It’s been seven years since we first met Natasha Baker who launched our new equine photography business for us at Whatley Manor in 2013, and six years since our sponsorship with her began. We have loved our fun, wonderful shoots at the farm in Uxbridge each year, the chance to get to know Natasha and the fabulous Team Baker, and create our own set of images to tell Natasha’s inspirational story with her horses.
This is a first of a series of blogs about Natasha, sharing many of our more popular images of Natasha and her horses which have featured in our feeds, and in various press and media. We’re also sharing some so far ‘unseen’ images, alongside some of the fun and behind the scenes from our shoots!
We’re kicking off with our two 2016 shoots with Natasha, with Cabral, AKA JP. 2016 was such an incredible year, both for us to get to know Natasha and her team better, and of course because Natasha & JP were on the GB Paralympic team for Rio, and came home bringing not just one or two, but 3 Gold medals for the team, to add to double Gold from London 2012.
I can still remember Nic driving us to Gatcombe to set up for the horse trials in September 2016, with me sat in the passenger seat, glued to my phone & trying to keep enough signal to watch as the results for one of Natasha’s tests came in, nervous and excited even though she was the other side of the world…….We felt so proud and excited each time we heard just how incredibly well team Baker were doing!
Spring 2016 photoshoot
I’m a girl who loves having a plan in place, and with each of our sessions, we’ve always put together a set of notes and ideas, and any requests from Natasha for specific shots she would like.
That said, if there is one thing I’ve learned from being an equine photographer, it’s the need to be flexible and adaptable when working with horses. We’re dealing with big, powerful, sensitive animals, and at Natasha’s yard, her horses are being trained to go to the top, so their safety, as well as Natasha’s and the teams, has always been important. Sometimes, we’ve had to dump the plan, and just think outside the box, and work with what the horse, or situation, will give us on the day. Alongside that, we love the great welcome we’ve always had from team Baker (cups of tea on tap :)); they’ve also always been open to ideas, and passionate in helping us get the best results we can!
Looking back on my shoot plans, it’s fascinating to compare my ‘shopping list’ with what we achieved on the day. For our spring shoot, we kicked off with some ridden shots with JP, before Natasha had hair and makeup with the amazing Sherrie Warwick. Sherrie has been a constant through all our sessions over the years, achieving some incredible ‘looks’ and always keeping Natasha looking positively glowing and glam!
Having the chance to get to know the personalities of each of Natasha’s amazing horses, and photograph them, has always been a great privilege, from JP to Freddie, Diva and now Lottie. I can still remember taking photographs in the barn, my back to JP, who proceeded to steal a packet of polos out of the back pocket of my jeans while I photographed another horse! Cheeky boy 🙂 !
We’ve also loved working with Natasha’s other four-legged friends, among them Pilgrim (Pilly), JP’s mini field companion, always notoriously cheeky and naughty. And Poppy, Natasha’s Skye terrier, who is a larger than life character! We’ve known Poppy for about 6 years now, and each time we arrive, we’re greeted with a riot of barking which lasts about an hour. Usually, by the time we’ve finished a shoot, the ice melts and we’re honoured to have Poppy licking our feet. Yes, you heard it right – apparently this is a true sign of her love and acceptance!
Impromptu fun and games setting up shots with Marc, Natasha’s fiancé and Phil, Natasha’s dad.
We loved the blend of natural, beautiful photographs our spring shoot captured, alongside a few more dramatic, dressy studio shots.
Autumn 2016 photoshoot
Our autumn 2016 session with Natasha felt sooooo important. Our Sponsored Rider had landed 3 Gold medals at Rio, we knew there would be lots of press attention, and I think I slept about 3 hours the night before that particular shoot! We packed a bottle of champagne in the car, I’m still not 100% sure if that really was intended to create a fun team shot, or if it was just an exit strategy for my nerves….
Natasha always swears that on this shoot, I made her wear her 5, very heavy Paralympic Gold medals around the yard for a whole hour, while we set about capturing our selection of images. I just told her no pain, no gain!
Alongside images with JP, we also captured some fresh images of Natasha sporting her autumn 2016 Pikeur collection.
Natasha and Ma and Pa Baker (below) with their amazing lorry, Daphne, supplied by Whittaker Coach Builders.
Thank you for reading our blog – if you’d like to follow our Natasha Baker series, our next blog is all about Natasha’s favourite images from these 2016 shoots, and in her own words, tells the story of her incredible journey and her bond with JP.
Watch this space!
Natasha’s sponsors featured in this shoot:
Natasha’s website: http://www.natasha-baker.com/
Sherrie Warwick hair and makeup: https://www.sherrie-warwick.co.uk/
Whittaker Coach Builders: http://whittakercoachbuilders.co.uk/natasha-baker-mbe-new-whittaker-horsebox/