Preparing for Your Session
What to Wear
Go shopping! You don’t need to buy all new clothes; you can go shopping in your own closet! Get together a mix of outfits to give yourself options. Collect some bright pieces, some neutral pieces, lots of layers, and lots of jewelry. Wear something that reflects your personal style, personality, and compliments your horse’s coat color. “Shop” through Pinterest and fashion blogs to get a sense of what types of outfits photograph well. Get three to six outfit variations prepared. If you’re having a hard time deciding which outfit to wear, talk to your photographer! The most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident in your clothing.
Don’t forget: Your outfits should be laid out and ironed the night before your shoot.
Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure because the camera lens sees everything! Avoid spray tans, unless you’re confident that it will give you an even tan. If you want a new hair cut/color, schedule it for 10+ days before the shoot. Hiring a professional hair and makeup artist is strongly recommended. Professionals know exactly how to highlight and contour your features and know what looks best on camera. If you do your makeup yourself, use a bit more foundation than normal and blend well.
Preparing Your Steed
Spend time thinking about the look you’re hoping to achieve with your session and prepare to make that a reality. If you’d love bareback loping pictures or posing with your horse bridleless, it’s a good idea to practice those things beforehand in the same location as the shoot. Practicing will help ensure that your horse is comfortable and ready for your session.
What to Wear
Deciding what tack your horse wears is completely personal preference – so long as it is clean and well-fitted. Simple leather halters and bridles always photograph well. If you are in show clothes, your horse should be in show tack. However, if you are casually dressed your horse can be in work tack or show apparel.
Get to the barn with plenty of time to spare and bring extra hands for help. Your photographer should bring an assistant to the shoot to help get your horse’s ears forward, but it’s always helpful to have more hands to keep you and your horse looking flawless. Prepare your horse like you would for a horse show (bathe, band/braid, and spot clean). Prepare a bucket of horse treats, fly spray, a tail brush, lip gloss, and hand towels.
Get your horse ready first
Lunge your horse down for a long while. Horses always get more energy when they are out in the field and in front of the camera lens! Once they are tired, start getting them ready, just like you would for a horse show with hoof polish, bands, shine spray, and face polish. Go easy on the face polish – and do not use black, or it will get all over your outfit. Once your horse is looking gorgeous, tie him up in his stall and get yourself ready. Do your hair and makeup, eat a snack, and put on your first outfit.
When the photographer arrives, just relax; laugh, smile, and let go. The most important part of a portrait session is to have fun. This is the time to kiss your pony, cuddle with your trusty steed, feel beautiful, and reflect on how much this horse means to you.