You’ve booked a photo session with your horse and now you’re wondering what to expect? How to prepare? Kim Beaudoin, founder and photographer at KTB Creative Group, has participated in many photo sessions with horses and riders across the United States. She offers a few suggestions to ensure your session runs smoothly and you get the photos you want!

1. Communicate your expectations. If you have a vision for the types of images you want, tell your photographer! Sharing sample images, discussing poses, and explaining what you want in a final product can help your photographer plan the session. Photographers have detailed knowledge about lighting, weather, etc. and once they understand your goal they can better tailor your session to make your photos happen!

Kim explained, “Be prepared for me to come at you with lots of angles. I spend a lot of my time on the ground getting a variety of shots, but if there’s something that you don’t like, tell me! If there’s a feature about yourself or your horses that you’re uncomfortable with, we don’t have to highlight that in the photos. I don’t use photoshop, and only do light editing, so it’s important to be as honest with me as possible. I think you’re all beautiful, but we all have things we don’t love about ourselves and I would hate for that to ruin your experience.”

2. Choose your outfits before the session. Don’t wait until the morning of the session to decide what you or your horse will wear. Bring a few changes of outfits for yourself and your horse. This creates a variety and depth to your photo collection.

Consider these questions as well before choosing your outfits:

  • Does it suit the weather? It’s very clear in photos when a person is freezing or sweating, and it’s hard to have fun when you’re miserable.
  • Can you move comfortably and safely? Tottering around a muddy field in 4-inch heels with a horse can be unsafe and lead to uncomfortable-looking photos. If you want to wear certain shoes, consider locations where you can wear them safely. If you plan to hop on your horse for a few shots, be sure you can move around enough to mount and dismount comfortably.
  • If you choose to wear a costume or clothing that your horse may not be accustomed to (such as a dress with a train) or will be using props, consider spending some time getting your horse used to the clothing before your session.

3. Get ready to show your daily routine. “My favorite part of the photo process is this part. After your portraits are done, I spend another chunk of time watching you do what you do every day. The portraits are wonderful, but these are usually where I get my favorite shots. Don’t worry about me, I’m a fly on the wall. Just do what you normally do with your horse and show them extra love,” Kim shared.

4. Timing is key. If you want a pleasant horse, avoid taking photos during feeding time if your horse gets grumpy when his meal is delayed. Timing is also important if you want specific lighting such as golden hour shots or a sunrise/sunset.

5. Get grooming! Preparing your horse for a photo shoot is the same as preparing for a show. Be ready to bathe and tidy the evening before and the day of your photos. Give yourself an extra thirty minutes before your session to prepare your horse and focus on the details like removing eye boogers, giving a last-minute spritz of show sheen, and polishing hooves.

6. Bring a helper. Having a second set of hands around for your session can save you a lot of headaches. Your helper can give an overly excited horse a quick lunge to get out extra energy while you get dressed and prepare for your session. They can also help get your horse’s attention during photos. Everyone loves to see happy forward ears in the final images!

7. Stay present during the session. While you may be thrilled to finally have professional photos done, your horse may not be as excited. Monitor your horse’s mood throughout the session, and know when to switch things up if he isn’t interested in participating in a certain pose or location. Bring treats to reward your horse for his patience.

8. Have fun! Try to remember that this is supposed to be a fun event. “Come prepared to do things that may seem kind of silly. My goal is for photos to come out as natural as possible. But from time to time, facial expressions and movements may need to be over-exaggerated,” Kim explained. “Come with an open mind, and I will make sure that you have a wonderful, laid-back experience creating memories that will last a lifetime!”

If you are interested in booking a spring or summer 2022 photoshoot with Kim, please email [email protected] for more information on rates and availability.