Capturing the Bond: Top Tips for an Equine Photoshoot with Your Child and Their Pony
Updated: May 12
Working with children and their ponies or horses is hands-down one of my favourite types of photoshoots! Over the years, they've become some of my absolute favourite portrait sessions - there's just something so pure and authentic about the way kids interact with their equine best friends in front of the camera and I love being able to document their beautiful childhood moments in my portrait sessions.
Children have a natural ease in front of the lens that's hard to come by with us adults. They don't worry about how they look or what others might think - they just love their ponies and the joy shines through in every shot. Some of my clients return to me every couple of years to document their little ones' growth, new ponies, and progress - it's such an honour to be a part of their journey.
Sure, some children can be a bit shy at first and that's ok, but that's where their pony comes in! Snuggling up to their equine friend helps them feel safe and comfortable in front of the camera. And within just a few minutes, they usually warm up and start having a blast. There is never any pressure to ' smile for the lady ' for a photograph, I just ask them to be themselves and focus on enjoying time with their favourite pony whilst I am there to capture all those gorgeous, natural moments.
So, with that in mind I've put together my top tips for all you horsey mums out there on getting the most out of your little ones' equine photoshoots! Location: I usually chat to clients ahead of their session to find out where they'd like the outdoor photoshoot to take place. Many clients have beautiful grounds within their own properties or yard.
One of the things I keep in mind when working with our littlest clients is that their ponies can sometimes be a little too greedy for their own good! We all know how much ponies and horses love eating grass, so it can be a bit of a challenge for little ones to hold them and getting their pony to stand still on their photoshoot if they are planning to use a field. So we have two options...
If you have a grassy location in mind for the photo session the key is practice, practice, practice! Spend some time working with your child and their pony in the weeks leading up to the pony photo shoot. Ask them to practice holding and leading the pony, and make sure your child knows what to do when their pony inevitably goes straight for the grass. By doing this, you'll help your child feel more prepared and in control on the day of the shoot.Of course, things may not always go exactly to plan - that's just the nature of working with kids and ponies! But by taking the time to practice beforehand, you'll be setting your child (and their pony) up for success and a much more enjoyable experience for all involved. Alternatively you might have a gravel driveway or a spot within the yard which would make a good area to capture some special moments of your child cuddling their pony which is away from the temptation of the lush grass! An absolute favourite photoshoot backdrop is the beach if you have one that you regularly ride at. However again it would be important for your child to take time to practice riding at the beach before organising a special portrait on the coast.
What to wear: I always think this in the fun part about organising an equine photoshoot. My clients would always receive a getting ready guide when booking with me with some helpful tips to prepare outfits or Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration too. I suggest putting together 2-3 outfits for your session. It's always important to make sure your children's outfit choices make them feel comfortable.
Dress for the weather: Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions on the day of the shoot. If it's going to be cold, make sure they have warm layers, and if it's going to be hot, dress them in breathable fabrics.
Comfortable footwear: Your child will likely be spending a lot of time on their feet, so comfortable shoes or boots are a must. Make sure they're well-fitting and broken in, so they don't cause any discomfort during the shoot.
Neutral colours: Simple, natural colours always work well for a timeless look. Avoid clothing with large logos or bright patterns that can be distracting.
Think about accessories: Try added a hat or a scarf for a pop over colour to your images.
Consider the pony's colours: If your child's pony has a unique colour coat, you may want to consider clothing that complements or contrasts with their pony's coat.
Remember, the most important thing is that your child feels comfortable and confident during the shoot. Choose clothing that they feel good in and that allows them to move freely, so they can enjoy their time with their pony and create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.
Prepping ahead of Time: It's important to avoid last-minute rushes when preparing for a portrait session with your child and their pony. Trying to get everything ready five minutes before the photographer arrives can be a recipe for disaster, especially if you're juggling getting your child clean and keeping your pony looking pristine at the same time!