Black Background Shoots
My black background photographs have become well loved and recognised - so much so, that the demand for mini sessions, specifically for black background shoots arose.
The dramatic studio-like portraits are created using only natural light, along with careful positioning and angling of the horse.
Photographs from the shoot will be edited and displayed online for you to order. There are a variety of different sizes and types of print including: mounted and canvas prints. If you have any questions, please do get in touch.
Gift vouchers are available for Black Background Sessions and can be ordered by emailing me or using the contact form below.
The shoot price must be paid in full to secure your chosen day. Payment also confirms you are agreeing to the terms and conditions which will be sent to you at the time of booking.
Black Background Mini Shoot Pricing
The black background sessions are priced per horse, starting at £45 for just the one horse.
This reduces to £30 per horse if there are more than three horses booked in at the same location, for the same shoot day. It is always great fun to get everyone at the yard involved; help each other out, get some great photos; and maybe treat yourselves to a picnic on the yard afterwards when you are all together!
What To Expect
To create the black background portraits I require access to a stable, barn or indoor school. Field shelters may also work, but I will ask questions about the location before the shoot. A building with three sides and a roof is all that's needed. The larger the "opening" on the front of the area the more variety we can add to the portraits. However, a stable usually does the trick! You can read more about the process here.
During the shoot, we will work through a variety of different poses. Some people would just like head and shoulder portraits of their horse, whilst others would also like me to capture some more abstract, or arty poses, allowing their horse to bend, and stretch (with plenty of food bribery!) to create some beautiful pieces of artwork.
Your horse should be clean, well turned out and your preferred choice of tack should also be given a once over ahead of the shoot. There is the time during the shoot to swap and change headcollars to bridles, and if your horse is sensible and the location allows, some "naked" shots can also be captured.
It's also particularly helpful to have an extra pair of hands on call during the shoot to get the horses attention. This allows plenty of scope when it comes to positioning and posing the horse, to get the best results. Every colour of horse can be photographed in this style - I've had people worry that their dark bay or black horse won't stand out, I promise they will! In fact, in my opinion, the darker the horse, the more striking the portrait.
I also offer a discount for multiple bookings on the same yard.
It is worth having a read over these points before your shoot.
This price covers a 20 mile round trip from Reading; (Berkshire, RG31 6SR) photoshoots outside of this region will be charged additional mileage at 40p a mile.
How does it work?
Your horse stands in a barn, stable, or indoor space - I then make sure each horse is positioned for the particular pose I'm after. All the time, I'm thinking about how the light hits the horse - I want to create the most flattering angles and add depth to each image.
Each image is carefully exposed to create the effect of the black background largely in camera. I only use natural lighting for these photographs, allowing me to work quickly with horses who may be sharp, nervous or just not very co-operative - there's no faffing around involved. They're so easy to create - I have someone on the side getting the horses attention whilst the owner stands and holds the horse. It's simple, but a very effective way to produce a beautiful image.
It's a great help if you can bring a second person to help with these shots, to get the horse looking where I'd like.
If your horse is in a barn, I will use the entrance way to the barn – NOT the stable itself. I need a source of natural light to create the images. I will be stood outside, looking towards the barn, and your horse stood in the doorway.
Can you photograph black horses?
Absolutely! I sure can, and in my opinion, the effect often looks better with black, or dark horses! Black horses aren't actually black - there are lots of other colours in those coats, such as purples and blues.
What if I don't have a stable?
I can work something on most yards - from field shelters, hay barns, walkways, feed rooms! So long as there are covered sides, and a roof most places work.
The most important thing is that the entrance way is in the SHADE at the time of the shoot.
My horse fidgets!
I hear that one all the time - I just need them to stand still for a split second to take the photograph! We can bribe them with food and plenty of other distractions. I've dealt with a variety of horses over the years - every owner is convinced their horse was probably the worst behaved horse I've ever photographed, but I can assure you, they're probably actually well behaved in comparison!
I'd love my horse to be photographed with nothing on?
Most of the time that's not a problem, providing it's safe to do so. I have a “naked” rope halter that we can pop on and I will then remove those ropes afterwards!
Can you remove leadropes?
Absolutely, I can remove leadropes, chains and reins! I'll also do a quick tidy up of any snot/dribble too or any bits of hay or food we didn't wipe off! Most of the horses I photograph will have a leadrope attached to them, and these are then removed.
Can I have more than one horse photographed in the session?
Of course! The 30 minute session is ideal for 2 horses, or up to 3. If you want the horses in the same image, it's usually easier to photograph them separately, and then Photoshop them together. As those who have had a shoot before know, sometimes it's hard enough to get one horse looking the right way, at the right time, with ears forward, so just for ease, I'll photograph the horses separately.
How should my horse be turned out?
They should be clean, well groomed, as though you were going to a show. Plaiting is completely optional, although I do prefer a natural mane for the photographs, but that's just personal preferenceence! Don't forget to give your horses noses and eyes a quick wipe over. Having some baby wipes or a sponge on hand during the shoot is advisable too! Tack should be cleaned too!
Some people also like to add a small amount of baby oil/"make up" around their horses muzzle and eyes, but again, that's not essential, and totally personal preference.
Please have a headcollar and bridle there, just in case we need a bit extra control – even if you plan for them to have “nothing” on – it’s just best to be over prepared. A minimal look works best – so a simple leather headcollar (rather than a bright nylon one) or a bridle with no bit guards or a distracting bit.
Have you got any questions that I haven't answered - please do get in touch!