The day I had been planning and prepping for is finally here. I'm nervous because my expectations and hopes for the day are very high but I also feel nervous because it is something I've never experienced before. Today we are expecting a visit from Rose to take some pictures of the ponies.
I had found Rose through Facebook and the second I saw her bluebell pictures I knew she was the right photographer for us. Before the shoot Rose had sent me a questionnaire about the horses and myself that also included what my expectations were for the shoot. I wasn't sure whether we would manage to fulfil all those expectations on the very first shoot but I thought I might as well mention them. Rose also took time to discuss on the phone what I was envisioning and encouraged me to share the images with her that had inspired me. When I told her I wanted to incorporate a flower wreath she even took the initiative and asked whether she should bring a flower crown of her own that she already owned. This is just one example of how Rose will not only grasp the clients vision immediately, but also go above and beyond to realise it.
Prior to the shoot I had selected a few outfits I wanted to bring and also scrubbed both horses and the tack I knew we would be using. This was on recommendation from Rose and I am glad I invested the time to make sure the ponies were clean because the images have come out all the better with their coats gleaming and the tack looking good as new.
On the day Rose first met the horses and had a little walk around the yard, then we selected the first outfit we would photograph. We got the first horse ready and off we went. My gelding proved to be as nervous in front of the camera as I felt. He was very fidgety, got scared of the flower wreath and simply refused to stand still. When we took pictures in long grass with him he was either moving around or trying to eat the grass. By the time we were done with photographing him my arms were aching from trying to hold him still and I felt defeated. Surely, I thought, we didn't get a single good picture out of that! Even though Rose was so patient with us and reassured me everything would be fine, I still felt doubtful. How wrong I was!
We moved on to my mare who proved to be a natural model. She didn't bat an eye when we put the flower wreath around her neck and she posed like a professional. She was so good, we even managed to get some pictures of her with no tack on in a field (fenced and secured!). This was also down to a recommendation from Rose. I am so glad we took those pictures but more on that later!
The shoot was over before I knew it. Throughout the whole day Rose was amazing. Especially my mare can be very choosy about who she likes and dislikes but she instantly took a liking to Rose. Reflecting on that, I think it is because Rose is a very calm presence that horses feel safe around. I would describe her as "calm and collected". She also managed to help me feel more at ease and I actually did not feel self-conscious at all, which is what I was expecting to feel. All in all, I was so pleased with how Rose conducted the shoot that the second we had finished the shoot for the day I had already booked another one. In all seriousness, I probably would have had several more shoots since then if time would permit it.
Now the nerve-wrecking part: waiting to see the final images! I was amazed at the quick turn around. Another reason I recommend Rose to literally anyone I meet that mentions they are looking for a photographer: Rose works quickly and efficiently! So the images arrived and I could not believe my eyes. My fidgety, nervous gelding looked stunning. The images exuded such a relaxed, calm vibe. I was speechless. Not only did he look his absolute best, the pictures also reflected his character. Something I almost didn't dare to hope for because I thought "how is a photographer going to be able to capture his character in just a few images?". But sure enough, this is exactly what happened. Rose managed to capture exactly the expression in his eyes that ultimately moved me to add him to our family. When my mother saw the images of Ron, her very initial comment was "oh, he looks so relaxed. What a pro!". It made me laugh because he was the absolute opposite of that, but still, Rose managed to get the very best out of him.
The pictures of my mare came out beautiful as well. Like I said, she can sometimes be very choosy about her people and I do wonder from time to time if I have even made it into her inner circle. The pictures that we received speak such a different story, they speak of trust and friendship. Seeing that on "paper"/screen was so special. Especially the pictures with no tack turned out to be some of my favourites from the shoot. Once again, a great recommendation by Rose!
I have said it many times before and I am sure I will say it many more times: Rose is a fantastic photographer. All of my expectations (even ones I didn't even realise I had) were not only met, but exceeded - both in quality of image as well as in customer service. My impression is that Rose is wise beyond her years and that shines through in her professional demeanour from how she conducts herself on the shoot to how she communicates via email and fulfils client orders. If you are looking for a photographer as a "photo shoot newbie" or whether you have had photo shoots before, I will always recommend Daydream Equine Art.
The second shoot we did was very different in tone, style and desired end result, and Rose managed to nail this very different brief perfectly. So no matter what style, perspective or vision you have, discuss it with Rose and be excited for the end result! Thank you, Rose, for two amazing photo shoots and for preserving memories of my ponies that I will treasure forever!