Photo Shoot with Sophie Callahan

Wednesday 30th May. This date marked the day the lovely SOPHIE CALLAHAN came to visit Hamish and I at our yard in West Sussex. If you don’t already know Sophie (if you don’t, where have you been!?!), she is an Equine Photographer, as well as Blogger and Vlogger. You should seriously go and check out her beautiful portfolio of Photographs on her website and when you get 10 minutes, grab a tea and catch up with the Vlogs, you’ll be hooked just like me I’m sure.

Many happy tears fell down my cheeks last week when I got to see the photos Sophie took. They are totally perfect and captured so many happy moments of Hammy and I bursting with love for each other, which I will treasure forever. People say a picture paints a thousand words, and in this case that couldn’t be more true.

If you’re considering having a photo shoot with your best pal and want to know the ‘behind the scenes’ info on what happens on the day, then keep reading (actually, even if you’re not thinking about having a photo shoot, keep reading, there’s more photos to see below!)…

My shoot was booked for midday, giving me the morning to prepare. I brought Hamish in from the field at 8.30am, gave him a groom and left him in for a snooze and some hay, whilst I went home to change.

I got myself ready, packed a second outfit in my bag along with make-up touch up bits, hair spray etc. just so I felt I had everything I might want for the shoot. I then eagerly got in the car and drove back up to the yard without 45 minutes to spare before Sophie’s arrival. This gave me ample time to give Ham a quick brush off and organise my things (head collar, bridle etc) and just generally faff around in excitement and anticipation of Sophie’s arrival.

My Mum came along too, meeting me at the yard. It was really nice to have someone on hand just to help. She also brought our lovely little black lab Eva, because how could I possibly leave my other four legged friend out!

Sophie arrived and met Hamish and we had a chat about what I was after and were we could go, then we went straight to our first ‘shooting location’. Sophie was brilliant and just asked me to fuss over Ham, like I would normally and straight away we were relaxed and having fun! Luckily Hammy seemed quite excited about the whole experience and was looking super perky but Sophie also has lots of tricks up her sleeve to make the horses smile. We moved onto a different location, before changing into my second outfit. I also swapped Hamish into his bridle, just to make things a bit different. It was nice to have a bit of variety in the photos and I’m really pleased we did! We then did some ‘cuddly head shot photos’ and as encouraged by Sophie, I hopped on bareback too. I wasn’t originally going to get on, I guess I just hadn’t thought about it really but it was such a lovely idea, the photos were so natural and again it gave a bit of variety to the photos we got at the end.

At the end of the shoot, Sophie asked if there was anything else I wanted captured that we hadn’t already photographe, to make sure I had everything I wanted and I got to see a few sneak peaks on the camera whilst she was there which was lovely too.

Tips – some things I found useful, to make the day enjoyable and stress free

1. Plan your outfits in advance. I got some inspiration from looking at Sophie’s website portfolio, seeing what other people wore etc. But to be honest, just do you! Pick outfits that reflect your style and you feel comfortable in. I tired to keep mine subtle, simple and classic, without too many bright colours, to try not to distract too much from Hamish. Try them on before hand to make sure you’re happy.

2. Bath your horse in plenty of time! I bathed Hamish the weekend before the shoot. It gets all of the dirt out of their coat and you can still groom them and keep them clean in the meantime. Don’t wait until the last minute and chance your luck with good enough weather for bathing only to find out you can’t!

3. Full groom preparation the night before. The evening before the shoot I gave hammy a full groom, Katie kindly tidied up his mane, tail, legs etc. I put some show shine on and basically had him as ready as possible. Turned him out in a fly rug (kindly borrowed of Wizman, thank you!). Then on the day, Hamish was pretty much ready, just final touch ups, leg wash, hoof oil etc. This just makes the day soo much easier and you don’t get hot, sweaty and covered in horse hair!

4. Have Your Tack Cleaned Before. I cleaned my bridle and leather head collar the day before, so it was all ready on the day and again there is no last minute faffing around and getting your hands or worse, your clothes, dirty before the photos!

5. Have a little think about what you want from the shoot. Know the type of photos you’re hoping to come away with, so you can tell Sophie when she arrives. She’s amazing and will work with you to achieve the photos you’re after, so don’t be afraid to chat about your ideas. Also, try and think of some locations for the photos. Sophie had a great eye and helped me spot some places I hadn’t thought of before, but it’s handy to have a few options in advance of her arrival too.

6. ENJOY IT! Most importantly, have fun, enjoy the shoot, enjoy every second. You’ll have such a lovely day and the time just flies by. These photos you’ll have as memories to keep forever, but you might only get the chance to do this once. So make the most of it, don’t be nervous, you and your four legged friend will both look amazing and you can totally rock being models for the day!


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