Discipline/Lifestyle Session FAQs

Before reading through these frequently asked questions and my responses, I want you to take a moment to stop and think about your photo session. Every person is different in their vision for their session and as such their session can and will be unique to them. I encourage you to first strongly consider what you are hoping to achieve during your photo session and only after you know what you want, refer to the FAQs below for quick tips.




What type of outfit should I wear in my photo shoot?

My first suggestion is always to wear what you feel looks good. Confidence is your best seller in photographs regardless of if they are competitive and discipline specific or classy and dressy attire. Then consider your color coordination scheme (see photo’s below).

What colors should I wear to best complement my horse?

How many outfit changes should I prepare for my photo shoot?

I generally suggest 2-3 outfit changes per session. In general, a session will last approximately 3-5 hours, you may be able to comfortably fit in 4 outfit changes if you are quick but keep in mind the more outfit changes you have, the less time we have to shoot photo’s with each outfit.

Should I have my makeup professionally done?

Again, this is dependent upon your overall goal of this photo session but generally I tell my clients that these photo’s are an investment of your time and money and will serve as memories for years to come and possibly promotional materials for your business/barn/career/etc. So yes, I suggest having someone professionally do your make up if you, yourself are not a make-up connoisseur.

How should I wear my hair and should I have it professionally done?

I suggest taking into consideration your overall goal of the photo shoot once again. First and foremost, consider if you will have a hat or helmet on during the shoot. Next, determine if you are wanting to stick with the discipline “norm” or if you want to swap it up. Again, confidence is your greatest friend so be sure however you choose to wear your hair that you love it because if you don’t it will show! For this reason, I suggest you have your hair done by a professional if you are not a hair stylist by trade or hobby.



Should I clean my tack prior to my photo shoot?

Yes, it is recommended that you clean and oil your tack prior to your photoshoot, unless you are looking to achieve an old-western or accentuate the hard-working, sweaty,dirty aspect of the job,  (ie: at a branding, working on a ranch, etc.) in which case, dirty, well used tack will enhance your overall image. If you are looking for a polished, professional photo session, cleaning and oiling your tack, as well as, polishing any conchos or silver will provide a nice finished look. I strongly suggest cleaning and oiling your tack a few days prior to the chute so the oil has time to absorb and any excess is removed so it does not get on your clean horse or clothes.

What tack should I use for my photo shoot?

This is entirely up to you, it is generally recommended that you use whatever tack you would normally show in, especially if you intend for the photo’s to be used in advertisements for barns, trainers, horses or jockeys. Again, knowing ahead of time what you are wanting out of your photo session will assist you in knowing what tack you should use. You can use more than one set (ie: if you show western pleasure, halter and English hunt seat, we can do photo’s under each set of tack or just in a halter, etc.) but beware of time when deciding how many tack changes you are wanting to do, also you may want a helper/assistant to help you change your tack to avoid getting  your clothes dirty. 

Should I clip my horse prior to my photo shoot?

Yes, again depending on your overall look, it is recommended you clip your horse appropriately. The bare minimum and basic clip job is a bridle path, which allows the mane to lay nicely and the tack to be positioned clearly. Other options include clipping the ears, clipping the edges will increase the contour of the ear and clipping the interior of the ear will enhance the depth. You may also want to clip whiskers around the muzzle and eye as well as long hairs under the jaw and fetlocks. Looking at photos from other horses in your industry can give you a good indication on what should be trimmed. Use good judgement when determining how much clipping you intend to do, for instance it is not a great idea to clip the inner ear on a horse who lives without a fly mask in the pasture, ear hair is their only defense against insects.

Should I use face highlighter on my horse?

I recommend using baby oil for discipline or portrait shots for several reasons. First, it provides a natural luster and overall finishes your horses look weather working in an event or shooting a portrait. Its luster is generally not as strong as the highlighting gel; however, it is less likely to get on your clothes and less likely to have dirt/dust stick to it.

Should I use hoof polish on my horse?

In my opinion, hoof polish is completely optional and dependent upon your discipline. Some disciplines like to see trimmed coronet bands and fetlocks, as well as hoof polish, others prefer more the more natural look and want to see the horses hoof color and composition. You know your industry best so I would recommend sticking to what’s traditionally accepted. If you are undecided, a great option is to use clear hoof polish, it will give the hoof a matte shine and polished finish while also revealing the horses natural hoof color.

Should I use fly spray on my horse?

If it is the season for flies and they are likely to be a problem, I suggest using a fly spray. However, I recommend a water-based fly spray as oil based attracts dirt. You may consider spraying the ground area you intend to do portraits in with an oil based spray prior to shooting, this can assist with providing a bug barrier and not affect your horses coat. I suggest to wait to use it until I start shooting so a residue doesn’t build up and then use it sparingly throughout the shoot as necessary. I do NOT recommend using a roll-on or cream (ie: swat) because they are very oily and create streaks and dirt/dust sticks to them easily.

Should I use show sheen on my horse?

Yes and No. Show sheen has a reputation for attracting dust and dirt, I recommend waiting to show sheen your horse until right before we start shooting. Keep a clean rag (microfiber is best) on hand to wipe him/her down and reapply as needed. Again, it also depends on what look you’re going for, the hard-working, down and dirty shots (ie: at the ranch, etc.), show sheen is certainly not encouraged or needed but if you’re wanting a classy, professional overall polished look, I recommend keeping a bottle on hand.

Should I braid my horse’s mane and/or tail?

This is entirely up to you. If your industry standard is typically braided or unbraided I suggest to follow the norm. However, if you’re horse has a beautiful neck and tie-in (or low slung hock and short cannon) but has an extremely long mane/tail that covers it and you want to show it off, braids can be an option for you. Furthermore, braids can effectively accentuate a horses mane length and French-braids can enhance the curvature of the neck. I recommend braids when horses have very long flowing manes and the person subject is very dressed up (ie: in a wedding dress, prom dress, skirt and dress top, heels, etc.). Also, if the wind is a factor in your photo shoot and/or your horses mane is very uneven and has many “wispy fly-aways”, an uneven mane or a mane that doesn’t lay all on one side, braids can help you out!

Should I bathe my horse prior to the photo shoot?

Absolutely. I highly recommend bathing your horse prior to the photo shoot. Several consecutive baths over a duration of time will help his/her coat to lay down revealing and enhancing his/her conformational features as well as provides a natural shine. Be sure if you are using a special shampoo for effect (ie: white and bright a purple shampoo to enhance the coats of grey/white horses) follow the instructions carefully and if you are not familiar with using the product, test it out several weeks ahead of time so you do not end up with a discolored horse the day of the shoot.



How do I choose my location?

For discipline/lifestyle sessions, choose the location that best suits your horse and his/her discipline. If your horse has never been in an indoor arena prior to the photo shoot, I wouldn’t suggest shooting there as he/she may be less likely to cooperate and perform like you would want them to. You know your horses better than anyone so put some time and thought into a variety of locations that will best suit your horse and your vision for the session. Doing this ahead of time is highly recommended because the photoshoot will be on a schedule. I am more than happy to help you narrow down your considerations from a professional photographers stand point when I arrive.

How many locations should I choose?

If your locations are all part of the same geographic location (ie: the pasture, pond, barn and arena all on the same ranch) we can fit 5-7 different locations in. If your locations are separated geographically by more than a couple miles, I suggest only choosing 2-3 locations as it will take time to pack everything up and travel between locations.

What if my location is an event? How can I know if my hired photographer is allowed on grounds?

Most of the time the photographer is listed on the show or event bill, most large event photographers have a website, Facebook page and/or other social media pages you can use to contact them. We recommend you contact the association hosting the event first and explain to them what you are wanting to do and ask about their policy at their events. Next, we suggest you contact the photographer themselves and ask them about their policy. Be sure to get the approval in a written format of some sort.

I've found most of the time the associations and photographers are happy to let me shoot the behind the scenes photos and photos leading up to the actual event but  sometimes restrict me from shooting the actual event and understandably so because that is what they are paid to do. However, I have had several photographers allow me to do both and some deny me doing either, that is completely their right. The only way we can know for sure is if we ask but please be aware that I WILL NOT shoot photo's where I am not permitted by both the event association and the hired event photographer. Please be polite and respectful during all correspondance. 

If you still have questions regarding your upcoming photo shoot after reviewing the above FAQs  please feel free to send me a message and I will be happy answer any question(s) you may have. God Bless and have a wonderful day!

~Misti R Quiring