Well, now the dust has settled, I wanted to talk to you about 10 things I learnt from my equestrian photoshoot with Sophie Callahan. Why? Because I learnt such a huge amount in quite a short space of time that I wanted to share. I think you might find it useful if you’re thinking of having a shoot, well, that’s the aim!
What I learned from my equestrian photoshoot
- Preparation is key, but don’t kill yourself over it. It was incredibly hot when Sophie came to do my shoot. I’d washed the horses twice that week and had put a huge amount of time into getting them, their tack and myself ready. I feel like this helped a lot… but I wasn’t ‘ready’. They’d rolled, I was hot and I was thinking I should wash them again. This wasn’t the case.
- You will forget you’re being photographed. To start with, I was very aware that Sophie had a camera and it was pointing at me, but then we were chatting and I was messing with the horses and I forgot about it. And the pics I love the most are ones where I have clearly forgotten what’s going on.
- Know what you want to wear… but listen to advice too. I knew what I wanted to wear – I’d ironed clothes – but it was so hot that I was getting worried about that. Sophie suggested the order that we would shoot and helped me with the styling before we started the shoot, so that helped a lot and allowed us to crack on when we were in the field.
- Be comfortable. I had a ‘trouser crisis’ in the morning. Not a real crisis, more a ‘what should I wear?’. The advice was to go for comfort. Yes, you want to be smart, but if you’re really uncomfortable you won’t feel happy and will spend most of the shoot pulling at your clothes.
- Editing helps. I love Sophie’s editing style – in my time with her I learnt a huge amount about her ideas on editing and I can see it in the images I have. I don’t think the editing has made the images seem artificial in any way, I think they’ve made them more realistic in some ways, I mean, surely that’s what editing should be about? To make images look better but more a best version of the real you?
- Black background shots are amazing… and very easy from a handler point of view! When Sophie suggested a black background shot, I was concerned because we don’t have a stable. ‘No worries, we’ll use the field shelter’ and that’s what we did. I know there’s a fair bit of ‘witchcraft’ involved on Sophie’s side (OK, editing), but from a handler point of view, I just did as directed and it took a few minutes, and the results are stunning! If you have an equestrian photoshoot and this is suggested, give it a spin!
- She has tricks. Worried about your horse’s ears and the direction of them? Don’t be. Want to know the best way to stand or where to put your hands? She’ll know and help you.
- It’s not about the camera. I’ve known this for a while, but I think in an age where phone cameras are nothing short of incredible, this is a really good point to make. You might have seen Sophie’s pic on her Instagram feed that I took at The Game Fair? It’s a great pic – I’m really pleased with it… but although I pressed the button (well, TWO buttons) and used the big camera, it was really Sophie who took the picture. She set it all up on the camera, looked at the background, light, edited it, etc etc. I know it’s not the camera that does the work. It’s like giving someone a computer and saying ‘taa dahhh, you’re a writer’. You’re not, You have a tool that is capable of allowing you to do this. It doesn’t mean you are it.
- It’s actually really fun. Even in the heat (did I mention it was SO hot?!). I had one of the best afternoons ever. It was fun and relaxed and the horses behaved. And I was confident in Sophie’s ability.
- Photographs of you are important. I have known this for a long time… and when I started getting braver on Instagram and showing my face on pictures, the engagement and response I got increased. Now, can you imagine if those pics were actually really good ones? And where else you could use these and what it would/could do for your business? Exciting, isn’t it? We’ll throw huge sums of money at websites, for example, but what about what goes on them? I put one of Sophie’s posts on my Instagram a few days – the first one I had put on… as I write this, it’s one of my best performing posts ever in impressions, best ever in likes, second best ever in engagement. All the rest have been up for weeks, if not months. I’m obviously hoping to beat these, but it’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?
So, there are my 10 things. If you have any questions, then do reach out to Sophie and ask, or drop me and email and I’ll do my best to help you. I’m so excited to use the images over the coming weeks and months, add them to my website and lots more besides… keep you eyes peeled!
And to find out more about Sophie, or equestrian photoshoots, have a look at her website here.