In the online space, photos are the store front of your equine brand.
The gorgeous horses and products are the first thing a customer sees when they arrive at your website or social media page.
Photography makes a big impact so it is important that the photos are done right so that they convey a clear, cohesive message to your clients that places you as a quality, professional brand.
So how do we manipulate the environmental variables (ahhh my bachelor of science has been useful for this one sentence!) to make sure your brand photos hit maximum value?
Let the location do the work
Getting great branding shots takes a lot of layers of preparation. If you start with a great foundation then that sets the stage for the rest of the shoot to yield great results.
A location that has a lot of opportunities for stunning photos of horses is a fantastic base layer. When you have a location that offers space, beauty & variation then all the other moving pieces of a branding shoot can unfold seamlessly (mostly - there are still horses involved lol)
For a location to be viable for an equine branding photoshoot, it needs to check some boxes.
NOTE: If this seems like too much for you to even read about let alone organise, skip to the section below where I lay out my comprehensive brand photoshoot service.
Ideal Location Checklist
- Clean Light
This is the biggest requirement for any photoshoot. The first thing I do at every shoot is scout for where the good light is. This is the biggest determinate of where I will pose subjects and how the final shot will look. A property with good light will have more opportunities to take good quality, well lit images.
- Lots of Space
Horses are big and website banners are also big! I need enough space to get wide shots without needing to crop distracting objects out of the shot.
Arena - Horse or rider gear that is targeting towards riders needs to be shot in a setting that is relatable to the product and the customer. A photo sends a message so you need to be clear with what you are conveying - a dressage horse in dressage gear standing next to jumping rails makes no sense.
Stable/barn - Those black background shots don’t just happen anywhere - if you want black backgrounds we need to source a long aisle barn that can be shut off at one end so that the light fades from light to dark.
- Flat fields
One of the first things I edit in post is the horizon line. Straight horizon lines give a very polished look to a photo and flat paddocks make this a lot easier. A crooked horizon line on a website is going to be very noticeable once it is framed by a computer or phone screen.
I like to eliminate as many distracting features from the background of my images as possible. Wire and baton fencing in photographs is a pet peeve of mine - I am a fan of post and rail or even tape and standards that can be edited out easily. The editing process can make you hate weird things… I have a list.
The bokeh (blurry background) behind my subjects is almost always from light filtering through trees. Not just any trees - big leafy light coloured trees. I’m a bit of a tree nerd... my favourites are birch, plane, oak, maple, gum & liquid amber.
Duh Bridie! Yes, yes a little obvious but I still need to state a few things. The horses we use for the shoots need to match the situation. For a horse trainer - are you training young horses? Well we need … you guessed it … young horses. Selling horse covers? A horse with a fantastic top-line is going to showcase that cover the best.
Did that list exhaust you just reading it?
The equine business owners I’ve worked with in the past often say that they are swamped with running their business and would rather not deal with organising a photoshoot & they want someone to take the reins for this creative section.
This is why I offer a comprehensive brand photoshoot service.
What is a comprehensive brand photoshoot?
After our initial consultation, where we dive deep into what your brand photos need to encompass, including your target audience & brand values, we create a plan together & then I organise a full photoshoot to bring our vision to life, including suitable horses, locations & models.
That's right - you leave the organisation to me! So what does this mean?
Product based businesses - you can be as involved with the process as you would like. You can come to the photoshoot - this is ideal as it is great to add headshots to the shot list, find out why here.
OR you can send your products for my team & I to capture it while you get on with important boss stuff.
Service based businesses - we kind of need you to be there since you’re the main attraction.
What areas of New Zealand do you take photos in?I live in the Bay of Plenty which, along with Waikato & Auckland areas are the most horse populated areas in New Zealand so I offer discounted travel rates for these areas.
Can I use my own or a friends property?
If the property checks all the boxes from the list above then it’s a viable option.
Read here for how to prepare your property for an equine portrait session.
Can we transport horses to a location?
Yes - this is always an option if the horse owners are happy to transport. It will mean prior arrangement & organisation with weather & safety precautions.
You may want a certain scenery in your brand photos
E.G. Mountains, beach, racecourse, arena.
Can we use two locations?
Yes! The great thing about equine brand photography is that it is flexible, locations can be chosen based on the requirements of your brand which may include 2 locations.