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Thinking of a Ranch Shoot?

ponies at play

You've hired an expensive photographer to come and take some nice snaps of your horses, and now you have some work to do if you want to get the best value for your money.

The things that are obvious are the bathing and grooming, the physical preparation, but more important, really, is the mental preparation you need to do.

You're paying the photographers for a block of time, maybe even by the hour, so you don't want to waste their time and your money trying to decide things while they're there that you can decide for yourself beforehand.

First there's the location. You must decide where you want your horses photographed. You want somewhere uncluttered, without a bright blue tarp in the background or a portaloo. You don't want to photograph your black horse against a bright white wall, nor against a black wall. Perhaps you have a nice paddock that does not have a lot of electrical pylons in the background, or perhaps you can pick both a place and a time at once: if you know the fruit trees will be in blossom in April, then maybe you want to schedule your ranch shoot for that month and use the orchard for the background. You know your situation and what backgrounds you have available, so don't pay the photographer to decide where he or she wants to shoot, just tell them you have a nice location or two already picked out.

Prioritize. Decide the order you want your horses photographed in. If the photographer manages to take beautiful pictures of all two dozen horses in the couple of hours you're paying for, that's great, but it may not work out that way on the day, so get the most important pictures first.

Finally, do have a contingency plan for bad weather. It's probably best to reschedule if it's pouring. Unless you know the photographer is going to show up with a full set of studio lights, pictures taken in the barn will be awful. An overcast day may be fine, though. There will be less contrast than on a bright, sunny day (as well as less heat and dust), and that can be easier on everyone.

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Last modified 12th January, 2008

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