cotswolds Jo Hansford

4. Spruce up & feel great

You want to be feeling your sparkly best on your shoot day! Many of our clients book a hairdresser and makeup artist for their shoot, if you’ve booked a shoot with us and need help with finding someone in your area we can usually help.  On the day of the shoot, allow yourself plenty of time to get ready so you’re not rushing. Likewise, you need to allow ample time to get your horse/s ready for the shoot – time to exercise or lunge him or her in the morning if needed, then bath and clean him.

Horse photographer Cotswolds Jo Hansford

5. On the shoot day – relax and enjoy!

Above all else, this should be quality time for you and your best friend, something to cherish and enjoy! The more you relax and enjoy  the photoshoot, the more your horse or pony will do the same – horses are so sensitive as you will all know, they pick up on our body language and mood and will react to that! With our shoots, we like to keep them relaxed and fun, take our time and enjoy the experience with you. Horses aren’t always the simplest models and we’ve worked with some tricky, highly strung personalities in the last 5 years, but we’re practiced at being flexible and adaptable to work with what a horse will or won’t do.

Horse photographer Cotswolds Jo Hansford

And one final bonus point – its always worth asking a good friend or relative to come along and help out! An extra set of hands can be so helpful on a shoot – someone to hold your horse, to keep an eye on ears, keep him attentive, and just help out!

If any of you are looking for a session summer or autumn 2018, there is more information on our fees here, or you can drop us a line for a quote and to talk about dates here – we’d love to hear from you!

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