Holiday photos with an equestrian twist.
They really do make super cute holiday cards, or if you’re getting your kiddo, SO, or yourself a new equine friend, why not throw in a wreath session? What a sweet way to tell them! I also offer them for equine nonprofits.
Here are some quick tips to ensure you rock your holiday wreath photography session be it with me or on your own.
Tip 1: Desensitize, desensitize, desensitize.
Like everything with your horse, it’s best to desensitize them to having a noisy, poky, potentially edible thing wrapped around their neck. Bits and pieces will likely fall off and that’s okay. Make sure you pick up the fallen pieces and put them somewhere where the horse(s) won’t eat them.
Tip 2: Get show ready.
Groom and prep your horse as if you’re getting ready for a show. Braiding is optional (how cool would your photos look with red and green braids, though?). Put some baby oil on your horse’s muzzle and spray some Show Sheen for that glorious shine. Polish hooves. You can go a number of ways with headgear – bridles always look great; red, green, or leather halters really bring in the holiday feel; or, if you prefer a freer look, I have photo rope halters that are easy to edit out!
Tip 3: Enlist some help.
For me, photographing black backgrounds is a three-person job – the photographer, the horse handler, and the ‘happy ears’ sound maker/entertainer. Buy your sound-making assistant some lunch or margaritas afterwards, they’ll have earned it.
Tip 4: Declutter the background.
I prefer photographing in barn entryways to get a clean black background. Remove any distractions – muck buckets, spare halters, tractors, etc. are a pain to photoshop out. Sweep the aisleway so that there’s no hay or other smaller distractions around where the horse will be standing.
Tip 5: Pose the horse. Again. And again.
These sessions are a practice in patience. Your horse likely doesn’t understand why we’re making them stand square and making their heads move this way and that. Take breaks if needed and offer a treat every once in a while to let them know they’re doing a good job. Also, get your horse to practice some carrot stretches a few weeks before you plan to shoot.
Tip 6: Hire a professional.
Save yourself some work and hire a pro! Cell phones these days are awesome when it comes to picture quality, but they still don’t quite measure up to professional equipment. I have spent years learning how to pose horses to make them look their best. Through me, you have access to museum-quality prints. I can bring my big box-o-samples for you to get your hands on to feel how amazing they are. Plus, who doesn’t want a giant portrait of their favorite festive horse on their wall?