Left photo by Jessica Lian Photography. Right photo by Kirstie Marie Photography.……

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Taking pictures with your best friend is a must for all equestrians and cowgirls alike. They’re a great way to create a memory and a keepsake. Jessica from Jessica Lian Photography and Kirstie from Kirstie Marie Photography have shared their favorite tips for having a photoshoot with your horse!

Before the Shoot

First things first, work on desensitizing your horse to any props being used. For example, if you are riding in a long, flowing dress, try riding in it or something similar beforehand to ensure your horse will not spook. Kirstie recommends practicing your plan for the shoot beforehand, in the same location. If you plan to ride your horse bareback for the shoot, then ride him bareback in advance. This way you and your horse can be comfortable and ready for the shoot!

Consult with the photographer before the session. Jessica tells people, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, send outfit ideas, posing ideas, etc. Consulting and preparing before the session is so important and will give you less to worry about and make you feel way more comfortable.”

Also, be sure to plan your outfit in advance. Kirstie reminds her clients “Your outfits should be laid out and ironed the night before your shoot.”

Similar to outfits, your hair should be planned in advance. A new shoot maybe the motivation to get that new haircut you’ve been wanting, but make sure to “schedule (your hair cut/color)  for 10+ days before the shoot” Kirstie recommends.

Also, remember to “clean your tack! Even if you aren’t sure you’ll use it, clean it” advises Jessica.

Day of the Shoot

Always arrive early so that you have plenty of time to get ready without stressing.

“For makeup, hair, and clothing, I recommend doing 25-50% more than your normal day-to-day. You’ll be more comfortable, but feel yourself!” Jessica explains. Confidence is key to photoshoots!

“Bring a friend! They can hold horses while you change and make you feel more confident,” says Jessica. 

She reminds their owners to feed and work their horses before the session. “A worn-out, fed horse is a happy, easier to work with horse!”

After working your horse, make sure it is all groomed up to photograph its best self! Kirstie says, “You can put ‘makeup’ on your horse if you would like to define his/her facial features. Please go easy on the face polish (about half the amount you would use at a horse show.” She recommends avoiding black polish, as you will be covered in it when you go to kiss or hug them. 

Groom your horse for the type of shoot they are doing. “If you are wearing show clothes, your horse should be braided or banded. If you are wearing casual clothes, it is up to you!” explains Kirstie.

Do not change anything on the day of the shoot. Keep your horse and yourself comfortable by not changing any tack the day of the photoshoot. 

“Lastly, remember that horses have their own minds. Take a breath, relax and just enjoy the time at the shoot, even if it does not go according to plan,” reminds Kirstie. 

Any day spent with your best friend is a good day! Let the photographer capture the bond between you and your equine pal to always be able to look back on.