I am well aware that 90% of my clients see the shoots I post up on Facebook and think that the idea of somebody photographing them and their pony, whilst they have a peaceful cuddle and frolic through the buttercups together is a lovely idea. They book their shoots quite a long way in advance and think to themselves, ‘Great. That’s ages away. I’ll start my diet tomorrow and be super-model thin by then.’

And then the day before the shoot rolls around. You suddenly remember how much you hate having your photo take. You haven’t put thought and effort into choosing pretty outfits to wear, like you’d originally planned to do. The diet went out the window about half a day after it started. The weather is being typically British. You’re rocking an unintentional ombre hairstyle, because you haven’t had time to get your roots touched up. You arrive at the yard to find your horse trying out this seasons newest head-to-toe mud pack! And you think to yourself ‘Why the hell did I sign up for this?’

I totally get it. Because I know I’d be exactly the same. Best laid plans, and all that. Right?

But I want you to know that you are not the only one. And I want you to take a deep breath and stop worrying.

You know all of those other clients of mine, that you’ve been admiring on my Facebook page, for weeks leading up to your shoot… wishing you could look as put-together and relaxed as them?? Most of them had the exact same thoughts, fears and stresses as you’re having now. I know, you don’t believe me. But I promise you. Almost every single one of my clients tells me that they’ve been mega stressed and unprepared, leading up to their shoot.

And almost every single one wonders what they were worrying about, once we’re done!

The first thing you need to know is that I am one of the most laid back, unflappable people you will ever meet. Not just in my job… in everything. It’s just how I am. My Mum used to tell people that if I was any more laid back, I’d fall over. My school teachers found it unbelievable that I just never got stressed about exams. And my other half finds it infuriating that I never get stressed. While he worries about all the things that day-to-day life throws at us, I just wave it away and say ‘It’ll be ok’ and it drives him crazy.

Whatever happens, I just figure that we’ll deal with it. Stressing solves nothing, so I just don’t see the point. I realise I’m very lucky to be able to be this way and that not everyone can be quite so blasé about life.

So, with that in mind, here are a list of the things that almost every single one of my clients stress about and why you really don’t need to worry…

  • I don’t expect your horses to behave like robots. I expect them to fidget, move out of position, face the wrong direction, head-butt you, not want to cooperate… It is not a problem. At all!
  • Most horses will try to eat the grass. And the bushes. And the trees. And their reins… In fact, we’ll probably spend most of the shoot trying to keep them from snacking and wiping green slobber from their mouths.
  • Most horses don’t put their ears forward as much as you think they need to and often just flick them forward for a split second, the little teasers. Don’t worry; My shutter finger is lightening fast!😉
  • We do not need bright sunshine to get great images! I can not stress this enough as it’s something that most of clients stress about for days in advance. In fact, super bright light is really not preferable and can be very unflattering. A bit of cloud coverage is good and if it is really sunny, I’ll be looking to stand you in the shade. As long as it doesn’t rain, it’s all good! And if it rains, we rearrange. No drama.
  • If you don’t know what to wear, bring options! I am happy to go through your wardrobe choices, when I get there and advise you on what will look best on camera. I actually really like it when somebody brings quite a few options for me to choose from.
  • The shoot will not be as glamorous as it looks. Shhh, don’t tell anyone that, though! Whilst we can make the results look beautiful and glam, the shoot itself most likely won’t be. Getting on a horse in a dress is no elegant process, you will probably get slobber on your nicest top and those images where the owner is kissing their horse on the nose often result in getting head-butt. But it’s all fun and games and we just keep smiling.😉
  • Don’t panic about being completely ready to go by the time I get there. I am happy for you to titivate both yourself and your horse after I’ve arrived. It gives us a chance to chat, relax a little, for me to meet your horse, etc. Nobody is ever 100% ready to go as soon as I turn up. You’re not the only one.
  • You can re-do your hair and make-up mid shoot. I won’t think you’re vain and I’m not in any hurry. I would be re-doing my make-up every couple of minutes if I had a camera pointed at me, too.

Clients always comment that I have the patience of a saint, but I don’t necessarily think that’s true. (You should witness my road rage, or my lack of patience with dawdling shoppers in a supermarket!) I think I just really enjoy my job and most of all, I’m realistic.

I work with animals who have no idea what’s going on and are being asked to stand and pose for long periods of time. And I work with mostly ordinary, every day horse owners who’ve never been in front of a professional lens and usually avoid having their photograph taken. As far as I’m concerned, it’s my job, not yours, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and we get the shots we need.

So, if you have a shoot coming up and you’re one of my clients that is tearing your hair out and wondering why you got yourself into this uncomfortable situation in the first place, pleeeeeeease drop me a message! Tell me what you’re worrying about and we can talk about it. I promise you that you’ll feel better and I guarantee that, after your shoot, you tell me that you really needn’t have worried so much.

 

If you are one of my past clients and have been through all of these worries and stresses, I’d love for you to leave a comment, so that my new clients can see that I’m not making it all up!😉

Specialist equine portrait photographer, blogger & vlogger. Essex based, travelling throughout the UK.