We recently had a request to take engagement photos with horses from Pam and Ray. Pam said she grew up around horses and so she wanted to make them a part of her engagement photos. We were in luck because we have a kind friend Nikki who has a beautiful horse George that she let us use and she also arranged for us to take the photos at Old Fox Farm in Chester, NJ. The owners of the farm graciously consented to let us use the property. The farm with the fall leaves in the background provided plenty of great photo options. The day was just lovely and Pam and Ray looked great!
Engagement photos that incorporate horses can be very romantic. I’d like to share 5 tips for taking engagement photos with horses that we have learned over time.
First, there are three subjects, so to take engagement photos with horses, make sure you have someone helping you who is good with the horse or horses and take a lot of photos because you are not only working with a couple, but you have to catch the horse just right too. George as it turned out was quite cooperative when Nikki was there, although he did like to move around a lot. It helped that Nikki kept a stock of treats in her pocket and we were very grateful for her help!
Second, think about your feet ahead of time. If you are going to be walking where the horses have been, you don’t want good shoes because you just might step in something (actually you will definitely step in something because you are watching your subject, not your feet). That goes double for your bride and groom. You don’t want them upset that they ruined good shoes. And no high heels either, they will sink into the grass.
Third, bring a “clicker” or something that will cause the horses ears to move forward. They look best that way. You won’t always catch them forward, but a clicker can help.
Fourth, think about your depth of field. While you might normally want to shoot a couple at a shallow depth of field, you need a greater depth of field to get the horse’s rather large head in focus. Digital Photography School has a great cheat sheet on 3 ways to affect depth of field. The photo above was shot at f5.0 at 125mm. Because the trees are a long way away, we were able to keep them nicely soft in the image.
Fifth, have fun! Try different poses with the horse and then take some photos without the horse. In this case Pam brought some picnic items. We had the horse walking around in the background however we liked the shot that focused just on our couple.
When George went to get dinner, we took advantage of the beautiful fall light with just Pam and Ray. Pam’s skirt was just glowing in the late afternoon sun and her smile is just awesome. You can tell that they love each other very much!
We are very much looking forward to Pam and Ray’s wedding this May. We loved working with them. We hope you enjoyed our 5 tips for engagement photos with horses.
All the best,
Gwynne and Ron