Posing for your Ridden Photoshoot

You may think that posing for your Ridden Photoshoot is the same as a non-ridden shoot. However, this is not the case, more on non-ridden shoots next week but for now I’ll explain some hints and tips to get some cracking pictures.

I’ve taken a lot of ridden pictures. Over the past years I’ve snapped polo riders, racehorses, dressage riders and everything in between. Despite this being huge range of disciplines there are a number common tips that stand out from all of them. Here I will do my best to explain.

Ridden Photoshoot: Turnout

Good turnout. This goes without saying in my mind but I am still surprised at the lack of cleanliness sometimes! Firstly, horse turnout, clean, well-groomed and trimmed. This means bridle paths freshly cut and feathers trimmed. Unless you have an au natural horse scruffy fetlocks can really let the look down. Equally bits of mane sticking up under a bridle will always look untidy. Hoof oil will never look out of place.

If you are lucky/un-lucky enough to own a grey then they may need a tail wash. All tails should be brushed through and trimmed. Equally ponies should be free from poo stains. I can use Photoshop but that’s not what it’s there for! Remember your pony club and BHS days, wipe the eyes and the muzzle. Nothing more distracting than eye boogies and a grubby nose.

Have a think about what tack or bit you want to use. Make sure the bit is also clean and sparkly. Plus, your saddlecloth, boots or bandages should complement each other. If you aren’t a matchy matchy fan then don’t do it. I personally love it, especially Equestrian Stockholm but it’s not for everyone. Clashing won’t look nice, think classic leather boots. White or black will also look smart and if in doubt go with a simple saddlecloth.

Ridden Photoshoot: You

Moving onto to you-think smart. Contrary to what people think loose clothes are not flattering, especially when riding. A puffy jacket can make you look like a hunch back. Consider this when planning your outfit. Fitted and flattering, colour coordinating, clashy just isn’t nice on the eyes. Boots should be clean, sparkling, especially if you have a nice brand that you may want to be sponsored by. Again, hats should be smart. If you have a show hat than the flesh straps do look the nicest in pictures. With all this said your outfit should reflect you and the style of the shoot. Unless you are at a show leave the show jacket at home. Noble Outfitters have some very smart spring outfits and you can’t beat an Equestrian Stockholm Saddlecloth! 

Kent based Photographer and Graphic Designer

Makeup, I don’t have any picture without my eyebrows pencilled on. Purely because I have low thyroid and so they are non-existent. Whenever I look back on non-pencilled pictures and my eyes get lost. Be yourself, if you don’t wear makeup then don’t wear it. I will say though it’s easy for eyes to get a bit lost so a bit of mascara won’t go amiss.

Ridden Photoshoot: Your Plan

So, your tack is clean and you can see yourself in your boots, what next? As I’ve mentioned in other post a ridden shoot should be relaxed. Natural and not overly posed. It’s your shoot so do what you want to. Walking isn’t the best pace to photograph so bear that in mind. Trotting is good, you will hear a lot of shutter clicks when you ride, this is because there’s a very set leg placement to give you the best images, see the images below for an example! Same horse but very different look. I’ll cull these when I work through the images post shoot. The canter is a lovely pace, especially if it is uphill. The main tip I can give is to keep the photographer in the loop. Let them know what you are doing.

Ridden Shoot

Kent Equine Photographer

If you have seen the shoot I did with Ellie McCarthy this is what worked so well. Ellie ended up with a lot of images because she let me know what she was doing. For example, ‘I’m going to do an extended trot across the diagonal’. This meant I could into position and get the best angle. She also worked near me and her line was just to the side of me, meaning I could get some fab action shots.

Equine Photography

Kent Equine Photographer

Now if you want a jumping session ensure the jumps are set up beforehand. Otherwise this will eat into your time. Try and use tidy jumps where possible and I wouldn’t advise trying anything new and spooky. Unless you want some entertaining pictures of course!

Ridden Photoshoot: Smile and make much of your horse

My second biggest tip is to make much of your horse. Cuddle them, pat them and show how much you enjoy riding them. Once stationary and safe, throwing your reins away and hugging their neck always creates a cute moment. You may want to do this a couple of times to get the perfect look. Stop and look at your photographer occasionally, it will pay dividends. Bear in mind you will want your horse’s ears forward, you not blinking and a grin on your face. Finally, smile! Smile a lot, you don’t want to look like you didn’t enjoy your shoot. If you are doing your ponies party trick then smile whilst they are doing it.

Ridden Photoshoot