Frequently Asked Questions
As always, I am happy to address any questions you may have directly or elaborate more on any of the most commonly asked questions found below.
How should I prepare for the photo shoot?
The major preparations for the stallion photo shoot will obviously revolve around him. First and foremost, make sure your stallion is manageable, we will need to be able to pick up and place his feet when necessary. Next, decide to what degree you want him prepped (see other FAQS related to preparations), bathe him, clip him, clean, oil and polish his tack accordingly. If you plan to do some foal shots also, try to pick a time that reveals your foals in their best condition (most prefer when they are shed out and muscled up). The same concept of timing should be applied to your stallion, choose a time when he is most comfortable and looks his absolute best.
What is the best season to schedule a stallion photo shoot?
That is dependent upon your schedule, your goals for the shoot and his finesse. Obviously, if you are planning to include his foals in the photo shoot you want to do it at a time when they look their best (generally from 3 weeks old to 6-8 months old). You want them to be physically healthy and have some size/muscle but also not be too attached to mama so we can get a few pictures of them alone, moving and playing. If you do not plan to include the foals I suggest considering the time when you think your stallion looks his prime. Some stallions stress during breeding season and it takes a toll on them, for these stallions I suggest waiting until late summer (August-September) when the grass is still green, breeding season is over and they haven’t started to grow their winter hair yet. For some stallions, you may have a peak competition season, when they are most primed and in-shape. You know your stallion best; however, generally most photos are shot from May-October.
What is the best time of day for a photo shoot?
I prefer to shoot when the sun is past its strongest point, generally in late afternoon into evening. This minimizes some shadowing and casts a beautiful array of light from a natural neutral beam to strong golden light.
Do I need to hire a helper?
You are not required to bring an assistant but you are more than welcome to if you want to. I recommend having an assistant with you if you need someone to assist you with handling your stallion. I will bring an assistant with me to help with foot placement and head setting. We may require additional assistance holding a mare if your stallion does not respond to other stimuli first.
How do I choose a location?
The first major point of consideration in choosing a location for portraits is finding a place where the ground is level so when your stallion is set-up properly, the photographs are truly indicative of his conformation (ie: he doesn’t appear to be built up-hill or down-hill because he’s standing that way). Next, the footing should be firm so he can stand square. The grass/sand should not be higher than his coronet bands, the lower the better so people can see his hooves, ankles and angles. Lastly, try to choose a clean background, minimal noise, pastures with trees, hills or ponds in the background work great, try to avoid fence lines (especially un-kept ones), roads with road signs, lots of buildings and excessive trees. If you do not have a location that fits these criteria, we can travel to another location, some additional travel fees may apply (see package details).
I am more than happy to assist you with choosing a location upon my arrival but in the effort of time it is always great for you to have a few ideas to start with.
What type of head gear should I put on my stallion for facial portraits?
I suggest a nice leather halter that compliments your stallions head. Some industries prefer leather show halters with lots of silver and bling, others prefer plain leather halters with minimal or no bling. Also, take into consideration your stallions coat color, pick a leather oil (light, dark, medium, honey, etc.) that best compliments them. You may also want to do some portrait head shots with a headstall and reins, again I suggest you choose an oil and level of bling that is complimentary to your stallion and the discipline you serve. Also be aware of the thickness of the leather and the impact that can make on portraying your stallions head well. Do not underestimate the impact quality, well thought out head gear can be on your stallions image. Last, but certainly not least make sure your tack fits properly.
Should I put show sheen on my stallion prior to the photo shoot?
No. Show sheen has a reputation for attracting dust and dirt, I recommend waiting to show sheen your stallion until right before we start shooting. Keep a clean rag (microfiber is best) on hand to wipe him down and reapply as needed.
Should I bath my stallion prior to the photo shoot?
Absolutely. I highly recommend bathing your stallion prior to the photo shoot. Several consecutive baths over a duration of time will help his coat to lay down revealing and enhancing his conformational features as well as providing 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.
Should I use face polish on my stallion?
Yes. The degree to which you want to highlight his face and features will depend on your stallions features as an individual. If you think he has a pretty head and want it to really stand out I would suggest using a highlighter gel, accentuating the eye, muzzle and nostrils (some people even use some on the ears), wipe all excess off. NOTE: Do NOT put face polish on until I arrive and we are ready to start shooting, it is famous for attracting dirt and rubbing off on unwanted clothing garments or sweating off, so waiting until the last minute is usually best.
If you do not wish to draw attention to your stallions head, I recommend using a small amount of baby oil, it will blend with the show sheen on the rest of the body to give an overall polished look without excessive shine. Again, DO NOT apply the baby oil until the beginning of the session.
Should I use face oil or a highlighting gel?
If you are going for a more natural look and/or plan to do a portrait or discipline photoshoot with your stallion afterwards, I recommend the baby oil. It’s luster is generally not as strong as the highlighting gel, it is less likely to get on your clothes and less likely to have dirt stick to it.
If you are wanting a high-profile, glamourous head shot and portrait, I would recommend the high-lighting gel. These gels accentuate yours horses facial features to the max and add a strong contrast making their muzzles, nostrils and eyes pop.
Should I use hoof polish on my stallion?
In my opinion, hoof polish is completely optional and dependent upon your industry. Some industries 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 clip my stallion prior to the photoshoot?
In short, yes. I recommend at a bare minimum trimming the bridal path and long hairs under the chin, this tends to clean up your stallions head and refine his features. If you would like to enhance his facial features further you can trim around his ears, in his ears, his muzzle and the guard hairs around his eyes (be very careful to not cut his eyelashes!). Please take your stallions home into consideration prior to clipping him (ie: if he lives outside without a fly mask on do not trim his inner ear hair leaving him no protections from insects).
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