Southern Cross Stud Guest Blog Tips For Your Stud Photoshoot
Hello, I’m Jill and together with my husband, Jules, we run Southern Cross Stud in Kent. We had a stud photo shoot with Lotte last spring and had a wonderful day with her. I thought it might be useful for me to share my experience for those of you thinking about booking a shoot in the future.
My first top tip would be to do a bit of homework! Have a look at the galleries on Lotte’s website and work out the style of shots you like. For example, do you like the more posed formal images, or the more natural “in the moment” photos? Once you have an idea of the sort of thing you’d like, that’s the time to have a chat with Lotte and discuss your aims for the shoot. I didn’t do this (Whoops!) and I think I could have probably saved us all a bit of time if I had. Luckily for me, Lotte was very patient and happy to explore a variety of styles to see which I was most excited about, so we got there in the end!
In addition, have a think about items you might need for your shoot. In our experience something to rattle such as a bucket of nuts or set of car keys is always handy for getting their attention. What do you want your horse to wear? Do you want them in a bridle, headcollar or naked? Tacked up, ridden or in hand? Have a think about colours for items such as; saddlecloths, boots or bandages and of course your own clothing if you plan to be in the shot. Again, if in doubt have a chat to Lotte beforehand and she will give you a few pointers to ensure that you get the most out of your shoot.
Now we all know the saying “never work with children or animals” and of course we went the whole hog working with not only children AND animals, but baby animals too! When planning a shoot with young horses or children remember that both can easily become tired and/or bored, so try to keep sessions short and sweet and think of things that might engage them. We were treated to Milly (our 5yo daughter) doing her best Beyoncé strut, complete with hair swishing and a sassy hand on hip! Luckily our Shetland, Rambo was posing with her and was ever patient with her diva walk.
It’s also worth thinking about location ahead of time. If you have a spot that you’d particularly like to use that your horse isn’t used to, perhaps spend a bit of time beforehand making them feel comfortable there. For example if you have a young horse that has never been in the school before, a photo shoot may not be the ideal time to try it! If like us you have mares and foals, make sure you have Mum on side and that she is happy with the situation. In our experience a happy mama generally equals a relaxed baby. You know your mare and know her likes and dislikes, so do keep them in mind when planning your shoot.
We really enjoyed our day with Lotte and felt we learned a lot from it. So much so, that I’m sure we’ll be persuading her to come back for photos of our ridden horses in the near future. As a business it is very important for us to have professional images that reflect the quality of our “products.” But actually, as a proud mum, it’s really lovely to have beautiful shots to show off our much adored horses. A huge amount of time, energy, emotion and money goes into producing the horses that we do, so to have them reflected in the best possible light is invaluable to us, something Lotte fully understands.
The biggest and most important part of my job is the matchmaking. Mare to stallion, horse to rider or horse to owner. It’s the best part of my job and when you get those parts right, that’s when you can make magic happen! Lotte helped that process along with a little sprinkling of photography fairy dust by allowing us to share our beautiful horses with a wider audience.