You may be scrolling through photographs and thinking “ahh I wish my yard was as pretty as that for photos.” I promise you, not every yard that I visit is “perfect” for photographs. However you may not notice the little gems that I notice!
Some of my photos are in fact illusions. They look as though they’re vast open spaces, ideal for photographs. When, in fact it may be the very edge of a meadow and the rest is filled with machinery or even cows! Or, perhaps the quiet corner of the yard looks idyllic whilst the rest of the yard is a bustling livery yard! In fairness, some of the photographs you’ll see here have had some editing to remove certain things from the background: fencing, walkers, hosepipes, dirt or weeds.
When I arrive at a location for a shoot, I begin by asking where we are allowed to go. Most people have a few ideas of their favourite places to begin with but you’d be surprised at some of the places people discount when thinking about their shoot! I then have a quick look around myself before deciding where to start.
Here are some of my favourite places to photograph – every yard is bound to have one of these or more!
Fields and Paddocks
Now, every yard I’ve been to has had fields or paddocks! So long as there are no other loose horses, I’m happy to use pretty much any field! It’s always an idea to make sure there’s as little poo in the field as possible. The fields offer a great, natural background for your horse to be in.
Again, every yard I’ve been to has fences! Fences make great focal points and create a running line through the photograph. Post and rail fences are ideal! They’re very versatile (honestly, I’ve not gone mad haha!) one minute you could be leaning against the fence, the next walking towards me along the fence line. Finally, you could be sat on the fence giving your horse a big kiss on the nose.
Gates make a great feature for photographs, the same as fences! Not only to they provide a “barrier” to put a horse over if they’re getting a bit bored, but they’re also fantastic for you to lean against too!
I use these to create my black background images. The darkness of the stables/barns with the right settings and lighting I can create a studio like atmosphere! Old barns make a great focal point in photographs as well as the wooden panels creating a lovely texture to work with!
Meadows, crop fields and paddocks with long grass, particularly in the summer look stunning! The tall flowers and grass add some depth to the photographs as well as a burst of colour.
Whilst I tend not to go in crop fields, if we are very careful (and have permission!) and only stick to the edges and tyre tracks the lovely golds, yellows and greens add a fantastic summery feel to the photographs.
Woodland, Logs and Trees
Trees can make very impressive backgrounds for photographs. The large overhanging canopies can create archways to naturally frame shots as well as a beautiful feature in any photograph. The colours often help make bay horses “pop” out of the photographs. And of course, the blossom in the spring is beautiful!
Logs make great benches for you to sit on too!
Hedgerows and Tracks
Similarly to fences, hedges and tracks create lovely running lines through images which lead to the horse being the focal point. You may not have considered hedges making good features in photographs but stop and have a look at them: berries, leaves, flowers and buds all add little it’s of colour to the image. I also love the mystery of photographs of horses walking down tracks in vast open spaces. Tracks are often framed by hedges or fences which finishes the composition of a photograph off nicely.
The Yard Itself
Wooden buildings, deep brick red walls, steps, archways, doorways, cross country fences – need I say more?
Other things that look great include:
Statues or other architectural features
Perhaps this has changed your opinion on the suitability of your yard for a photoshoot, after reading this post why not head out with a fresh sense of ideas and have a look again? If after reading this blog you still aren’t convinced your yard will make a stunning backdrop for your shoot, why not head to the local woods, a beach or even your favourite hacking spot. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions about the suitability of the yard you keep your horse at.