Noble Life

Preparing for Your Photography Session

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Back in June we ran an article by Kirstie Marie of Kirstie Marie Photography on how to Select an Equine Photographer. From finding a photographer, to finding the right photographer — Kirstie set us up with all the right answers to be asking ourselves and the photographer, when it comes to looking for someone to shoot you and your favorite equine friend. This time around, Kirstie is setting us up to prepare for the big day. Read below for every detail you’ll need:

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Preparing Yourself
• 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 you shoot.

• Primping
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 haircut/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

• Practice

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.

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• 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.

• Be early
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.

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• 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, Pepi 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.

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It happened for me in the third grade. A 33-year-old buckskin named Sunny stole my heart. Before then, I loved the idea of horses (you know… I had Breyers instead of Barbies), but it was Sunny who made me fall in love with a horse. His kind eye, his sweet disposition, the feeling of freedom on his bony swayed back, the safety of telling him my secrets in his stall. I’ve been riding my entire life, starting from when I was three and a half begging my mom to let me join my older sister’s lessons. In high school, I owned and showed my once-in-a-lifetime horse – my equine soul mate. I had to sell him when I went to college and that was the biggest heartbreak I’ve experienced. I started my photography business when I graduated from TCU in 2012 because I needed to give people something I didn’t have for myself: pictures that convey more than just the win, but the story behind that win. “When I say I want to photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them.” – Annie Leibovitz

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