Horse Portraits - Your Questions Answered
Getting professional portraits of your horse doesn't have to be a daunting experience. You may want photos taken of your stallion, a new foal, or a horse you have for sale. Or maybe you want beautiful images of your riding partner to hang in your home or post on social media. Whether for promotional or personal use, I don't know anyone who doesn't want gorgeous portraits of their horse!
Following are some frequently-asked questions to help ease your mind about the process.
What time of year is best for photos?
While your horse will be his most glorious when all slicked out with his short summer coat gleaming in the sun, I love photographing horses all year long. Winter photos can be incredibly beautiful and magical - especially if there is snow on the ground.
Since the photos are oftentimes used for promotional purposes, I recommend shooting stallion portraits in the summer and early fall when he has a short, shiny coat and the black skin around the eyes and muzzle naturally accentuate the horse's beauty. If the stallion is slicked out already, spring images offer cooler temperatures, and the stallion may have more bravado than on a hot summer's day.
Pregnant mares look amazing from 5 to 7 months of pregnancy - I prefer not to shoot pregnant mares at liberty in their final trimester in order to minimize stress to both the mare and her in-utero foal.
Mares with Foal at Side
Once the mare has had time to recuperate from foaling, portraits of a foal with its dam are some of the most precious!
I love photographing foals at 3 days of age, 3-4 weeks of age, and at 2 1/2 - 3 months of age - no matter what month they were foaled.
Geldings & Open Mares
Geldings and open mares photograph well all year long.
Does my horse need to be clipped prior to the session?
No, your horse does not need to be clipped for the photo session (however, if your horse has a bridle path, please have it freshly clipped). In fact, many of the horse portraits I take are of horses in their natural state - completely unclipped. I love that look and personally prefer an unclipped horse.
If you choose to body or face clip your horse prior to the photo shoot, I recommend doing it 2-3 weeks prior so the horse's coat has time to re-hydrate. This lends to the hair looking much better in photos than if clipped only days prior. Clipping ears and/or whiskers the morning of the shoot is fine.
What type of location is best for the photo session?
Not everyone has lush, picturesque pastures with a gorgeous mountain backdrop (but if you do - that would be a perfect location!). When choosing a location for the shoot, it is best if the background is uncluttered and free of vehicles, equipment and other distracting items. For liberty photos, select a medium-sized area with secure fencing. In-hand photos can be taken in a multitude of places but look best in front of trees, bushes, near flowers, or far away from any background objects.
Plan to have 2-3 people at the shoot to assist with the session. Horse savvy is preferred but not a necessity.
I’d like to get a photo with my horse, can I be in some of the photos?
Yes, of course! Your clothing choice should compliment your horse's coat color - solids and neutral colors tend to look best. Avoid white if possible. I love capturing beautiful images of you and your horse together!
I am interested in a professional video of my horse, is this something you offer?
Promotional videos are one of my most popular products. Click HERE to learn more about my video services and to view samples of my work.
Should I be concerned for the safety of my horse during a photo or video session?
Safety for you and your horse is paramount during the session - I take care to work quietly and safely around every horse to ensure a positive experience for all. As a horse person myself, I understand the importance of trust and communication when working with horses. I encourage the portrait session to be a time of play and enjoyment for the horse, allowing them to show off their natural beauty and talents!
What does a portrait or video session cost?
I offer several session options including photos only, video only, or both photos and video of your horse. Please inquire for pricing and additional information on my portrait fees and packages. Discounts available for farm shoots.
How far in advance do you schedule sessions?
Photography sessions are usually booked 3-6 weeks in advance, but I will always do my best to fit you in sooner if at all possible. Just let me know what you have in mind and I will be happy to check my calendar. If I have the date available, I require a retainer fee of 50% down to hold the space for you.
If you still have questions about a horse portrait session, let me know and I will be happy to assist you with additional information.
Award-winning portrait photographer Shannon Edney's photos have been featured on multiple magazine covers with photos published in print and digital advertisements around the world. Based out of Missoula, Montana, Shannon specializes in portrait photography showcasing people, dogs, and horses (all breeds, with a focus on the Arabian horse). Shannon is known for her ability to catch the perfect expression and capture her subjects in unique lighting, resulting in portraits rich in artistry that will be treasured for years to come.