With the new website, we took the decision to make a fresh start with the blog page. We're hoping to develop the content to help with information relating to our photoshoots, as well as a few stories on the way. This is the first entry and provides a bit of background to our approach leading up to and including the photoshoot.
Unlike other forms of candid or casual type equine photography, we often find ourselves having to capture the horse in quite specific poses. This can sometimes be at the request of the client, or for what we know is the good of the composition and artistic needs.
Getting the pose right as well as considering composition and lighting needs does present a challenge and means that we need a pragmatic approach to our photoshoots. In most cases, this type of photoshoot is something that neither the horse or their owner will have experienced. So before we can bring all the technical elements to bear, we focus on having a relaxed environment so that both the horse and owner settle down and understand what we need to make the shoot a successful one.
Yes, it does include the horse too. They do generally settle down once they understand what we’re asking of them. During our shoots, we’re always keeping an eye on the horse for the point where the horse will pose without intervention and we can get some shots without a head collar. It’s not always possible, but we do have a good success rate with this.
The process starts with the lead-up to the shoot date, by making sure the client is well informed and comfortable with what is expected. The principle we work on is that we don’t want any nervous energy transferring to the horse, particularly from the owner.
Whilst we provide our dose of experience to the proceedings on the day, the owner/handler has their part to play too. We’ll always take time at the beginning of the shoot to explain how the process should work, in terms of positioning the horse, and what we’re trying to achieve with the lighting etc.
Getting the horse to strike a pose can be a challenge to start with. A dose patience is required while letting the horse settle down and get to know what we want from them. The odd treat can come in handy too! However, and not wanting to contradict, we’re not always looking to dictate exactly how the horse poses. Sometimes a bit of time is needed to see what the horse naturally gives us. This often helps with the final images too, as the general demeanour of the horse fits better with the way the owner remembers them.
Interestingly, once we’re past the initial introductions to the equipment and lighting, the majority of horses we’ve photographed have settled down pretty quickly. Maybe they like being ‘centre of attention’.
All in all, we find everyone has a great time … particularly the horses. When we’ve done a shoot at a previously used location the horses can be first on the scene wanting to get involved again. Or maybe they’re just interested in getting some treats!
The assumption that we work on is that we’ll be creating showpieces. All the elements have to come together. We have to make sure the composition works at a basic level, the detail has to be spot on if it’s going to end up on a big print, and importantly we have to achieve a level of artistic merit that ensures the client has an image that they want to put on their wall.
For us then, it’s a case of staying relaxed, patient and remembering that it’s quality over quantity that we’re after.