StitzPics Equestrian Portraits, Round 2: How To Be A Good Model

A couple weeks ago, we had a super-fun shoot with Jess and Charlie, and got some great shots! I hope you enjoy this beautiful pair, and I also have some helpful tips for any of you who are thinking about doing a portrait session with your own equine partner.

how beautiful are these two?!
As the wife of a professional photographer, I get my picture taken a lot.

Modeling - my backup career in case this real estate thing doesn't work out

Whether he's testing out a new flash technique, checking out a new location for portrait shoots, or just has to grab some great natural light while it lasts, I end up being Michael's model pretty often. While I am in no way a "pro" model, I spend a lot of time in front of a camera, and have figured out what it takes from the model to get some really great photos.

Charles workin' it for the camera
The number-one "rule" of great portraits is for the subject to just relax. Seriously. RELAX! If you are tense, nervous, or uncomfortable in front of the camera, all of those feelings are going to show up in your photos. Work with a photographer you're comfortable with, and don't be afraid to laugh, smile naturally, and handle your horse as you normally would. Just be yourself, do your thing, and have fun, and you'll get some fantastic pictures out of the deal.

relaxed, happy, and GORGEOUS.

Posing for a friend is easy and fun! 
Choosing the right photographer also has a huge impact on your whole photo shoot experience. Pick someone whose work you really enjoy looking at, and who is at least familiar with horses, if not an equine-specific photographer. There's nothing worse than getting your finalized photos, and seeing that your horse is making a horrible, angry face in all of them because the photographer had no idea what type of expression to look for.

Both human and equine models have great expressions! 
Working with a photographer you feel comfortable with is also essential. If the photographer creeps you out, or you feel intimidated or nervous around them for any reason, you need to find someone else to work with. Try to meet with your photographer before the shoot to get to know each other a little bit and see if your personalities mesh well. A shoot is a lot more fun - and the pictures are a lot better - when photographer and subject get along.

feeling the love yet?!

Be clear about your expectations, and make sure what you want and what the photographer knows is possible are the same thing. If you have a really specific shot in mind, show your photographer an example and ask him or her if they can take that kind of photo. A lot of what is possible in photography depends greatly on the location and lighting, and sometimes the shot you have in mind just can't be done. Tell your photographer if you want more traditional, posed pictures, candid shots, or more 'artsy' photos. When everyone is on the same page, everyone usually ends up happy with the final result.

Black background shots are deceivingly easy to take but make sure your photographer knows how if this is what you want!

And finally, be patient and go with the flow. We all know horses are unpredictable, have short attention spans, and never seem to want to stand still when we want them to! Michael often says that working with animals is the most difficult thing he does, so work within your horse's comfort zone and attention span, and don't be afraid to alter the plan depending on your horse's mood.

Charlie needed a few breaks in between shots...

Working within Charlie's comfort zone yielded some amazing photos!

Check out StitzPics Photography for contact information, wedding, and portrait galleries!


  1. awesome photos - and thanks for the tips too!

  2. These are great tips! This is really timely as I'm including my horse in my engagement photos early next month :D

  3. Aw love these!! I love black background shots.

  4. Great, great advice! As a freelance photographer myself, I definitely agree- particularly when it comes to photographing horses! Expression is everything!

  5. I am very sad that you live so far.... and also very jealous of the great photos!


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