On Friday we snuck off to one of my favorite places on Earth: Montaña de Oro State Park.
Back when I was competing on the Cal-Western Appaloosa show circuit, my show team used to camp here about once a year. Reservations have to be booked at least 6 months in advance and the weather often does not cooperate, but it is ALWAYS worth it. I have made amazing memories taking both of my boys to the beach (including one violent experience with the flu that involved me projectile vomiting on my horse).
On this trip, one of my best friends, Shea, joined us with her four-year old quarter horse, Melinda. Shea started Melinda as part of the Cal-Poly Quarter Horse Enterprise and realized early on that she couldn't live without her. This was her first trip to the beach, so my two old boys were the seasoned veterans who were there to show her the ropes... little did we know how awesome she is!
A little back-story:
Shea and I have been friends since high school and we LOVE to have photo shoots where we dress up and play around. The thought of incorporating our horses just sounded perfect. The reality, however, is that after a few days of camping you feel less than glamorous. On Saturday, after a four hour ride, we both decided the photo shoot wouldn't be happening. After all, our hair was greasy and we were tired.
Then, Sunday morning rolled around and I woke up determined. I found out later that Shea and Brandon had been talking earlier that morning where Shea had said, "Uh, oh. She's awful cheery... she must be planning on taking photos". So, we sprinkled large amounts of baby powder in our hair to absorb the grease, caked makeup on over dirt, and curled our hair using a power invert-er to charge the curling iron in the truck.
Clearly, the photo shoot went GREAT! Here are some tips I have for those of you thinking of doing it too:
1. Be safe!
We decided it was safest to saddle up and be fully clothed on the chilly ride to the beach and that we could change once we were down there... Let's just say that was a lifesaver on the 30 minute ride in the mist!
Furthermore, make sure you are on horses you know and trust. I would have gladly rode either of my horses out there, but I knew Dunny was more predictable (plus Andrew has some hair loss from rain rot right now-- bald asses don't make for pretty photos!).
2. Don't Expect Perfection
Don't be discouraged with misbehavior. Not all photos have to be perfect. In my wedding trash-the-dress shoot, Andrew was AWFUL, but the photos look lovely. Just smile and make the best of it!
3. Make sure your dress isn't too short!
I learned this lesson the hard way. Half the time my underwear were showing and I used my scarf to cover them haha! A high-low dress like Shea's is not only trendy, but a smart choice for riding bareback as well.
4. Go for variety.
We did shots both mounted and dismounted and in a variety of poses. Don't be afraid to try something fun for your photos!
5. Have fun!
We had a blast out there laughing and playing in the waves. I shot all of Shea's photos while mounted and it involved some pretty funny poses to get the shots while Dunny squirmed and wasn't listening.
6. Make do even when your horse isn't cooperating.
Dunny was not a fan of the bit I borrowed for the shoot. He chomped at it and tossed his head, but we just kept snapping photos. Below, you can see he was cutting me off, so I tippy toed to peer over his neck. If you ask me, it ended up totally cute!
7. Share the love.
I imagine most people who are dying for a photo shoot with their horse must love their horse. Show it! Love on them and make it clear in the photos how much they mean to you!
8. Make collages.
I do most of my editing through picmonkey.com and I LOVE making collages. They are especially perfect when you have sequential photos.
9. Play in color and black and white.
Color is fun, but black and white is timeless. Play around with both and make each image exactly the way you want it.
10. Play with your images.
As I mentioned above, I edit with picmonkey.com and I love that I can add fun elements like bokeh to my images. I believe it just makes the photo below that much more fun and unique.
Have you ever tried taking photos with your pets? Tell me about your experiences!
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