Joanne loves horseback riding and she owns two horses so instead of a casual individual portrait session, I presented the idea of doing a lifestyle shoot to showcase her passion for horses and riding. She loved it. The initial discussion was a simple exchange of ideas, how long the shoot was going to be, she gave me an idea of the location, and so on. I went online to look at equestrian photos and she gave me a catalog with a bunch of “horsey” stuff. All of these things helped me visualize the entire shoot. From that, I developed a shot list that would serve as a guide to what images we were going for on the day of the shoot.
We then proceeded to schedule the session which proved to be a nightmare. The date became a moving target because of the unpredictable summer weather in Maryland. It rained for days on end… and during the times we expected to do the shoot.
After five weeks of re-scheduling, we finally got a break and went down to Marlboro Horse Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD, where I met Tobi and Jabberwocky.
I interviewed Joanne while she got Tobi and Jabberwocky ready. One thing I love about doing what I do is the learning and discovery. I found out that there’s a sort of ritual before you even get on the horse. First, they get treated with brushing. They get really dusty after spending their days out in the open.
Then they get a good helping of Horsefly proofing. I don’t know what’s in it but Jabberwocky seemed to like it.
Then I learned a new horsey term… TACKING UP which is the process of putting on the riding harness and everything that goes with it.
Finally, Joanne showed me a neat trick to coax Tobi and Jabberwocky to look at the camera… they love peppermint candy and if you scrunch the wrapper, they perk up and look at direction where the sound is coming from. I didn’t get to use the candy that much though.
A little bit later, Sasha arrived as the horses were getting tacked up. With the shot list in my pocket, we then proceeded with the shoot. We chose different settings… by the stables, out in the open and in the arena. After two hours and almost two hundred shots later, we wrapped it up.
Now I’ll let you in on my initial image selection process… I made the first pass of accepts and rejects and whittled it down to about 150 images. Then I grouped them into sets of similar looks. From there I compared each individual images in a set and picked the ones that worked. This cut down the number of “possible” final images down to about 60. Then I did low level post processing: basic tone and color, some dust and spot removal, some compositional cropping. Basically, it’s meant to be quick and dirty.
After the low level post processing, I uploaded low res versions to a dedicated lightbox on my Photoshelter account. I want my shoots to be a collaborative effort so even though I had my personal picks, the lightbox gave Joanne and Sasha the chance to pick their favorites by rating the images and it also allowed them to leave comments for me. The goal of the lightbox exercise is to narrow down the set further to about 10 to 15 images that will receive high level post processing, like color treatments, special effects, element removal, skin softening, etc…
My goal in high level post processing is to make each image rock. It’s my job to spend however long to make my clients look good on their photographs. One important thing on facial features though when it comes to things such as eye bags, wrinkles and the like, before I go “Photoshop Happy”, is that I ask permission to do so. A discussion had to be made as to how far I should go. I could knock off 30 years from your face but would your friends believe it? The image would look awesome but could you show it off? Probably not. In Joanne’s and Sasha’s case, they didn’t need it.
The final shots exceeded the 10 to 15 image goal but it didn’t matter. I enjoyed working on the photos. In the end, all I care about is that Joanne and Sasha would be happy with their images. Here are some of my favorites.
You don’t have to have a horse to get the PointShoot Lifestyle photo session experience. The first step is to contact us. Let us get to know you a bit and we’ll make sure you’re going to have a blast on your photo shoot, and get awesome images to boot.
PointShoot Photography specializes in custom portraiture, serving Stevensville, MD (21666) and cities in Queen Anne’s and neighboring counties, including Annapolis, Severna Park, Crofton, Bowie and Upper Marlboro.