April & Arthur

I made the decision early on to not be a portrait / wedding photographer.  It wasn't what I felt strongly about, it wasn't something that stirred me inspirationally, but over the years I will still take on portrait assignments to keep myself fresh. Shooting a variety of subject matter helps keep you on your toes, keeps your creativity flowing, and even if it's not your forte it helps strengthen how you see light and composition. So when a friend asked for portraits of herself and her retired horse, of course I said "Yes!"

April is a dear family friend, and her beautiful chestnut American quarter horse, Arthur, has been living the senior lifestyle for a few years now.  He spends his days eating grass, enjoying the sun and pasture, he even has some horsey friends! Even though he doesn't get ridden anymore, this 20+ year old beauty is more than any pet or pastime for April.  He's very much a part of her life and her family.

We spent a gorgeous sunny afternoon in the field in early October.  I consciously shot backlit almost the whole time, and it made for a beautiful etherial aesthetic to help bring magic to the photos.  Shooting backlit can difficult, and I was photographing with just me and a camera, no lighting, no assistant, no white card to bounce light.  I just kept my eye on my exposure and my histogram, double checking every few frames that I had an exposure I could play with in post!  Ideally a second set of hands at least with a bounce card would help fill in the backlight beautifully, but given the circumstances I think I managed ok!

On another photographic note, whenever you shoot outside it's great to use a neutral colored bright surfaces to help naturally bounce light back into the subject.  You'll see the photos where the dirt road helped bounce a little brightness back, versus when we were shooting in the pasture where the green grass reflected a different quality of light that can be difficult to edit.

Despite these photographic challenges, April and Arthur were a breeze to work with!  He was rather agreeable most of the day, and we played with staged portraits of them together, to April leading him down the lane, to a few more poses to help convey the sentimental nature of the shoot.  It was a terrific experience, and I was thrilled with the results!  I know April enjoyed her photoshoot, and I hope Arthur did too!

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