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Black Background Shoots - How Do They Work?

My black background images have become very well recognised and loved - I get so many questions about them, so I thought I'd write a little post to explain the most asked questions!

 

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.

 

 

 

Can you photograph black horses?

 

Absolutely! I sure can, and here's proof! In my opinion, the effect often looks better with black, or dark horses! Black horses aren't actually black - there's 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, even trailers! So long as there's covered sides, and a roof most places work. I even managed to use a dark hedged field once!

 

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. A stall chain or leadrope across the front of the door to stop them stepping forward, or a rope around their neck is usually enough to keep them in place for the photographs. Again, we will use plenty of bribery to get the perfect shot! I will then remove those ropes/chains 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 opinion! 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. 

 

Have you got any questions that I haven't answered - please do get in touch!

www.daydreamequineart.co.uk/blackbackgrounds

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