Heather Johnson Photography //Weddings, Portrait, and Women's Portraiture
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My Equestrian Sessions:


This is the section of my website where you will find everything you need to know about your upcoming equestrian portrait sessions, horse show photography, and family portraiture with you and your horse including (christmas family portraits, horse and rider portraits, black background, horses and human family portraiture, and Horse Dream Portraits). My style embodies understanding of light, horse behavior, and capturing emotional connections. I strive to document stories and moments of unique bonds between you and your horse at your boarding stable or personal farm. I am based in Charleston, South Carolina but will travel for horse shows and equestrian portraits. I travel to Camden, SC; Greenville, SC; Columbia, SC; Aiken, SC; Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; Ashville, NC; Athens, GA; Atlanta, GA; and North Georgia; Knoxville, TN and Nashville, TN. My goal at every session is to document what it means to love a horse. As a lifelong equestrian, I understand the deep love for these unique animals. My experience working with horses allows me to be in a safe and relaxed environment among clients and their horses. Here you will find Pricing, Contracts, and our PDF Session Preparation Guide that will also be emailed to you once you have booked your session.


FAQ:

Safety First FAQ's:



Helmet or No Helmet?



No discussion of safety is complete without a discussion of helmets. I wear a helmet 98% of the time when I am riding. Do you know what the 2% is when I don’t? It’s when I am being photographed on my horse. I do not require my clients to wear a helmet when they are on their horse at a portrait session. I believe it is a personal choice, and I understand not wanting to crush the hairstyle you spent hours on or was professionally created for you. I won’t encourage more risky riding like jumping or galloping through a field, but I know anytime you are on a horse you can fall and hit your head. If someone does want to wear while sitting on the back of there horse. I make sure we do those last. If you will be any riding such as trotting, Cantering, galloping, and jumping we do require you to wear your helmet at our sessions.


Why do my horses ears need to be up for my portrait session?


When horses are happy and curious, they put their ears forward. It’s like the horse version of smiling! But it’s not as easy to do as it might look. And because, each horse is a unique individual, what works for one might not work for another. Knowing this, we an arsenal of options so you don’t end up going an entire session without getting a horse’s ears forward in at least some of the photos.

There are times when I’m okay with a horse’s ears being relaxed, most notably when they are interacting with a person or being ridden. These are times when it’s natural for them to have their ears in a more relaxed position.


Horsey Things I Bring to Your Shoot:



1. Plain Leather Halter:

While some people will choose to use a bridle when being photographed with their horse, many prefer a halter. I always bring a plain, adjustable leather halter.


2. Leather Lead

Most leather leads come with a chain attached. The chain is going to reflect light and can pose a safety hazard. Because of this, I use a leather lead without a chain. Note: If you have a client who wants to use a lead with a chain, do not loop the chain under the halter. Horses can get their hoof caught in the loop leading to severe injury or even death.


3. Short Black Lead Rope

In the event someone wants to use their nylon halter, I keep a shorter blacklead rope on hand. Many lead ropes are brightly colored and very long. Black will disappear in the photos and a shorter length will be easier for the person to hold in one hand.


4. Towels

I buy bulk rag towels at Costco and keep them handy for quick cleanups.Horses who are photographed in their bridles have a tendency to drool a lovely green slime, and that’s a lot of work to photoshop out of the image later.


5. Bug Spray

The mosquito and those small flys that eat you to death around sunset are alive and well in South Carolina. I make sure to bring enough horse and human repellent so we don’t all get eaten alive during a session.


Poses I love with your horse:


Below, are some suggestions of poses we typically do during the several hours we will spend together during a photoshoot with you and your horses. We love these poses because, they show the beautiful connections horse owners have with their horses.



How long does a Equestrian Photoshoot Take?



I have had sessions that have lasted 30 minutes and sessions that have lasted 3 hours it depends on several components. First, like humans horses also have moods and personalties about being photographed, they too have off days and bad moods. Frequently, we can convince them right out of their bad mood, which may take a moment . It also depends on what your trying to achieve with the session. If I am shooting a statement piece, a album, or wall collage. How many outfit changes do you have during your shoot is things you want to consider. How many horses will we be photographing? Each horse photographed is additional time added to your session. What type of session are you considering; will your session be a session of natural images grazing in a field, Do they want formal black background portraits? or a beauty portrait of horse and owner, A show portrait and images riding in horse attire? casual portraits of you and your horse? or For sale images? Some of these require more time and all of these are considered when reserving time for your portrait session. I do not schedule more than one portrait session per day to prevent rushing a animal. Horsey treats, scratches, and kisses can be a big help after all its there day to shine and we want them to have an enjoyable experience.


What if my horse does not behave?



Horses have personalties as well as humans with playful personalities, off days, and sometimes bad moods. I have not had a occasion yet where I had to reschedule due to bad behavior. It it happens your horse won't cooperate, I will reschedule the session.


What if my horse won't stand while on his lead?



Well like humans horses probably would rather be doing something else than standing around looking pretty. Horses want to get some energy out, they want a snack, they wonder what your doing. All of these situations get beautiful images . remember your horse is a horse not a model. Its a tall order to ask your horse to stand near his buddies and not chat with them. To stand in a field full of grass snacks and not help himself/herself is a big request.


I can never let my horse off lead for a photoshoot?



It may surprise you but most of the horses I photograph aren't off lead. horses that are running in fields many of them are on lunge lines or lead lines. Safety is always first during a horse photoshoot. I am concerned first for safety of the horse, the equestrian, the helper, the assistants, and myself. Horses are 1000 pound animals with minds of their own. I would rather be safe than sorry so more often than not, horses are secured, even when it doesn't look like it in the final images.