What to expect from your family shoot with CAV?

So you may be considering pressing that “send message” button to book a shoot (or perhaps you already have) and may have a lot of questions, I hope to answer a few of those here.

Where will we shoot? – I prefer to shoot in natural areas that also have lots of play gear for the children. Happy children make for much better photos than bored children in my experience. One of my favorite places to shoot is Cratloe Woods.

What if it rains the day of? – If it rains lightly you will have the choice on whether to post pone or just get out there and shoot. If you want to get out and shoot then you should bring an umbrella, particularly, a see through one as they allow more light through than a patterned one. If it is raining heavily then we will post pone the shoot.

Have you worked with children before? – Outside of photography, I have worked in a crèche for nine months, during that time I worked with children from a few months old right up to tweens. My second shooter helped his mom with his little sister and currently helps out with the children who she minds.

What if I’m not comfortable with posing? – When taking photos of families, I like to capture the moments rather than force them meaning that I primarily stick to a journalistic style, quietly working in the background. We will wait to do the group shots towards the end because you will be far more confident in front of the camera by that stage.

Can you give me tips on choosing outfits? – Of course I can! Obviously what you decide to wear depends massively on your own personal style and while it is important to show your individuality it is also a good idea to make sure that your outfits don’t clash! You definitely don’t need to all wear matching jeans and white tops but colour coordinating can make a huge difference to the results. Some examples of colours that go nicely together: 1) greens, browns and cream 2) light pink, light purple, light blue 3) orange (not traffic cone orange) and brown. Some clothing to avoid: 1) very bright colours like traffic cone orange and hi vis yellow 2) highly patterned clothes like stars, polka dots (unless colour coordinated with family members clothes), stripes and zig zags.

How long will we have to wait for the photos? – I usually try to have the photographs ready within a few days but it could be up to three weeks. I will upload my favorites to an album and ask you to choose which ones you want printed (if prints are included in your package) and depending on your preference, digital copies can either be sent directly to your email, given to you on a disk or be given on a USB at an extra cost (because I am currently charging introductory prices while I build a portfolio. When my prices increase, a USB will be included).

Can we get personalized photographic items like mugs? – Of course! I can order a range of products from distributor including; calendars, mugs, magnets, invitations and many more!

If you have any further questions then please don’t be afraid to get in touch. 🙂


Preparing for your horse and rider shoot P2

I covered clothing choice and set in part one but what about what really matters to you? The love of your life, the character who you spend hours slaving over only for them to mess it all up by the next day? That’s right! We haven’t spoken about your horse yet!

General Grooming Tip: To clean places that are meant to be white, cover with tomato ketchup and wash out after ten to fifteen minutes


 How you groom your horse has a huge effect on the end result of the photographs. Your horse should at the very least be clean and reasonably presented but you reap what you sow!

 For a more professional feel to the shoot, braid as you would if you were going to compete, keep your horse shiny and make sure that those white marks are actually white! If you’re not happy with the quality of your plaits and shine, chances are, you won’t be happy with the end result and may not like the photos, through no fault of the photographers! Most photographers will charge extra to clean the mud up from the photos, that’s if they are even willing to do so and it will take longer for you to receive your images.

 For a more “romantic” feel to the shoot, get your horse clean and shiny but leave the showing level braids out, instead, consider braids like:
            *Running Braid: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/44/ab/ed/44abedc62de4c0b00f9cc0a5459a8587.jpg

            *Floral tail braids:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/d9/1d/01/d91d01871667705d0d093837c16652ee.jpg                   http://s3.weddbook.com/t1/2/1/4/2144581/weddings-barn-country-farm.jpg These would look really cute with matching flowers in the models hair.

            *Floral mane: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/f4/0b/3e/f40b3e72c0f4597602019e2eba9344ae.jpg

            *Floral diamond braid: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5d/73/2e/5d732ecdd513ed220f3f222cc1cda6aa.jpg

I would have practiced all of these, photographed and uploaded them myself but I’m not the most patient when it comes to braiding!

Also consider leaving your horses mane and tail natural! Maybe plait the night before for curly hair.

 Tack and Equipment

 Where you choose to hold the shoot may impact the type of equipment that you are allowed to use, for example, if you want to get a photos on a beautiful stretch of road, you need to wear riding boots and a hat, while your horse must wear a saddle and bridle.

If you are in a position to choose your equipment, make sure that it fits correctly and is appropriate to your theme! Don’t use brightly colour equipment that distract from your horses face and choose instead neutral colours like brown and black.

 Desensitizing your horse

We all know at least one 500kg plus horse of pure muscle power who spooks at its own shadow! I know my normally completely bomb-proof horse jumped half way across the road the other week when he let out an unusually loud fart!

Speak to your photographer and ask what equipment they will be using as well as if they use flash or not. If the photographer uses flashes, make sure that you get your horse used to it beforehand, if it’s just not possible, let the photographer know so that he or she can make changes to the preparatory work. If your photographer uses a tripod, ask if you can set a few minutes aside to get the horse used to that also.

 Thank you for reading my two part blog post.

 Don’t forget to research and feel free to suggest your own ideas to the photographer, this is your shoot, be involved.

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChelseaAnnVictoriaPhotography/?pnref=lhc

Sheeps Head Pony Trekking and horse rescue:


Preparing for your horse and rider shoot part 1

So you have taken the plunge and booked a photo shoot for you and your horse but suddenly questions like “what happens next? How do I decide what to wear? What about the horse, how do I groom him?” start to run through your head.

First, you need to think about what you want to portray in the photographs. Do you want to show off the bond you share with your horse or the way you work as a team dancing in the arena or coming towards that huge jump?

Clothing choice

Your clothing choice will play a big part in what you want to portray.

Dresses, loose shirts and jeans do a very good job at creating a relaxed image while jodhpurs, show jackets and long boots give off a very professional feel to the photographs. If you chose to go with the professional feel, dress according to how you ride, for example, don’t wear a dressage jacket and top hat for cross country.

If you chose to go for a less professional and more ‘romantic’ feel, it’s important to make sure first and foremost that your clothing choice isn’t inviting danger (for example sandals… my horse broke my toe through riding boots and I can’t imagine what would have happened had I been wearing flimsier shoes!) **I actually will not shoot if the rider isn’t wearing proper footwear, you may take your shoes off once you’re on board but not a moment beforehand because it is my job to apply safety standards**.

You may find yourself asking “So aside from the safety concerns, what else should I worry about with my out of the ordinary clothes for riding?”

Colour – chose a colour that will suit both you and your horse. Some “go to” colours when you just can’t decide are black, white, red and blue.

This is a simple colour chart that I found on Google Images, Unfortunately, I could not find the original webpage from which the image shown below comes from.


Dress Length and style – Something to keep in mind is that when you’re in the saddle, your dress will rise up a bit, making it appear much shorter. I chose to wear an asymmetrical dress (shorter at the front and longer at the back, kind of like a mullet but much cooler!) on a shoot that my boyfriend did for me. This meant that no matter how much it rose at the front, the back stayed nice and long and could also be draped over the horses back.  A full length dress with a slit down the leg would have a similar effect. Use your common sense, a tight club dress is obviously going to rise and be uncomfortable while also running the risk of flashing your photographer, (which I suppose may be a bonus if said photographer is super attractive!)

Patterns/sequins and sparklies – Personally, I find patterns to be distracting. The eye naturally focuses on them. If you must wear patterns, keep them nice and simple. For example, a light chequered shirt. If you’re wearing sparkly clothes, make sure that your horse is okay with them first, I imagine it could be pretty scary on a bright Summers day! 

Make up – Make up is a matter of personal preference but here are some things to consider; make up smudges and horses can be hard work, your beautiful smoky eyes may very quickly become coal eyes, choose matte foundation to avoid looking like a vampire from the Twilight saga, colourful make up may draw all the attention away from the horse and rider and only highlight certain areas instead.

Choice of set

Time – The time of the day may not seem all that important when booking your shoot but nice lighting is absolutely crucial! The best times of the day to shoot are mornings and evenings, Mid-day can be troublesome as the sunlight casts very harsh shadows while morning and evening light is very soft and suited perfectly to portraiture!

So when to shoot, morning or evening? Both have their benefits, shooting in the morning gives you more daylight hours but casts a very cold light which can of course be adjusted in post processing while shooting in the evening gives you time to perfect your horses turnout that day, rather than the night before but you run the risk of running out of daylight.

f9f735_a8589bf34e0d4c7d977797b8d26e1851This photo of Rosie from Sheep’s Head Horse Rescue and pony trekking was taken at about 2pm during the Summer, you can clearly see the harsh shadows cast on her face by the bright mid-day sun.

f9f735_64eb8ddc553842ada31ad3edcae4181a~mv2_d_5568_3712_s_4_2.jpgThis photo of my horse, Danny, was taken at about 3pm in October, the light is soft and highlights his muscles nicely without casting any harsh shadows.

f9f735_430d1963b66442b18335efa0606785e7This photo of Aisling and her pony Lilly was taken in morning light, The light is very soft as it was overcast, there are no harsh shadows but poor Aisling had to rush to get her pony cleaned off on time for the shoot because as is typical, Lilly seemed to know and decided to get very dirty!

Set – Where you choose to hold your shoot is just as important, if not more so, than what you wear! A cluttered background will distract the viewer from the horse and rider. You’re the star of the shoot, not the inevitable pile of buckets that us riders seem to accumulate just outside the fence line!

Of course, the set will reflect the type of shoot that you are doing and what you want to achieve, romantic type shoots look a bit silly in an arena and are much more suited to the great outdoors whereas arenas are great for a more “event” type of photography. Here are some examples of photography in different sets.

Once again, this is Rosie from Sheep’s Head Horse Rescue. Obviously not everybody has their yard on a peninsula but if you do then you have a beautiful background for your shots!

This is Ruby, the pony who was saved from slaughter. She currently resides in Sheep’s Head. This photo looks very cluttered in colour and so had to be converted to black and white.
This is a photo that my boyfriend took of my horse and I. It’s a lovely example of the romantic type photographs that you can get in a field.