You’ve scheduled a professional photo session for your horse and the day is quickly approaching. While we’re preparing for your photo session, we know you’ll want to take care of some important photo session prep work on your end too.

In addition to everything we cover with our clients during the Portrait Planning Session, we like to repeat some tips and tricks as a refresher.

Prepping your Horse for the Camera

You should treat the photo session as if you are preparing to show your horse. All the clipping, grooming, and tack cleaning applies here for you to get the best look and resulting images. 

We also suggest making sure the barn, arena, and anywhere we might be photographing is also photo-ready.



Naturally, it’s important to make sure your horse’s mane and tail are cleaned, detangled, and brushed out fully.

If you plan on having your horse clipped, braided, or banded these all should be done in advance of your photo session and it’s best not to make this the last thing on your list.

Believe me, the last thing you want is to be still completing those preparations when we show up! It’s hard to have a stress-free experience when you’re running behind schedule and your horse can pick up on that energy too.

We also suggest using a product such as baby oil gel in very small amounts to the horse’s nose, ears, and around the eyes. You can wait to apply this at the beginning of your photo session and we’ll help make sure it’s done with a light hand and just in time for photos. 



As you might imagine, a good bath is essential for your horse to look his best in front of the camera. Depending on the weather and the turnout situation of your horse, you may need to wait until the day of or day before to bathe to ensure your horse is as clean and shiny as possible.

Because horses will inevitably find a way to get dirty at the most inopportune times, we suggest limiting the opportunities your horse has to become dirty on the big day! You’ll also want to have your grooming supplies nearby for touch-ups during the photo session.

If you have a white horse (or a horse with white markings), I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that a very thorough bathing, scrubbing and stain removal is likely a necessity.



Long hooves or horses in need of a new set of shoes can pose a health concern and present a less-polished look in your horse’s final artwork. That said, we definitely do not recommend scheduling a farrier appointment on the days before or day of your photo session.

In most cases, we suggest coating your horse’s hooves with hoof oil for a further polished look if possible. It’s best to do this right before your photo session and tie your horse while the hooves dry.


Fly Spray

You’ll definitely want a round of fly spray to be part of the finishing touches of your horse’s prep. Swishing tails, stomping hooves, and fidgeting are inevitable without it! Be sure the fly spray makes it into the to-go kit for during the photo session too.


All tack, including halters, bridles, and saddles, that you intend to use for the session should be free of dirt and cleaned and oiled appropriately to present the best look. Most importantly, all tack must be adjusted properly to fit your horse. There’s nothing worse or less useful than improper fitting tack!


Exercise or Rest

Depending on the personality of your horse and the type of images we’re planning for your session, it may be necessary to take two separate approaches. If your horse is a very laid back senior citizen who spends more time napping in the sunshine than anything else each day, some quiet time and rest before his photo session will likely be best.

However, if you have an active, showhorse on your hands your horse will likely benefit from some exercise or lunging prior to your photo session. But we must issue a major caution here… don’t wear your horse out completely! We want to capture your horse’s true personality and expressions!!

Regardless of the personalities involved, we’ll likely have a tired horse at the end of your photography session, so don’t plan much for your horse (and maybe yourself!) for the rest of the day.



If your horse’s feeding time is during your photo session, we suggest feeding early or feeding a portion of his hay or grain prior to the photo session. A horse that is completely distracted by eating and fidgeting because the barnmates are getting fed can present some challenges.

However, we know this might not always be possible or avoidable so don’t stress if there’s not an easy fix on photo session day.


Black Background Portraits

Black background portraits can be a beautiful addition to your photo session. This classic portrait truly highlights the beauty and features of your horse. Not to mention, these images make amazing artwork for your home!

We have the skills and strategy for these portraits– the only thing you need is a horse and a barn aisle we can fully close up on one end. In a pinch, we also may be able to create this effect using an indoor arena or shed row stall.

Before your photo session, check over the aisle way (and anywhere else we’ll be) to be sure all clutter and debris are cleaned up. This is for your horse’s safety as well as aesthetic purposes in your portraits.


On Your List… 

#1: Fly Spray!!!

Best tack, including halter and lead, bridle, saddle, saddle pad, etc.

Grooming supplies, including a body brush, clean rag, hoof pick, and mane comb

If allowed, horse treats or peppermints can be handy too

And… an empty bucket to carry it all in/use to get your horse’s attention

Of course, you can feel free to bring anything else you’d like to have or include in your photo session too!


In Our Bag…

We don’t travel light! You may be surprised to see all the things we carry with us to each and every photography session. As a matter of fact, we can’t fit it all in just one bag!

We’re well-prepared for any situation from cleaning the dirt of a horse’s face to the presence of those dreadful mosquitos.

And of course, we have many types of treats, all kinds of toys, even a stick! (And oh so much more!)


Camera Gear

Our photography gear collection needs more than one bag too!

We utilize Canon’s professional level camera gear and everything we might need is brought out for each and every photo session. Even if we don’t use it, we have it! This ensures we are prepared for any lighting situation, lens need, gear malfunction (heaven forbid!!) or dying battery.

We even carry backup cameras just in case the worst case scenario happens! All throughout the process, you can rest assured you’re in great hands and we won’t miss a thing.



If you’re stuck on what to wear yourself, you can always reach out to us to give you further guidance. If you’re debating between colors, we suggest you take a look at Hobby Horse’s Color Wheel. While it’s tailored to show clothing, the color suggestions and advice based on your horse’s coat color rings true as a suggestion for photo sessions too.


Get Ready!

After you make your final preparations all that is left is to rest up, relax, and get excited for the fun experience headed your way. We promise we are just as excited as you are!


Questions about your horse’s photo session?

Contact us! We’re happy to help in any way we can.