Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Last month I made the decision to retire my older gelding Kingston, and circumstances made it happen a little more quickly than I was anticipating. He’s happily hanging out in his new five-acre pasture with his new buddies, and I believe I made the right choice to let him retire at the right time. But I do have one regret: I wish I had more photos.
As an equine photographer, I should have tons of photos of him! And I do have a few that I love--Kingston was a pro at taking selfies, and looking back at those always makes me laugh. But I believe that every horse owner should have five types of photos to memorialize your time with each of your special equines:
1. The Everyday Candids
If you carry your smartphone around with you at the barn, chances are you’re doing pretty well on capturing cute candid shots. These are the staples of every horse-obsessed girl’s Instagram account. Your horse sticking out his tongue, your horse laying down, your horse mugging you for carrots, your horse doing any number of adorable things he or she does every single day… don’t stop taking these! You may have noticed that the newest iPhone operating system, iOS 13, has some changes in the photo editing options. For some tips on using the newest features to get the most out of your photos, check out this how-to video on YouTube.
2. The Selfie
Taking selfies with my animals are pretty much my favorite thing. Sometimes they turn out sweet, sometimes beautiful, and often, they’re hilarious. I have a few tips to improve your horse selfie game: First, hold your camera as far away as you can to get as much of your horse’s face in the frame as possible. Second, try using video mode instead of photo mode. Film yourself and your horse for about 15-20 seconds and then pull out a screenshot of the split second in which you both look good. And third, try the All Ears Selfie app, which has buttons play various horsey sounds proven to get horses ears to perk right up! It’s $2.99 you won’t regret spending.
3. The Sport Shot
THE sport shot is not just a picture of your horse performing, but a picture of you and your horse in which you’re both in perfect form and beautifully turned out. It’s the picture of an athlete pair doing what they do best. This shot that will be not only be your Facebook cover photo for months, but also will be the photo you show your grandchildren.
The absolutely perfect sport shot is the most elusive of all horse photos, but your best bet is at a horse show since you’ll be performing at your highest level in your best clothes. If there is a photographer, dress the part. Put care into your outfit and your horse’s turnout, so if that perfect-form-over-the-oxer photo is taken, you don’t turn it down because your hunt coat doesn’t fit or your horse looks scruffy. And make sure you stop by the official photographer’s booth or check her proof site online at every single show you attend. Every horse show photographer in the world has dozens of perfect photos that the rider didn’t even bother to look for! Don’t make this mistake. The admiration of your future grandchildren hangs in the balance.
4. The Portrait
Almost every sports team takes team photos. Not just action shots on the field or the court, but professional portraits of the team as well as each individual player. Many of us also book family portrait sessions at various times throughout our lives. Our horses are both teammates and family, so it’s doubly important to invest in high quality, professional portraits.
You have several options for horse portraits. Black background equine portraits, or, as I like to call them, glamour shots for horses, are a timeless option for capturing your horses at their best. If desired, I offer a chance for the rider to jump in for some shots during these sessions, with beautiful results. Another option is a horse and rider photo session that takes place in a natural setting around your farm. Your photographer will take a variety of shots, both mounted and unmounted, to capture the special relationship between you and your equine BFF. There are most likely many talented equine portrait photographers in your area—check Equivont’s listings to compare options!
5. The Special Moment
As an equine photographer, these are the shots I live for. As a horse owner, these are ALSO the shots I live for. You know you have a special moment photo if when you look at it you feel warm and fuzzy. When I shoot a portrait session, I’ll watch like a hawk for these moments. I’ll ask you to hug your horse, kiss his muzzle, maybe even put your forehead to his. And then I’ll look for that special moment when your horse interacts with you naturally, or the moment he closes his eyes in relaxation, or the moment when he makes you laugh.
Special moments also happen around the barn or at horse shows… again, make sure you check the photographer’s proofs! Some of my favorite special moments happen at the end of a round or test, when the rider thanks her horse and hugs her family, teammates, or coach.
There’s no time like the present to make sure your photo collection is complete. Time flies faster than we’d like when it comes to our special animal relationships. So keep your smartphone handy, and book a professional photo session today!