Equine Portraiture: Finding Beauty In Simplicity with Maisie & Harry in Alkham Valley

by Lotte Simons
5th January 2019

My photographic style is undoubtedly influenced by natures beauty and i’m often compelled to incorporate the stunning scenery that mother nature has on offer. However it’s not just the typical picturesque panoramas and well dressed stables that make for a beautiful location. A big factor in how we perceive scenery has an awful lot to do with how the light hits it, the same scene looks remarkably different under the glare of a midday sun as opposed to the softer glow hours later when it sets. Therefore my location choice may have more to do with how the spot is lit as opposed to the area itself.

I recently had Lotte out for a personal shoot with myself and my horse and I couldn’t be happier with the fantastic pictures she produced. Her images are gorgeous and her enthusiasm towards and during the shoot was infectious. I would highly recommend Lotte and definitely use her again in the future!

When clients are based at yards that don’t necessarily have much to offer up in terms of outright beauty there are often a few hidden gems that can be found, which is what happened when I visited Maisie and her horse Harry. On this occasion we didn’t have to venture very far to find some good spots. Infact we were stood just outside the main gate for these portraits on the road, which with a little creative composition, using the hedgerows to frame my subjects and a few close crops to eradicate the scene entirely, made for some classic lifestyle portraits of the two. This was a great start to the shoot, though I felt the light was a little flat and we could find better.

The second location was perfect. A simple track with heavy vegetation to each side and a gateway allowing light into the scene. The trees did a perfect job leading the eye to the centre of the frame where the subjects are lit with a soft, painterly light that flatters both horse and human. Better yet, the underexposed background played off beautifully against Harry’s coat colour and really emphasised his patterning. This set up gave us some really striking portraits of the pair that are a little moody and have a brothers grimm fairytale feel to the images.

Beautiful scenery does not mean complexity and if you are looking around your yard wondering what on earth a photographer would find beautiful, stop! Sometimes I pick a location for all it’s intricacies and the elements it can bring to a shot but other times i’m looking for quite the opposite and it’s the very lack of interest in the background that creates such gorgeous and timeless image. These portraits of Maisie and Harry in all their simplicity are some of my favourite horse and owner portraits to date.

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